What Is Digital Design?

Digital design is the process of sharing visual information with people through a digital format.

Written by Matthew Urwin
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is Digital Design?
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Trent Victor | Aug 11, 2022

Smart phones, iPads and computers are all examples of interfaces through which digital design operates. With the reliance on these devices, digital design considers what consumers see and how they interact with technology. This ever-changing and expanding field continues to touch various aspects of everyday life.


What skills does a digital designer need?

Digital designers need to balance their expertise in visual technology with a collaborative, people-first mentality.

Digital designers must have a firm understanding of how to organize spatial elements, bringing colors, fonts and other variables together. To transform ideas into products, designers should also showcase experience in a range of programs. Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, Figma and HTML/CSS are a few tools that enable digital designers to bring their concepts into existence. 

Yet designers also need to maintain a human-centric attitude throughout the creation process. Successful products like digital whiteboards mimic physical items, crafting an intuitive experience that speaks to the desires of customers. Because design is often driven by consumer preferences, a design-mature company will collaborate to develop a digital product that satisfies customers’ expectations.


Is a digital designer a graphic designer?

While graphic and digital designers work with visual elements, digital designers take on a more tech-heavy role.

Graphic and digital designers share many similarities since both dabble in visual communication. Knowing how to divide up space and incorporate numerous factors like style and color is key for the two disciplines. As a result, both types of designers must consider how well they communicate information with audiences. While all designers share a concern for accessibility, this value is expressed differently in the realm of digital design. 

Digital design is much more interactive than graphic design, requiring digital designers to account for the principles of ethical digital design. This approach means customers should be able to locate buttons, read text on different devices and enjoy other details that graphic designers don’t have to consider. Digital design then builds off the foundation of graphic design, adapting visual communication to the complex world of technology.


How do you become a digital designer?

Professionals need to master high-tech skills, but getting a degree isn’t the only way to cultivate knowledge of digital design.

Education is ideal for those looking to go into digital design since the discipline requires a range of technical skills. However, beginners can learn skills through online resources, practicing programs and taking on internships. With diverse industries investing in digital design, aspiring designers are likely to find numerous opportunities. 

No matter where digital designers start out, they should make sure to nourish a well-rounded skill set. Organizing visual elements, coding, collaborating with teams and developing consumer-focused products are all part of the trade. Although this journey is long and difficult, designers can reap the rewards of their efforts within a growing digital world.

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