A great website can make your business seem more trustworthy, increase sales, and attract more clients. Graphic and web design are the two main fields that work together to create stunning websites. Although both modes of creative vision are often used interchangeably, they serve different roles in developing ecommerce websites.

If you need a web or graphic designer for your ecommerce website, NEXT BASKET can help. Our platform has many pre-designed themes and integrations to help you build a beautiful, user-friendly ecommerce website.

Understanding the differences between graphic and web design can help you choose the right web designer for your ecommerce business. Read on to learn more about the differences and similarities in web design vs graphic design.

The role of web design and graphic design in ecommerce website development

Web design involves designing a website’s look and feel. Web designers focus on building the user interface (UI), planning the wireframe layouts, and organizing content/images on the website. They’re also responsible for testing, optimizing, and maintaining websites to ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

Graphic design, on the other hand, involves creating concepts using visual and textual elements to relay a message. Like web designers, graphic designers need to understand basic design fundamentals, such as typography, color theory, layout, and visual theory.

In ecommerce web development, most graphic designers create custom graphics, illustrations, and icons to make websites more aesthetically appealing. They also design packaging materials, banners, and product imagery to help establish and maintain the visual identity of ecommerce websites.

The role of web design and graphic design in ecommerce website development

Key differences between web design and graphic design

Whether you’re working on a web project or trying to decide on a career path, it’s essential to know what graphic and web design entail. It’s not uncommon for a graphic designer to be hired to perform tasks only a web designer would know how to do.

Web and graphic design may share a few similarities, but they have different applications and require additional technical skills. Below are the main differences between the two:


One of the most significant differences between web and graphic design is the medium used. Web design is about creating functional websites that people can view and interact with on digital platforms such as websites, mobile, and web applications.

Graphic design, on the other hand, focuses on creating visual compositions that may be used in both digital assets and print media. It can be used to communicate specific messages, ideas, and thoughts.

User interaction

With web design, you can easily interact with the design. Most websites usually come with action buttons and menus that you can click on to navigate from one webpage to another. Some websites also have motion graphics, media, and updates that you can interact with to stay current with the times.

Graphic design, on the other hand, is inert. The only way to interact with graphic design work is by touching and viewing it, but nothing will change even after doing so.

Technical skill level

Web designers must master multiple web design and development programs, including various programming languages like HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, Python, C++, and PHP. They must also consider resolution, pixel dimensions, load time, and file size factors.

Graphic designers, on the other hand, must be well-versed in typography, user experience (UX), and user interface. Notably, graphic designers can customize projects without considering limitations like in web design.

Typography hurdles

Despite all the advancements in web design, web designers still have some typography challenges to overcome. For example, a given design will likely default to a basic font if the browser does not support the CSS specified.

In graphic design, you can use any typeface you want, and the design will come out the same as long as you have the actual font installed on your computer. However, be sure to acquire the proper license for your fonts. 

Ongoing relationship

Even after a website is up and running, the work continues for web designers. Since websites are a dynamic medium, they need constant updates and maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Occasionally, you may need to hire web designers to help with design updates.

On the other hand, graphic design work can be done without an ongoing relationship with the graphic designer. Once the design has been completed and sent to print, the work is done. This is usually the case unless you want to change the original design.

Different software

Web designers use programming and web-building tools to build custom websites. They must know HTML and CSS to create compelling websites and structure web content.

Graphic designers, on the other hand, use software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Canva to create graphics. Being familiar with programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is an added advantage for graphic designers in multidisciplinary teams. 

Different collaborations

Web designers and graphic designers collaborate differently in their respective lines of work. Most of the time, web designers use code provided by web developers to help bring their website ideas to life and understand the various technical limitations of their work. They also collaborate with UI designers to ensure the website’s visual design supports its overall user experience and usability.

Meanwhile, graphic designers usually create and design their work alone. They’re responsible for creating their visual content ideas and actualizing them. However, sometimes, they collaborate with visual designers when creating graphics for custom websites, mobile apps, and other graphic design projects.

