What Is Digital Design and Why Is it Important?


Digital design is a basic time period that’s extra related now than ever earlier than. Put merely, any sort of design that seems in a digital format (on an app or web site), moderately than in print (on a bodily web page), is taken into account digital design.

On Quora, person Retika Gore offers a concise digital design definition:

“Digital design refers to what is created and produced for viewing on a screen.”

In an more and more digitized world, it’s doubtless that as a designer, you’ll be working fairly a bit with digital design. Whether you’re a UX designer or a graphic artist, understanding the specifics of designing for digital platforms will make it easier to take your profession to the subsequent degree.

Digital vs. Print Design: How Are They Different?

At first look, it could appear as if digital design and print design are very related. However, there are some essential variations to bear in mind when designing for these two varieties of media.

Different Kinds of Deliverables

Since digital and print designs seem in other places, it is as much as designers to familiarize themselves with the varieties of deliverables they could be requested for.

Among different issues, digital designers could create:

  • Banner adverts
  • Infographics
  • Website components
  • UX wireframes
  • Graphics for studies and white papers (PDFs)

Print designers can be extra more likely to create:

  • Brochures
  • Magazine spreads
  • Book covers
  • Business playing cards
  • Print adverts 

If you have an interest in a profession as a digital designer, it’s a good suggestion to learn up on the varieties of initiatives you could be engaged on. Some digital initiatives, akin to banner adverts, have industry-standard codecs:

chart showing standard formats for web banner ads

A chart displaying customary codecs for internet banner adverts. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Other initiatives require particular abilities that transcend basic design data. For instance, when creating an infographic, it’s useful to think about find out how to visually signify knowledge in a method that’s applicable for on-line viewing.

infographic with information about best practices

An infographic with details about finest practices. Source: Daniel Zeevi, Flickr.

The Role of Analytics in Digital Design

Another factor that makes digital design totally different from print design is the position of information and analytics.

While it could be troublesome to instantly monitor the efficiency of a bodily flyer or brochure, within the digital realm you may have direct perception into your design’s efficiency by metrics akin to likes, shares, downloads, and pageviews.

As a digital designer, you may end up accountable for creating high-performing designs. This signifies that, past simply creating a sexy visible, you have to to bear in mind your required viewers and find out how to seize their curiosity. In some instances, you could be requested to check a number of totally different iterations of a design to see which one performs the perfect (this is called A/B testing).

RelatedWhat Is Digital Media and How Can It Help My Career?

Interactivity in Design

Digital design can also be totally different from print design as a result of it is interactive.

Not all varieties of digital design are interactive. In some methods, an infographic performs a lot the identical position as a poster—it’s a static picture. However, when it involves internet design, customers are sometimes dragging, dropping, and clicking on the weather you create.

Interactive design is extra complicated than static design. Beyond being aesthetically pleasing, your design will even must be usable—that is the main target of UX designers (extra on them in a bit).

Creating a website design layout

Creating an internet site design structure. Source: Pixnio.

Specific Types of Digital Designers

Digital designers could be damaged up into a number of totally different classes. Let’s focus on them right here:

Graphic Designers

While the time period “graphic designer” may be very basic, for the aim of this text we will consider graphic designers as digital designers working with static pictures. These designers could be creating an infographic, a report, or a digital illustration. Their major considerations are aesthetics, readability, and branding.

Web Designers

Web designers deal with the structure of internet sites, and might also design a few of the interactive components that seem on them. They ought to have a fundamental understanding of coding and the performance of internet sites or apps. Web designers want to grasp the prevailing developments in internet aesthetics, and additionally they want to think about accessibility and ease of use.

UX Designers

UX designers focus particularly on usability. Among different issues, they design preliminary plans for web sites, apps, or merchandise (often known as “wireframes”). UX designers are sometimes anticipated to collaborate with researchers and to create a number of totally different variations of their designs for testing with actual customers. Their designs must be based on knowledge, in addition to aesthetics.

Related: What Does a UX Designer Do? Roles Explained

A UX wireframe

A UX wireframe. Source: Baldiri, Flickr.

What Does a Digital Designer Do in a Typical Day?

Now that you just’ve discovered how digital design is totally different from print design, let’s speak about what it’s wish to be a digital designer. If you’re pondering of turning into a digital designer, this part will help you resolve what sort of life-style you wish to pursue.

