Differences between graphic and web design

Design is design right? Well yes, but there is difference between the two.

If I was made to choose, I would have to say that I would fall more into the web designer side of the fence. You have to have graphic design knowledge to be a web designer, but not necessarily the other way round. Even though I studied fine arts, I started my design career working on websites and interactive interfaces.

So what are the differences and are they important? The simplified version would be that a graphic designer deals in physical printed media, while a web designer deals more with user-ability and how a site flows and works in terms of user interaction. It is very important to understand the differences when deciding on what type of designer you need for your project.

I find myself torn between the two disciplines at times, I love working on branding and logos as it’s normally for new businesses and individuals. I really enjoy being able to help clients define and develop their brand and identity. I suppose it’s like planting a seed and watching it grow, but without all the dirt and soil stuff. Equally, I also love working on designing websites especially when it comes to designing layouts for portals and working out how to display information that is creative yet effective. It’s akin to solving a puzzle that has more than one answer. Makes me use the logical side of my brain, which is always good.

When working on projects for printed media there are many things to bear in mind, not least of all how the design will work when it’s printed, the medium it will be printed on, the inks and colours used. There are so many things to take into consideration that if you don’t factor them in at the start, it could turn into a costly exercise for the client. That’s why it’s critical to always get a clear brief from the client, and then the job of a good designer is to guide the client while still meeting the objective of the overall brief.

Web design has even more things to consider. Leaving aside the aesthetics look and feel side of things, there are technical things to bear in mind, like, is the code as slick and ‘clean’ as it can be? Does it validate on W3C and behave the same on all browsers? (evil IE6 notwithstanding) and does the site flow logically or at least guide the user on the path you want them to take? How can you optimise the site so that the search engine robots can index your site?

I once worked alongside a project that was described as an online magazine. The clients asked a graphic design agency to design the website concept. The finished design was great, really elegant and classy and did not work as a web page whatsoever. The designers had designed a beautiful printed image, but had no idea of how the website would work or how the different elements like navigation would be incorporated. In the end I think it cost more time and money trying to (stubbornly) plug the design into a working website than it would have cost the client to get a website designer to design three versions of it.

I think graphic and website design require very different mindsets and skillsets.

If you are interested in my further ramblings, I have blogged some tips on web design DIY style previously which you may find of some interest.

Next post will be, the differences between web design and web development – will I have enough screen space for that?

For now here are some statistics regarding browsers which you might find interesting:

This report was generated 12/31/2009 based on the last 15,000 page views to each website tracked by W3Counter. W3Counter’s sample currently includes 32,094 websites. The browser market share graph includes data from all versions of the named browser families, not only the top 10 as listed below.

I heart faces

Inspired by Mrs PinkMilk, I have decided to enter the I heart Faces competition. This weeks’ Photo Challenge – “Best Face Photo”. Open to all photographers, bumbling point and clickers like me to professionals. Not sure what the prize is, if any.

Here is my entry, Master Crayons in his deer-stalker gazing at Mister Crayons out of shot.

{update: Just noticed that the hat is on back-to-front. This is what happens when Daddy dresses the children.}

I’ve been ‘it’ed

Well, I have been tagged by the lovely MummyMad at TheMadHouse , this remarkable lady is a uber-busy mum who continues to inspire me and many others with her MadProjects and general creativity.

This tag requires that I list 10 of my favorite things that are free. Seriously, not sure I am ready to turn my brain on a such short notice, but here goes:

1. Sunday morning lie-ins. Mister Crayons takes over sprog-manning duties (yay!)
2. Cake (any type) at chez PinkMilk.
3. Sleepy snuggles from Master Crayons just before nap-times.
4. Late night chatting online to slugsandsnails when we should both be in bed and complaining about lack of sleep.
5. A hot cuppa on a cold day.
6. Snuggling up on sofa to watch trashy telly with Mister Crayons.
7. Conversations with Miss Crayons about life, the universe and everything.
8. Singing along to A-Ha’s Take on Me on youtube with backing vocals by mini crayons.
9. Seeing the collection of Miss Crayon’s artwork stuck to every wall surface in Mister Crayon’s office.
10. Cake.

Point 10 is not strictly free and is a repeat of 2, but I can’t not have cake on my list.

Passing this on to:
Pomona – lovely clever lady with an amazing way with words.
Slugsandsnails – super creative mum and teacher.
RubyWren – my fav Elliepoo girl (actually only elliepoo girl I know).
Veribagent – one of my best friends, even though I haven’t seen her for 8 years! (Hint-hint-nag-nag). There is no expiry date on friendship when you have the shared experience of coconut juice together.

Geek/Nerd Valentine’s cards

As promised, because even “IT” folks need love. I am particularly fond of the Pi one, only because it’s almost the same as cake!

All cards are free P&P and presented in a cellophane bag.

Delivery: Please allow 2/3 working days from date of order to receive your hand-illustrated card.

Please visit the new online shop to order your cards.

Different valentine’s day cards

I have been getting all creative and have designed a series of cards with romance in mind.

I have tried to keep it non-soppy and a little funky. They are all hand-drawn with ink onto card, freestyle. Completely original and limited. Currently on sale at Gift Wrapped and Gorgeous website and my own shop. Free postage on all cards.

‘Mr. Crayons’ wants me to introduce a “Do you love me more than my avatar?” card. Even geeks need to send cards…

Floral heart

Be still my beating heart

Marry me?

More than…(cake)

Sweet enough

More cards can be seen in the ‘Homage to Handmade‘ page.


Blessings and cake

I have just read the most heartfelt and touching new years’ resolution on slugsandsnail’s blog. I wish that I could write something equally moving, but this Christmas has been a odd one for me.

The whole household has come down with the lurgies and I have been really busy with work and other projects that I haven’t had time to sit back and reflect on the year gone by.

All I can say is that it has gone by so quickly that it seems like a blur. What I can say with conviction though, is that I am looking forward to the new year and what it brings for us all.

I count all my blessings, the most important to me being my family. The ever supportive ‘Mr. Crayons’ who doesn’t seem to batter an eyelid at my crazy schemes, our bright and sassy ‘Miss. Crayons’ and the troublemaker-in-training young ‘Master. Crayons’, who continues to amaze us each day with his cheeky antics. My long suffering Mum who the children just adore and my fabulous baby sister (even though she is no longer a baby, will always be one to me).

My wonderful creative and talented friends, who help keep me sane and who are not afraid to slap me down should I get above my station.

I wish you all a healthy and happy new year full of laughter and cake.


Ruby Wren Designs

Following my previous post about the new Ruby Wren logo, I am delighted to announce the brand new Ruby Wren Designs website and blog!

Hayley asked me to design and set up an ecommerce solution for her very stylish and unique range of eco greeting cards and stationery made from elephant poo. She also wanted a blog that was easy to use (I just love love love WP) and integrated into the shop side.

I have to say I am really pleased with how it has turned out. It certainly is one of the prettiest sites I have designed. It helped that Hayley was a very accommodating client (i.e. she went along with all my ideas). All my clients are lovely, beautiful people, but I am especially fond of those who don’t answer back…too often.

Hayely is going to be running special promotions during the first week in January, so be sure to visit Ruby Wren Designs each day and follow her blog for lots of other offers throughout the year!