Visual design and graphic design are important factors in growing a business, especially when it comes to digital marketing approaches and campaigns. Without a graphic or visual designer to help, businesses might not have a cohesive visual identity when it comes to marketing materials, visual assets, websites, and more. And while these two roles are both important and seem interchangeable, business owners or entrepreneurs must know the differences between the two.

Are visuals and graphics the same?

While visuals and graphics are closely related and are even used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. We can think of these two as cousins, rather than being the same entity.

Visuals usually refer to anything that can be seen, perceived, or interpreted by the eyes. This includes not only graphics but also photographs, illustrations, charts, diagrams, animations, and any other form of visual representation. Visual design concerns itself not only with the visual, but also with the overall user interface or user experience.

Graphics, on the other hand, specifically refer to visual elements created using computer software or other tools. Graphics can include images, illustrations, advertisements, page layouts, icons, logos, and other visual or marketing materials that are designed or manipulated electronically.

Graphic design and visual design are both crucial when it comes to various marketing strategies. Not only do they help communicate with the audiences, but they also help brands build and maintain how the audience will perceive them, their products and offerings, their services, and their overall digital presence. Here are some statistics that highlight the significance of graphics and visuals:

  • Ninety-three percent of people agree that seeing a product’s visual dimensions impacts their purchase decisions
  • According to ResearchGate, 94% of users will reject a website based on poor web design
  • 85% of consumers are attracted to brands with visual graphics
  • According to a Missouri S&T eye-tracking study, users spend 6.48 seconds looking at a brand’s logo, before moving on to other parts of the website
  • 4 out of 5 small businesses and startups agree that design is important to business success (99Designs)
  • 51% of people say website design influences their opinions of brands

In summary, both graphics and design are significant. And while graphics are a type of visual, not all visuals are graphics. Visual design encompasses a broader range of visual representations beyond just computer-generated graphics. Both, of course, can enhance marketing strategies for the better.

What is a visual designer and what do they do?

Simply put, a visual designer is a professional who specializes in creating visually appealing and effective designs of digital assets across various mediums and platforms. This includes websites, webpages, landing pages, mobile applications, animations, and more.

Their primary focus is on the aesthetic aspect of a design. Specifically, they ensure that the visual elements communicate the intended message or concepts in an engaging and impactful way. They also make sure that the whole visual look works well with how the audience is going to perceive or interact with a material or a platform. A visual designer also focuses on brand identities, whether it’s helping develop a cohesive and effective brand identity or helping reinforce branding throughout digital assets.

Here’s a breakdown of what a visual designer typically does:

  • Layout Designing: They design layouts for various mediums. This includes print materials like brochures, posters, magazines, and digital assets or platforms like websites, mobile apps, email newsletters, and social media.
  • Graphic Designing: Visual designers often create graphics, such as logos, icons, illustrations, and other visual elements. They’re known to use graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or other similar tools.
  • Setting Typography: Visual designers choose and manipulate fonts to enhance the readability and aesthetics of the platform or the marketing material. They ensure that the typography complements the overall design. This is especially crucial in websites or mobile apps where UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) are important.
  • Applying Color Theory: They apply the principles of color theory to create harmonious and visually appealing color schemes that evoke specific emotions or convey particular messages. A visual designer might use color theory for creating brand identities, brand guidelines, website design, mobile applications, and more.
  • User Interface (UI) Designing: In digital design, visual designers often work on UI design to create visually appealing interfaces for websites, applications, and other interactive platforms. They focus on elements like buttons, menus, icons, fonts, and overall visual hierarchy to optimize the user experience.
  • Brand Identity Designing: Visual designers play a key role in developing brand identities for businesses or organizations. They create logos, color palettes, typography guidelines, social media pages, and other visual elements that represent a brand’s personality and values consistently across all touchpoints.
  • Collaboration: They also often collaborate closely with other members of a creative team. This includes UX designers, illustrators, copywriters, ad specialists, and developers, to ensure that the visual design aligns with the overall project goals and requirements.
  • Feedback and Iteration: Visual designers solicit feedback from clients, stakeholders, or team members and iterate on their or other team members’ designs based on the feedback received. This aims to continuously improve visual communication.

