Graphic Designer Vs Product Designer

Graphic designers and product designers both create designs that a client can use. Read more to learn about some of the similarities and differences between these two careers.

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Comparing Graphic Designers to Product Designers

Graphic designers and product designers are responsible for developing an appealing design for clients, though graphic designers focus on designs done on a computer while product designers create designs that will be used to create actual products. A designer might be interested in either of these career options. Learn more about these design jobs and how they compare.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016) Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Graphic Designer Bachelor's Degree $47,640 1%
Product Designer (Commercial and Industrial Designer) Bachelor's Degree $67,790 2%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Graphic Designers vs. Product Designers

While both graphic designers and product designers work with clients to produce a design that will fit their needs, these careers are very different. Graphic designers work with clients wanting to advertise products and services. Their job is to create a design that can appeal to customers. Product designers work with clients that need a new product created based on customer needs. They plan out a design for a product that will be produced and used by customers.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are responsible for developing a layout and design that can be used in different forms of advertisements, brochures, magazines or even websites. They must communicate efficiently to understand what a client is looking for and what they want to communicate to their audience. Graphic designers must also have exceptional computer skills and artistic abilities to create the designs. Typically these designs are created for clients to use in marketing and selling products or services. Graphic designers also need to be creative and unique in their designs.

Job responsibilities of a graphic designer include:

  • Using computer programs to develop creative images, designs and layouts
  • Creating logos for a client
  • Presenting designs
  • Communicating with clients to determine changes needed
  • Checking designs for errors

Product Designer

Product designers come up with different ideas that can be used to develop products that people use. These products range from cars and appliances to toys and furniture. When developing products, product designers must take into account the cost, function, and aesthetic appearance. Most of their work is done in a studio where they can come up with ideas and design them, though at times they have to travel to meet with clients. They must have mechanical skills to understand how products work so that they can accurately design a product that functions. They also must be good at problem solving so they can fix any errors or issues that may arise in the design process.

Job responsibilities of a product designer include:

  • Researching how products could potentially be used
  • Developing product prototypes, models and sketches
  • Ensure safety of products
  • Present ideas to clients
  • Evaluating practicability and function of a product

Related Careers

Those looking at a career in graphic design may also be interested in web development, as much of their work is done on a computer creating different websites to be used by clients. Architects are similar to product designers in the way that they plan and design buildings and houses similar to how product designers design products.

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