Digital Design Freelancers

Some digital designers work as freelancers. These designers tackle their very own shoppers. They are solely liable for structuring their workday, discovering shoppers, invoicing, and different duties associated to working a small enterprise.

A day within the lifetime of a contract digital designer may appear like this:


One of the good issues about working in digital fields is that the work could be finished remotely. As a contract digital designer, you’ll have a number of alternative when it involves your workspace. You can work from a house workplace, a co-working house, a restaurant, and even from overseas as a digital nomad.

A coworking space in Vancouver

A coworking house in Vancouver. Source: GoToVan, Flickr.

Client Work

Most of a contract digital designer’s day will probably be taken up by shopper work. This may imply engaged on long-term contracts (for instance, collaborating with a shopper to design their new web site) or one-off initiatives (like making a single infographic).

Administrative Responsibilities

As talked about above, being a contract digital designer entails some administrative work. This may embody:

  • Creating and sustaining a portfolio web site
  • Reaching out to shoppers by job boards or chilly emails
  • Networking
  • Creating and sending invoices

Positive Points and Main Challenges

Becoming a contract digital designer is an efficient choice for somebody who enjoys selection and problem, has good gross sales abilities, and can tolerate a relative degree of economic threat.

If you prioritize stability, or discover it troublesome to encourage your self to work on duties, then being a digital design freelancer won’t be your best option for you.

Working at a Design Agency

Design companies, advertising and marketing companies, and internet growth companies usually rent designers to work as a part of a group serving outdoors shoppers.


Design companies could also be small startups or massive enterprises. Most rent full-time staff to work in-office. Increasingly, some companies are additionally selecting to work with distant groups.


As a digital designer at an company, you’ll spend most of your day engaged on shopper initiatives.

When you’re not doing shopper work, you could spend time on skilled growth, inside design initiatives, or—when you’re in a senior place—managing different designers. 

Positive Points and Main Challenges

Design company positions are usually fast-paced and provide an thrilling vary of challenges and duties. At an company, you’ll get to work with many various shoppers, usually in quite a lot of industries. This makes companies an incredible place to be taught extra concerning the world of design.

However, due to their revenue margins, companies typically provide decrease pay than in-house positions (in fact, this doesn’t at all times apply—the specifics rely in your job).

In-House Digital Designers

“In-house” digital designers work instantly for a corporation, designing their merchandise or creating advertising and marketing supplies and different belongings. In-house designer roles usually tend to carry a senior-level title (like “creative director”), or a title that requires a particular technical ability set (like “UX designer” or “product designer”).


As with company work, in-house designers usually work full time at their firm’s workplace, though some corporations might also rent remotely.


As an in-house designer, you’ll spend all of your time working in your firm’s initiatives. You will probably be liable for serving to your group execute its imaginative and prescient, and in the end driving the success of your organization.

Positive Points and Main Challenges

While in-house design has a popularity for being extra repetitive than company work, in fact this isn’t at all times true. As an in-house designer, you’ll have the prospect to discover a single sort of labor extra deeply, and can turn out to be extra invested within the success of your organization. An in-house place can present an incredible alternative to deepen your design data in a particular discipline.

Average Salaries for Digital Designers

You’ve now seen that there are lots of alternative ways to construct your profession as a digital designer. With that stated, what’s the common digital designer’s wage?

Salaries can fluctuate broadly based mostly on specialization, in fact. Most freelance graphic designers cost wherever from $15-$65 an hour (in line with PayScale), whereas senior UX designers could make as much as $137,000 per 12 months.

That stated, PayScale studies that the wage for digital designers of all types within the U.S. ranges from $39,000 to $79,000 per 12 months, with a mean of $53,855 per 12 months.

Screenshot showing the average digital designer salary

Screenshot displaying the typical digital designer wage. Source: PayScale.

RelatedThe State of UX Salaries in 2019

Digital Designing Courses and Education

As an aspiring digital designer, there are lots of routes you may take to satisfy your targets.

While some technical faculties (just like the New Jersey Institute of Technology) provide basic digital designing programs, most faculties subdivide digital design into different labels, like “graphic design,” “web design,” or “UX/UI design.”

If you’ve determined that digital design is the profession for you, it could make sense to get particular concerning the discipline you need to work in, and then seek for levels, on-line programs, or offline bootcamps that present a powerful combine of coaching and sensible expertise in that discipline.  

Intrigued by digital design and need to leap into the rising discipline of person expertise? Check out this free, hands-on, introductory course created by a UX designer. 


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