Can a Graphic Designer be a UI UX Designer? The Complete Guide

UI UX designer

Can a Graphic Designer be a UI UX Designer? The Complete Guide

If you’re thinking of switching to become a UI UX designer from a graphic designer, now is the right time. Every person has a Smartphone attached to their palms and hence the need for a UI UX designer is more than ever. According to predictions, 6.1 billion will be using Smartphones by 2020. Most companies, while making crucial decisions, give designers a seat at the table.

Back in the days, the word designer was synonymous to only one term: graphic. But with the rise of digital products, there is a shift towards the interactive approach. User preference has taken over the look and appeal of a product. Companies now are going the extra mile to give their users a positive digital experience. As a result, they are on the go to recruit UI UX designers as much as software engineers.Plus, they are even offered handsome pays from top-notch companies. Glassdoor lists the average base pay for such designers to be between 12LPA and 15.35 LPA. Given the lucrative salary, the transition from graphic to UI UX could be profitable.

We will cover each topic to give you a cohesive idea so that you can make an informed decision: What exactly are UI and UX?

UI and UX are the two most confused terms in web and app design. UI stands for user interface and consists of the graphical layout of an application. This includes screen layout, transitions, interface animations, and every single micro-interaction. The look of a product is the visual appeal. It should meet the users or exceed their expectations.

But, UX stands for user experience. It aims to create a seamless experience while a user interacts with a product. UX focuses on improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in interaction. It tends to keep a human-first way of designing products.

The job of a UI designer is to make the application’s interface look aesthetic.

The job of a UX designer revolves around on research, testing, and refinement to connect business goals with users needs.

Can a Graphic Designer be a UI UX Designer?

Graphic designing is an integral part of UI UX design, with many overlapping skills. With graphic design as a background, you get many relevant skills required for UI UX. Chief among them is using principles like alignment and robust approach to layout. Having a great visual design acts as an asset for user experience and gives a headstart to designers pursuing it.

What is the common thread between Graphic Design and UI UX should know?

Graphic design has some underlying similarities with the concepts of UI UX. There is infact a principle known as “aesthetic usability effect”. It means that visual design can elicit a positive and emotional response in the user. That can make them more tolerant of minor usability issues on your site.

  1. Excellent user experience depends somewhat on attention to details and focuses on communication. Graphic Designers have an eye for details that aligns well with UX principles.
  1. A graphic design focus is to evoke emotions through colour, typeface and imagery.
  1. A UI/UX design also focuses on evoking emotions but goes beyond the visual aspects. They concentrate on interactivity and accessibility of design.
  1. The creative thinking process is similar between graphic and ux designer. They are creative in their approach towards design structure.
  1. Graphic designers are also familiar with design conventions in web or app designs and can adapt to a UX design role.
  1. Graphic designers have a natural obligation towards an aesthetic appeal. They use alignment and visual hierarchies to create impact designs. Aesthetic designs can affect the usability and experience of a product.

Thus, it might be natural for a graphic designer with strong design principles to opt for a career shift.

How to transition from a Graphic Designer to a UI UX designer?

So far, it has been clear that graphic designers can make a career shift to UI/UX. But the end goals and responsibilities of UI UX is different from graphic designers. One way to make sure whether you’re ready for the transition is by investing time and effort into learning the UX skills.

Choosing the right Fidelity

Graphic designers are pre-installed with a condition of using high fidelity prototypes. Their focus lies on persuasive communication of their design concepts. Thus they tend to develop visual designs before studying the project. UI/UX designers decide the appropriate level of fidelity according to the project needs. A graphic designer should master the right time to create highly visual work, a vital mindset of a UX designer.

User-friendly design approach

Graphic designers incline toward communicating aesthetics. But, a Ui Ux design emphasizes on designing for use rather than looks. Putting the user needs before their personal preferences are the fundamental approach of a UI/UX designer.

Research & Testing

Graphic designers will have to spend a significant amount of time conducting tests: product and user test. The two are a continuous process and an integral part of the UI UX structure. Product testing to understand user needs and user testing to know if the user goals are met.

Iterative Testing

An important mindset shift for graphic designers shifting to UI UX is to know that the design process continues. It never ends and adjusted according to user feedback. This approach is very different than the traditional linear process. Iterative testing allows a site to evolve with small steps rather than a large redesign.

The transition from a graphic to a UI UX designer may seem daunting at first, but it isn’t. Before diving in, go through few options like free online courses, attend workshops or subscribe to UX articles. Some good sources are Medium, UX Magazine, Smashing Magazine. Challenge yourself to design UX interfaces and upload the finished product on Twitter or Dribbble. You may also look to Dribbble for inspiration.

Are you planning to make the switch? Let us know below if you agree with our suggestions.


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