How web design and graphic design work together in ecommerce website development

Both graphic design and web design are distinct but complementary fields. Think of the graphic designer as the visionary artist and the web designer as the skilled mechanic, teaming up to create a masterpiece.

In ecommerce web development, web design and graphic design complement each other in several ways. These include:

Establishing brand identity

There are so many ecommerce websites competing for customers’ attention and money. So, online store owners must leverage graphic and web design to stand out from the competition and stay ahead of the game.

Graphic designers  work include creating logos, picking color schemes, and designing other brand elements to help communicate the brand’s ideas, values, personality, and stories. Web designers then incorporate these visual elements into the brand’s ecommerce website to create a recognizable and consistent brand identity on all online platforms.

Visual content creation

Both graphic and web designers must be well-versed with visual design principles. This ensures that the visual and functional details of ecommerce website development are correctly handled. 

Graphic designers create product images, banners, and promotional graphics throughout a website.

Once this visual content is designed, web designers style and position it on the website to help improve its overall user experience.

Building a compelling user interface (UI) design

Both web and graphic designers play vital roles in creating great website UI designs. Graphic designers create visually appealing action buttons, icons, text fields, list boxes, search boxes, dropdown lists, and other user interface elements.

Web designers then use these elements to make UI design mockups and incorporate them into the website’s layout. They also work closely with UX designers to test and optimize these elements to ensure a good user experience.

The importance of user experience (UX) in web design for ecommerce

If you run an online store, the importance of a good UX cannot be understated. Below are the benefits of user experience in web design for ecommerce businesses:

  • Improved conversion rates – Visitors are more likely to complete a purchase if they have a positive experience on the website.
  • Increased customer satisfaction – Good UX helps improve overall customer satisfaction, loyalty, and the probability of positive word of mouth about your business.
  • Reduced bounce rates – Visitors are more likely to stay on your website and continue browsing if they find it easy to use.
  • Increased order value – Visitors are more likely to add more items to their cart if they’re having a positive experience on your ecommerce site.
  • Improved search engine rankings – Leading search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo reward websites that offer a good UX by ranking them higher in search results. This, in turn, translates to increased traffic to your business’s website and sales.
Improved search engine rankings

Great UX in web design is vital for creating a hassle-free shopping experience in the ecommerce industry. By focusing on visual appeal, responsiveness, ease of use, consistency, and simple navigation, you can quickly improve your website’s user experience and increase sales. 

The importance of branding and visual identity in graphic design for ecommerce

Graphic design elements such as logos, color palettes, imagery, fonts, typography, illustration styles, and patterns help create a visual identity for your ecommerce brand.

Good branding and visual identity:

  • Boosts your brand’s recognition.
  • Helps your ecommerce brand stand out from the crowd.
  • Creates brand loyalty and drives up sales.
  • Makes your brand more relatable to customers.
  • Makes your ecommerce business appear more organized.

Branding and visual identity directly affect your ecommerce business’s success. Therefore, developing a positive brand image that is easily recognizable and memorable to your target audience is essential. 

Best practices for designing an effective ecommerce website

Although website design is not a one-size-fits-all deal, you want your ecommerce website to outlast trends and stand out.

The following are some tips to help you design an effective ecommerce website that will attract more traffic and increase your sales:

  • Use a simple homepage design and avoid clutter.
  • Optimize your website to make it more mobile-friendly.
  • Display customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials as social proof to help boost your business’s trust.
  • Use convenient website taxonomy to divide your product catalog into right-sized categories.
  • Minimize the number of steps and form fields to simplify the checkout process.
  • Minimize on-site popups, as some customers see them as annoying and disruptive.
  • For added transparency, incorporate appropriate trust signals like contact information, company policies, and technical certifications.
  • Use high-quality images to aid visual communication.
  • Add a search bar on your website’s homepage to make it easier for customers to find what they need.

Designing the ideal ecommerce website can be challenging. However, with the help of these tips, you’ll be able to build a great ecommerce website that boosts your business’s growth. 

