Graphic design and web design go hand in hand. The two disciplines are so interrelated that it would be difficult to imagine one without the other. After all, how can you have web design without the graphics that make it so visually pleasing? And how can you have good graphic design without knowing how to develop good websites? On the flip side, good graphic design makes everything on the website look better, from the layout of the text to the images used and even to the color palette itself.
A brief history of web design
Over time, web design has gone through many iterations—and along with it, graphic design. The two were once joined at the hip: You couldn’t have one without another. It wasn’t until graphical user interfaces (GUI) and CSS took over that web designers could start deviating from graphic designers. While there are still some similarities between these two disciplines, they each have their own set of standards and principles to follow. Here are a few reasons why graphic design is so important in web design.
The visual hierarchy of a website is what allows visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for. There are many ways to set up a visual hierarchy: contrast, size, color, and typography are all examples of how you can draw attention to one part of your website over another. Achieving good visual hierarchy takes practice—but an understanding of how it works will help you more easily navigate through various sites and separate good graphic design from poor web design. (Source: Buffer)
It’s not just to keep people from falling asleep: colors are an important part of any design. Graphic designers choose colors based on their connotations, which vary across cultures and even individuals. For example, blue is usually associated with calmness and security, while red is often used in anger or passion. Because of these subjective associations (not to mention cultural differences), it’s always a good idea to think about how your audience will react when you use certain colors.
Whitespace (negative space)
Whitespace in design is often overlooked, but it has an enormous impact on how users interpret content. The more whitespace you use, generally speaking, the simpler and more straightforward your design will be. While not absolutely essential to every page or app, there are a number of different ways to incorporate whitespace in a layout.
Imagery and icons
The use of graphics and imagery in web design has advanced immensely in recent years. You’ll notice that, as you browse some of today’s websites, you encounter a lot more than just plain text. There is a lot of emphasis on images and iconography to convey concepts—and it’s certainly not all for aesthetic purposes. An image or illustration can go a long way toward communicating ideas.
Animation (web animation)
There are a lot of elements that come together to create a great website. One such element is animation. If used correctly, it can make your website more fun and engaging. Animated images help to attract people’s attention to important parts of your page, while adding subtle effects to other parts of your site can encourage people to explore your website further by building curiosity. However, animation shouldn’t just be added for its own sake — there should always be a reason behind it.
Microinteractions (mini interactions)
Microinteractions are little interactions that take place while you’re using an app or software. They’re small but can make a big difference in user experience. For example, when someone is signing up for your website, they might have to click through a few different pages before getting to where they want to be. That process of clicking through each page is considered a microinteraction—and it’s one of many ways to design your site so that users don’t get frustrated and leave.
When designing a website, it’s important to consider how users will navigate your site. This process, often referred to as user flow, is about visualizing where a user will go on your site after clicking on a link or browsing through your categories. The biggest part of user flow is designing unique page layouts for different types of users and/or product groups. If you’re selling computers and laptops, for example, you may create unique page designs for laptops vs. desktops vs. monitors.