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Interaction Designer Vs. Graphic Designer

The art interaction designers and graphic designers create is different, but the elements they consider can be compared. We'll look at that as well as their respective salaries and daily responsibilities.

Comparing Interaction Designers to Graphic Designers

Interaction and graphic designers work for companies or as self-employed, independent contractors. Both work with design elements and consider how these will capture an audience. We'll explore both fields, with specific emphasis on job responsibilities, salary, and potential growth.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Interaction Designers Bachelor's Degree $78,887 13% (for all web designers)
Graphic Designers Bachelor's Degree $42,814 5%

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Interaction Designers vs. Graphic Designers

When companies want to improve their websites and applications, or develop their marketing tactics, they bring in at least one of these professionals. Interaction designers can work with digital media to make it more engaging for users. Graphic designers tend to make websites and advertisements visually appealing. Both answer to the client when it comes to design specifications and project budgets.

Interaction Designers

Interaction designers are focused on the movement that occurs on a website or in a phone application. This is especially true for objects that users interact with. One example of this would be the 'select' button, which these designers create with easy-to-read labels. They may also add color to make important elements stand out, allowing users to focus. Understanding how people naturally move and think is pivotal for these artists, as this gets folded into the motions, sounds, and layouts for digital media. These artists are also technical gurus who can develop computer code, so familiarity with computer languages, such as Java, is important.

Job responsibilities of an interaction designer include:

  • Selecting images and graphics that enhance the text
  • Developing software that offers feedback, such as vibrations or color changes, when users click
  • Choosing the behavior of menus, making them unfold or options grow bigger when the menu is hovered over
  • Testing websites and applications to ensure any bugs are worked out

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers use computer software, such as InDesign and Photoshop, to develop websites, advertisements, posters, and magazines. The first step is meeting with clients to discuss the goals and target audiences of marketing materials. These artists should understand concepts such as contrast and color theory, as they select the colors and typefaces for a design. Selecting images, resizing them, and aligning them in a way that uses white space are all the responsibility of graphic designers. Once an initial design is complete, they show clients the conceptual mockups to gain feedback and address any issues, including text edits.

Job responsibilities of a graphic designer include:

  • Helping companies rebrand themselves by creating new logos
  • Tracking resources by developing a bibliography or database
  • Gaining copyright permission to reprint images in an advertisement
  • Ensuring a project stays on budget and within the deadline

Related Careers

If you've been researching a career as an interaction designer, you could also look into a job as a computer programmer, because they share a familiarity with computer code. However, if you're curious about a job as a graphic designer, you may find fulfillment as an art director, since both create appealing visual art for marketing.


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