The impact of responsive design on ecommerce website development

Responsive web design ensures that web content adapts and delivers the best user experience on all devices and screen sizes.

An ecommerce website that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes and viewpoints:

  • Accommodates user web preferences.
  • Improves your website’s search engine visibility.
  • Reduces bounce rates and increases conversion rates.
  • Makes your website adaptable to future devices and social media platforms.
  • Enhances user experience and customer satisfaction.

Although there are several types of website designs, responsive design is what most internet users prefer. This is because it makes browsing web content on mobile devices much easier.

The role of typography and color in web and graphic design for ecommerce

Typography is creating and organizing content to make it more readable and appealing when displayed. Using the right combination of typography and color in web or graphic design projects plays a vital role in improving the user experience of ecommerce websites.

Some benefits of using the proper typography and color for your ecommerce website include:

  • Establishes your business’s visual identity and personality.
  • Promotes your brand’s recognition.
  • Sets the tone for your marketing campaigns.
  • Establishes a clear visual hierarchy of information on your ecommerce website.
  • Draws the customer’s attention to specific products and offers.
  • Improves the readability of your website and user experience.
  • Drives up user engagement by directing the user’s eye to some aspects of your ecommerce website.

Typography and color play an essential role in determining the success of your ecommerce website. With these two, your ecommerce website may look more exciting and impressive. 

The use of imagery and multimedia in ecommerce website design

Using imagery and multimedia on your ecommerce website is vital for creating an engaging and visually appealing shopping experience.

Some of the best practices for using imagery and multimedia in ecommerce website design include:

  • Use high-quality pictures at all times.
  • Create helpful product videos that demonstrate how to use your products.
  • Add options for customers to customize products based on their preferences.
  • Frequently display videos and images of happy customers using your products.
  • Use illustrations to show various features, specifications, and benefits of the products on your ecommerce website.

Most people usually decide whether or not to purchase products based solely on the photographs on the website. Incorporating the right images and multimedia into your ecommerce website design will help improve user experience, increase conversion rates, and build a professional perception of your brand. 

The use of imagery and multimedia in ecommerce website design

Designing for accessibility and inclusivity in ecommerce web design and graphic design

Ecommerce web and graphic design is not just about usability and aesthetics but also inclusivity. Creating an inclusive ecommerce website translates to a respectful and accessible shopping experience for people with diverse backgrounds, preferences, and abilities.

The following are tips to help you design an accessible and inclusive ecommerce website:

  • Understand your users — Understand who they are, their needs, challenges, and preferences. Use research methods like surveys and interviews to gain insights about your target audience.
  • Choose appropriate colors and fonts — Consider picking colors and fonts that are visually appealing and accessible to everyone. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) require all web designers to ensure their websites have a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for regular texts and 3:1 for large texts.
  • Use clear and simple language — Use short sentences, simple words, and active voice throughout your website. Avoid using slang, acronyms, and jargon, which may lead to misinterpretation.
  • Respect user preferences and privacy — Consider providing options to adjust your website’s font size, color scheme, speed, and volume. You can also use a privacy policy generator to help manage your ecommerce website’s privacy policies.

An accessible and inclusive ecommerce website is a win for everyone. In addition to providing a hassle-free shopping experience for users, such a website can improve your brand reputation and attract more customers. 

Frequently asked questions

Which tools do graphic designers and web designers use?

Graphic designers use software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Sketch, CorelDRAW, Canva, and Inkscape. Web designers, on the other hand, use tools such as ClickUp, Canva, Figma, WordPress and Adobe.

Is graphic design only about creating logos and posters?

No. Unlike traditional graphic design, designers nowadays use computer software to create visual compositions for web, mail, and social media platforms.

What are the current trends in web design?

Current web design trends include kinetic typography, drag interaction, animated illustrations, scrolling effects, and ultra-minimalism.

How do graphic designers distribute their designs?

Graphic designers can use channels such as couriers, mail, brochures, events, in-store displays, and online platforms for distributing graphic design work.