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Transitioning from Graphic Designer to UI/UX Designer

graphic designer vs ui ux designer - Yellowchalk Design

Earlier in the design industry, if you heard the word ‘design’, you would’ve probably related it to graphic design. But that certainly isn’t the case anymore.

As the design industry has progressed, design specializations have gotten increasingly popular. What might have been considered a graphic designer’s job a few years ago can now be a UI designer’s job or a UX designer’s job.

With design studios and companies going to great lengths to find the right fit for these specializations, one begins to wonder whether making a change is feasible or not. And we know that those generous compensation packages do not make it easier for you to carry on as just a graphic designer.

As the design industry is growing more multidisciplinary in nature, we can make the connections between how many designations in one organization have overlapping roles and responsibilities. This certainly works to our favour as it means spending lesser time in becoming the master of a new craft. And which is exactly what we’re here to show you!

If you’re thinking of switching your position from a graphic designer to a UI/UX designer, we have some tips for you to get started with!

But before we do that, let’s crack on with the definition of the two!

Graphic Design vs UX Design

What is Graphic Design?

The art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. The form of the communication can be physical or virtual, and may include images, words, or graphic forms.

What is UX Design?

UX design is the process of designing (digital or physical) products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It’s about enhancing the experience that people have while interacting with your product, and making sure they find value in what you’re providing.

Now that we’ve refreshed our memory to understand what exactly these two professions entail of, let’s look at some tips to see how you can make the change:

  1. Understand the Similarities
Similarities between Graphic Designer and UI/UX Designer - Yellowchalk

When you’re making a shift, it’s better to focus on the similarities as they will be familiar territory to you. Focus on what you know already and work towards the new skills you have to pick up on.

  1. Understand that you have to Shift Focus
Difference in Mindset - Yellowchalk Design

As a graphic designer, you might be entirely fixated on creating designs that are pixel perfect. And you’re not to blame for that.

Be conscious of the fact that the focus of a UX designer does not lie in creating perfect designs. Their focal point is always the users. This might be hard for you to do as a graphic designer who has spent years perfecting their art, but remember shifting your focus is only possible through conscious effort.

  1. Understand the Process
The UX Design Process - Yellowchalk

UX designers usually follow a strict process to identify their users, create problem statements, and finalize user personas. A good way for you to start your journey as a UX designer is to study the design thinking process thoroughly. Read case studies of real projects to understand the thought process of UX designers properly.

  1. Identify Common Mistakes
Common Design Mistakes - Yellowchalk

If there are any common mistakes that you keep making or are – yourself susceptible to make, keep a lookout for them. Some common mistakes include pursuing pixel perfection in designs, not focusing enough on the users, and not backing your UX decisions on research and instead rooting for the visuals.

  1. Keep yourself in the Loop
Importance of Upskilling in Design - Yellowchalk

It might seem like a daunting task to shift your career. The explosion of information on the internet certainly won’t help. To avoid feeling lost, keep up-to-date with current trends, challenge yourself to redesign interfaces, and keep practising as much as you can. Taking part in daily challenges is also a good way to understand how seasoned UX designers present their work.

  1. Back up your Decision with Skills
Learning new skills for a graphic designer- Yellowchalk Designs

After you’ve made the courageous decision to switch from being a graphic designer to a UX designer, you need to gather skills for it as well. The best way to educate yourself further would be to connect with peers and seniors from the industry. Reach out to them for guidance on which courses to take, and for mentoring if they suit your career goals. Always back it up with your own research and findings before you approach a senior person.

Remember that graphic design in itself is a vast field with unlimited room for growth and experimentation as an art. And if that seems to be your calling, there is nothing better than it.

Here are few resources UI UX Designers swear by. But if you’re someone with an interest in the human psyche and how it shapes design, this change is certainly worth looking into!