Visual Design

Published Oct 11, 2023
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Visual design is a design discipline that aims to develop a strategic aesthetic for digital products. This aesthetic must organize visual design elements such as line, shape, texture, space, form, and typography into a cohesive whole and support usability. Additionally, visual designers seek to create interfaces that are visually appealing.

Visual design is derived from graphic design and UI design. In the digital space, graphic designers may work on visuals related to a product’s marketing and branding. By contrast, visual designers and UI designers are responsible for the look of the product interface. Visual designers focus on the overall aesthetic of a product and may be in charge of building and maintaining a brand’s design system.

Three screenshots showing the evolution of a web page's visual design. The first screenshot shows a disorganized, plain design lacking information hierarchy. The second screenshot shows a more strategic layout, with different typography sizes establishing a hierarchy. The third screenshot adds color to divide the page into clear sections and make the buttons pop from the background. The spacing is precise and consistent.

While it’s possible to create an unappealing interface that’s easy to use, visuals play a pivotal role in user experience. Ineffective design may lessen engagement or prevent people from using a product. Effective visuals contribute to ease of use, delight, and a positive overall experience.

While visual design is essential, not all users rely on visual information to use technology. People with vision impairments may rely on sound, haptics, and visual input when interacting with digital products. Thus, accessibility should be a priority for designing inclusive products.

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