After seeing confusion about the different roles that designers take in the creation of the environments and things around us, here is a brief list of design
disciplines and their definitions.
Architecture: Architecture “is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.” [Architecture, Wikipedia]
Graphic Design: Graphic Design, frequently referred to as Visual Communication or Communication Design, is an applied art. Graphic design often refers to both the process by which the communication is created and organized, and the products which are generated from that process. The products could be digital or printed (including: logos, brochures, websites, animation, books, and magazines).
Human Computer Interaction: (HCI) Human Computer Interaction revolves around the study, planning and design of the interaction between people and computers. This field pulls together a knowledge of human physical and mental factors (anatomy, behavior, psychology, communication,…) and technical factors (device limitations, operating systems, programming languages,…).
Industrial Design: This discipline combines applied art and science to create and develop concepts and specifications based on the aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality and usability of a physical product. The goal is to optimize the function, value and appearance of a product and/or system for the benefit of both user and manufacturer
Information Architecture: (AI) Information Architecture is the art and science of organizing the structure of information and content for websites, intranet sites and software to support usability. This involves making wireframes, the blueprints of a digital design. This could also involve creating a taxonomy of how content and products on a site should be classified, or a prototype illustrating how the information should change on screen as a user progresses through a task.
Interaction Design: (IxD) Interaction Design is the practice of shaping the digital products for use with a focus on behavior. This field combines information from science, engineering and combines them to imagine how a digital product might behave.
Motion Design: Part of graphic design, motion design applies graphic design principals to a video or animated context. Â Examples include: title sequences, web animations, and branding (station identification logo).
User Experience Design: (UXD, UED) UXD refers to the holistic consideration of a user’s experience. UXD is used to explain all aspects of a person’s experience with a system from initial communication (language, graphic design, sound) to physical and simulated interaction (UI, industrial design). This can include traditional Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) design.
User Interface: Is the design of devices, machines, software and websites with a focus on making the user’s interaction with the system or device as efficient and clear as possible.
“Interface design is involved in a wide range of projects from computer systems, to cars, to commercial planes; all of these projects involve much of the same basic human interactions yet also require some unique skills and knowledge. As a result, designers tend to specialize in certain types of projects and have skills centered around their expertise, whether that be software design, user research, web design, or industrial design.” [UI design, Wikipedia]
Visual Design: Visual Design refers to design that works with any media or visual communication.
Web Design: Web Design refers to the many skills and disciplines used in the creation, production and maintenance of a website. Different areas of web design can include: graphic design, user interface design, interaction design, user experience design and search engine optimization.