What is a graphic designer and what do they do?

On the other hand, a graphic designer is a professional who specializes in visual content for various print and digital materials to help communicate, inform, educate, or persuade the audience. A graphic designer focuses on creating print and digital marketing assets, rather than designing a website or an application. Though they may help with these tasks, it’s rare for graphic designers to be the person responsible for a full website design and more.

Here’s an overview of the usual responsibilities of a graphic designer role:

  • Creating Digital Assets: Graphic designers produce visual assets to be used for various marketing campaigns or strategies. This includes logos, illustrations, icons, brochures, pamphlets, infographics, social media assets, and other graphics created using design software and tools.
  • Layout Designing for Print Materials: They design layouts for print materials such as brochures, flyers, posters, magazines, and packaging.
  • Applying Color Theory: They apply principles of color theory to create harmonious and effective color schemes that convey mood, evoke emotions, and communicate meaning in their designs.
  • Print Production and Quality Checking: For bulk print projects, graphic designers prepare files for printing. They help ensure that colors are accurately represented, dimensions are correct, and layouts are optimized for the printing process.
  • Collaboration: Graphic designers often collaborate with clients, art directors, copywriters, SEO specialists, and other members of creative teams. This is to understand project requirements, brainstorm ideas, and ensure the design solutions meet the client’s objectives.
  • Brand Identity Design and Support: Graphic designers play a crucial role in developing brand identities by designing logos, defining color palettes, choosing fonts, and implementing these elements in digital and print assets. This will help represent and support a brand’s personality and values consistently across all platforms and materials.
  • Feedback and Revision: They solicit feedback on their designs from clients and team members to incorporate feedback into revisions to refine and improve the final product.

Visual Designer vs. Graphic Designer: What’s the Difference?

So what’s the big difference between a visual designer and a graphic designer? Both visual and graphic designers use creativity and technical skills to create visually appealing assets that resonate with the audience. While visual designers and graphic designers share some similarities in their roles and responsibilities, there are still distinct differences between the two.

Scope of work

Visual Designers: Focus on the overall visual experience and storytelling across various mediums. They may work on a broader range of projects, including digital interfaces, user experience (UX) design, website elements, branding, and multimedia presentations.

Graphic Designers: Primarily focus on creating visual content and graphics for specific purposes. This includes marketing materials, branding elements, print designs, and digital graphics.


Visual Designers: They often have a broader skill set and may specialize in areas such as user interface (UI) design, motion graphics, animation, or interactive media. Of course, they are also familiar with graphic design and can create graphics or print assets for marketing.

Graphic Designers: Typically specialize in creating static visual assets like logos, illustrations, layouts, posters, ads, social media graphics, and more. They may also specialize in specific industries or types of design projects.

Visual Aesthetics and User Experience (UX)

Visual Designers: They usually prioritize the overall user experience and how users interact with the visual design. They focus on creating visually engaging designs that enhance usability, accessibility, website responsiveness, and overall emotional connection with the audience.

Graphic Designers: They emphasize visual aesthetics and the artistic aspects of design. While they consider usability and readability, their primary goal is to create visually compelling graphics that communicate messages and objectives effectively.

Focus or Nature of Output

Visual Designers: They often work on digital platforms and assets, including websites, mobile apps, software interfaces, and interactive media. They focus on creating or maintaining brand identity, and creating a smooth experience for the users or audiences. They may also create multimedia presentations and digital experiences.

Graphic Designers: Historically, graphic design is focused more on print design, including branding collateral, marketing materials, packaging, and publications. However, many graphic designers also work on digital projects, such as web graphics and social media content.

Collaboration and Integration

Visual Designers: They tend to collaborate closely with UX designers, website developers, content creators, digital marketing managers, and other stakeholders to ensure cohesive and effective design solutions for marketing assets.

