Are all designers the same?


A few years ago, creating a digital presence meant a company had a website and verified the website worked between different browsers. Now, more digital platforms have to be considered such as mobile devices.

One study found that the average user interacted with a mobile device 2,617 times a day (Michael Winnick. 16 June 2016. Putting a Finger on Our Phone Obsession [Blog post]. Retrieved from

This shift from print to a reliance on digital platforms has created a need for mobile designers. Being a “designer” today means so much more than it did many years ago. I started my career as a designer for web and then I moved into mobile design. Though, designing for print versus web or mobile are very different worlds.

Can a print designer be a good mobile or web designer? There isn’t a simple answer. However, it is not as easy to just switch from print to web or mobile design because there are distinct principles that need to be applied to each respective medium. At the same time, there are also some design principles I learned that are common between graphic design and design for digital platforms.

Common Principles

One of the first things I learned in University was the basis of graphic design:
The 6 Principles of Gestalt.

What are the principles of Gestalt?

The Gestalt Principles are theories of visual perception. If one of the principles are applied in say mobile design when arranging elements, it will help create a coherent design and feel more connected. The principles are universal and can be used in any art and visual platform. In a nutshell, the principles make for good design.

The two common principles that transfer over to mobile:

Continuation (Continuity)
Continuity is the principle continues shapes beyond their ending points. If the end is undefined, a fluid connection between parts helps guide the user until the end such as Facebook feed. The continuity can be on the horizontal axis as used in the App Store.
Gestalt Principle: Continuation

Symmetry is a composition that helps the viewer focus on the point by creating balance and order between elements.
Gestalt Principle: Symmetry

What’s the difference?

As many principles, rules and theories there are behind good design, there isn’t a perfect style because the industry is consistently pushing boundaries. It can become an obsession for a designer to find the right balance of elements.

Web and mobile designers face additional challenges. Like tech trends, digital design trends evolve quite rapidly to meet user demands. With the steady rise of mobile use as the article at the outset reinforced, we have seen more designers just for mobile now. Soon enough, we will see designers just for VR/ AR.

This evolution means that digital designers (web and mobile) need to:

  • Know the universal rules of design
  • Be aware of iOS and Android usability standards
  • Start with the user experience in mind
  • Be informed of new technology developments
  • Understand the different states a user can go through when using mobile devices

What do you need?

Would a designer with packaging experience and charges $30/ hr do just as good of a job as the $50/ hr mobile designer on your application user interface? It’s a tough call when you’re looking at budgets. Sometimes cutting back on design can hurt your budget more than it can help.

At Bliss, we understand budget constraints but we also believe in good design. Connect with Bliss and we can help assess your project to determine the best needs so you can optimize your design ROI.