I didn’t know there was a debate between Graphic Design vs UX design. When looking for something to write about, Google told me people want to know the difference. Having done both for many years, I believe I’ve got you covered. It’s also quite simple to differentiate. Let’s hit it.
Graphic design vs UX design
The way I see it, Graphic Design makes things Palatable. UX Design makes things Functional. They are similar but different and work together to make things better. It’s easy to write this off with a “duh” or an “I knew this already“. But someone didn’t, so here we are. You can also disagree. That’s the beauty of life. However, I am right. Don’t believe me? See below.
When you are (graphic) designing a poster or packaging, for example, you are creating something for your end-users to find pleasant. It must also paint the subject of the piece in a favorable light. Sure, you can buy any brand of blueberry yogurt, but that one pack of colorful Chobani with the fantastic illustrations on it really appealed to your particular tastes (no pun intended, actually you know what, pun intended). So you bought it to try it. Maybe you loved it, maybe you didn’t, but the packaging probably enticed you to buy it. The UX of that packaging helped you find the ingredients, flavor, and nutrition facts quickly. Graphic Design makes things appealing and easy to digest (yogurt pun) for the target audience.
Side note: I don’t even eat yogurt. That bears no weight on this post, just sharing.
Now UX (User Experience) design is the practice of making a thing function as easily and smoothly as possible for the target audience. You create a workflow that gets the audience through all the business requirements in the fastest, easiest, and clearest way possible. Then you lay some sweet graphic design on top of that to make it palatable to that audience and entice them to complete the process. A healthcare mobile app targeting a demographic of members 40-60+ years old will have a very different user workflow than one targeting a demographic of 18-35 year-olds. The design on top, however, would most likely be the same; derived from the branding of the mobile app provider.
Long and short of it is they are different, but similar, and work together.