The distinction between interfaces & graphics. by Michael Dick

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A very common question I encounter with in our industry is sort of a trick question, they ask me if I do graphic design. I reply with, no. Then the next question that follows asks me who designs my graphics.

In any industry there is terminology and that terminology gets mixed up. Some people use it one way and others use it their way. The case against Interface and Graphic design is the most often encountered in ours. Trying to explain to someone that I’m an interface designer but not a graphic designer can get tricky.

Let’s settle the score here.

Interface design is when one is designing something that will be used by humans. The understanding of how a user thinks, learns and adapts is important knowledge.

I’m not down playing graphic design in any way, it’s just different. For example, graphic designers have the intention to grab an emotional response visually. While Interface designers have the intention to grab a logical response mentally.

Left/Right Brain Reactions

We’re dealing with opposite sides of the brain here; left brain / right brain reactions.

Web design is not graphic design. Sure, we design graphics as a means of creating an interface, but the means in which these graphics are used is what creates the blurry distinction between the two.

Next time you open photoshop (or fireworks), ask yourself the purpose of your blank canvas. Remind yourself that the webs intention is to be used by real human beings with real goals.

Until next time, follow me on twitter, @michaeldick

Michael Dick
i’m michael dick…
I’m a passionate designer & developer fascinated by all facets
of the web. My love for standards
complements my attention to beautiful design; I’m entrepreneurial minded and a creative thinker. I’m from Oklahoma and I work full-time for nclud.