Graphic Design vs Interior Design – What Are The Differences?

The fields of graphic design and interior design both attract creative people, looking for freedom to express themselves and make the world a more beautiful place.

It’s not rare that a designer from one of these fields later in their career makes a switch to another. The two professions often overlap and share some of the basic principles, yet people often wonder what to choose: interior design or graphic design?

Frequently, a certain project may even require elements from both of these design disciplines.

However, make no mistake, fundamentally, these are two different industries.

Interior Design Vs Graphic Design

Although they often complement each other, they entail different skillsets and feature different daily work routines for professionals working in each field.

Still, many people, especially that outside of creative industries, don’t fully understand this distinction.

To make things clearer, I’ll compare graphic design vs interior design and explore what separates these two fields, as well as what they have in common.

What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic designer at work.

Graphic design may come in various shapes, forms, and sizes.

Every time you see a company’s logo, magazine cover, or illustration you’re exposed to a product of graphic design.

All these different forms work to visually communicate a certain idea or convey a message.

And, that’s exactly what, in its essence, graphic design is.

A process of planning and creating visual content that’s supposed to communicate a certain message to the intended audience.

Graphic design works by using these visual stimuli to influence our perception and elicit emotions.

Essentially, a graphic designer brings a visual concept to life by incorporating certain elements and principles into text, images, or graphics.

To achieve this, they use various tools and instruments. These include images, shapes, colors, fonts, photography, print design, animation, and many others.

Once mostly done on paper, modern graphic design is created using powerful graphic design software and computers.

What Is Interior Design?

Interior Designer at work.

Interior design is a profession that incorporates the elements of art, science, and architecture.

Basically, the job of an interior designer is to create a living space that the occupant will enjoy.

This means arranging the interior in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, but also fully functional.

To do this, an interior designer must create a layout that will make the most of the room’s potential.

Still, at the same time, it must take into account the style and functionality requested by the future occupant.

A finished interior design project defines how the space looks, functions, and appeals to our senses.

Besides the imaginative part, the responsibilities of an interior designer also include planning, communication, research, site inspections, and even construction management.

Being successful in this industry requires a certain level of education, but also creativity and good taste to select and combine the right design elements.

Interior Design Vs Graphic Design – What Are The Differences?

While both graphic design and interior design serve to visually express ideas, they do in different ways and, often, for different purposes.

The main distinction is that a graphic designer operates in two dimensions, while the interior design also adds a third.

A graphic designer works in 2D to create visuals that are commonly used on websites, social media, as illustrations, or in advertising.

On the other hand, their counterparts in interior design create solutions that are not only visual but also functional.

They’re supposed to define the layout and looks of certain spaces, such as rooms, offices, hotels, etc.

The work of a graphic designer usually allows more freedom, as they mostly work alone, using only computers and software, and involve a limited number of familiar vendors.

Interior design involves frequent visits to the project site and working with much more people.

They deal with clients, builders, project managers, manufacturers, and merchandisers.

Graphic Designer Vs Interior Designer

Despite certain similarities, the fields of graphic and interior design entail different work processes.

However, this doesn’t mean that one is necessarily better than the other.

For those pondering a career in these industries, the choice should come to personal preferences, skillset, and which of these two suits a certain individual better.

Working in graphic design means a lot of time spent at the desk and minimal contact with the final user of your work.

This provides more freedom and more opportunity to creatively express yourself. Still, it often comes with pressing deadlines and requires a responsible and punctual person.

Interior design, on the other hand, is more a part of the building industry, meaning that your designs are frequently only a part of a bigger picture.

Besides pure artistic talent, It requires some construction knowledge and the ability to synchronize your work with other stakeholders on the project.

Can A Graphic Designer Do Interior Design?

Both graphic and interior design are based on the same thing – communicating ideas visually.

This means that a graphic designer already has plenty of skills and talents to be successful in interior design.

Additionally, many graphic designers are already involved in interior design projects as collaborators.

Nevertheless, they can’t just jump into a new field of work.

Transitioning from graphic to interior design comes with a learning curve and requires a certain degree of effort.

To work in interior design, you must learn to read and create technical drawings, use 3D software, and understand spatial concepts.

Plus, you must get familiar with building regulations and keep up to date with new materials and developments in the construction industry.

Still, if you’re willing to start at an entry-level and willing to learn, there’s no reason why, as a graphic designer, you can’t make your way into interior design.


Even though we may not notice it, both graphic and interior design greatly influence our daily lives, although often on different levels.

They influence our reactions and behaviors and often can improve the quality of our life.

Comparing the two reveals a lot of similarities, but also some fundamental differences.

The job of an interior designer is more complex and impacts the life of an individual more directly.

In opposition, graphic design allows its practitioners more creative freedom and can reach a far greater audience.

Ultimately, these are both extremely fulfilling career choices. The one that makes you feel more comfortable is probably the one for you.

My Interior Palace