Graphic Designers: Collaborate with clients, art directors, copywriters, and printers to produce visually appealing graphics that meet project requirements and objectives.

At the end of the day, while there is some overlap between the roles of visual designers and graphic designers, these key differences set them apart. These differences lie in their scope of work, specialization, focus areas, and the mediums they primarily work in.

What are important skills for a graphic and visual designer?

Both a graphic designer and a visual designer require a mix of technical skills, creativity, and a deep understanding of audiences and objectives. Entrepreneurs and business owners looking forward to hiring a role related to graphic and visual design should know which skills and talent they need to see.

Skills for a Graphic Designer

  1. Proficiency in Design Software: Mastery of various design tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign is essential for creating high-quality graphics and layouts.
  2. Color Theory: Knowledge of color theory to create harmonious color palettes that enhance the visual impact of designs and communicate emotions or messages effectively.
  3. Typography: Understanding of typography principles. This includes font selection, spacing, and hierarchy which will help create visually appealing and readable text elements.
  4. Layout Design: Ability to create balanced and aesthetically pleasing layouts for various print and digital mediums. They must be able to consider factors such as composition, balance, and visual hierarchy.
  5. Branding and Identity Design: Skills in developing and maintaining brand identities. This includes logo design, defining color schemes, typography guidelines, and other visual elements representing a brand consistently.
  6. Print Production: Familiarity with print production processes and specifications to prepare print-ready files, ensuring accurate color reproduction and proper formatting for printing.
  7. Digital Design: Understanding of digital design principles for creating graphics, interfaces, and assets for websites, mobile apps, social media, and other digital platforms for an organization.
  8. Creativity and Visual Communication: Strong creative skills to generate innovative design concepts, effectively communicating ideas visually to target audiences.
  9. Strict Attention to Detail: Ability to pay close attention to detail. This ensures accuracy and precision in design work, including alignment, spacing, texts, and overall consistency.
  10. Client Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication skills are also necessary to understand client requirements, provide design recommendations, and collaborate with other team members throughout the design process.

Skills for a Visual Designer

  1. User Experience (UX) Design: Understanding UX principles to create visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces and experiences across digital platforms.
  2. Interaction Design: Skills in designing interactive elements, animations, transitions, and micro-interactions to enhance user engagement and usability.
  3. Prototyping and Wireframing: Proficiency in prototyping tools such as Sketch, Adobe XD, or Figma to create wireframes and interactive prototypes for user testing, iteration, and collaboration.
  4. Motion Graphics and Animation: Knowledge of motion graphics principles and animation techniques to create dynamic and engaging visual content for websites, apps, and multimedia presentations.
  5. Information Architecture: Understanding information architecture principles to organize and structure content effectively is also important. This would help improve navigation and usability in digital interfaces.
  6. Responsive Design: Ability to design responsive and adaptive layouts for websites and mobile apps to provide optimal user experiences across various devices and screen sizes.
  7. Accessibility Design: Awareness of accessibility guidelines and best practices to ensure that designs are inclusive and usable by audiences with disabilities.
  8. Creative Problem-Solving: Ability to think creatively and solve design challenges, adapting to constraints, and finding innovative solutions that balance user needs, business goals, and technical requirements.
  9. User Research and Testing: Familiarity with user research methods, usability testing, and data analysis to gather insights and iterate on designs based on user feedback.
  10. Leadership, Collaboration, and Teamwork: Strong collaboration skills are also needed as a visual designer. This is so they can work effectively with UX designers, developers, content creators, and other stakeholders to achieve project goals and objectives.

A visual designer and a graphic designer are crucial to success when it comes to visual content marketing, social media spaces, and overall digital marketing strategies. If you’re having trouble choosing a role, make sure to consider your business goals and objectives and align them with the responsibilities and specializations of a graphic or visual designer.

Of course, you can also look for the best digital marketing services that can help you build your visual identity as a business. Twin Rams Media experts are here to help you with your visual assets and connect with your audience.