What is Digital Design? Your Ultimate Guide

Digital Design and Communication Young male digital design manager wearing a white t-shirt and light blue shirt stood up smiling whilst holding a small electronic tablet in front of a computer displaying graphic design software, exploring the question: what is digital design?

What is digital design?

Why is digital design important?

Is digital design a good career path?

In this blog, we answer the top questions around digital design, exploring the true meaning of the term and the essential traits needed to succeed in the field.

Learn more about our Digital Design and Communication Masters

What is digital design?

Put simply, digital design is a broad term which refers to organising visuals and creating interactions for digital products.

Centred around interactivity and movement, digital design encompasses several areas including animation, webpages, and 2D or 3D modelling. On the other hand, its counterpart graphic design focuses more on static designs such as images, prints and brochures.

What are the different types of digital design?

There are many and varied types of digital design, so let’s explore some of the key areas.

  • UI Design: developing appealing and on-brand visuals for digital products.
  • UX Design: ensuring that the user experience is as pleasant and efficient as possible.
  • Web Design: creating the layouts and designs of websites and web pages.

What are the main responsibilities for someone working in digital design?

The responsibility of a digital designer varies depending on the role or organisation they are working in and the types of digital design they specialise in. Nonetheless, designers are typically accountable for creating elements such as:

  • GIFs and animations.
  • HTML banner ads.
  • UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) wireframes.
  • Videos.

In even more complex roles, digital design can also involve special effects production in film and television, and even video game design.

What skills are required for digital design?

At a minimum, to work and be successful in the industry, you must have these key design skills:

  • Adaptability: to react flexibly when addressing client feedback.
  • Attention to detail: to find innovative solutions to business problems.
  • Communication: to tell compelling stories through digital design.
  • Creativity: to transform complex, abstract ideas into captivating designs which “Think outside of the box”
  • Technical ability: to operate design software.

Why is digital design important?

As technologies develop and new innovations arise, digital design and communication is an important tool to improve our everyday lives.

A recent study by the School of Design at the University of Leeds demonstrated that businesses can build trust with customers through digital design, as research into two cyber security awareness websites concluded that participants located, understood, and recalled information better when more user-centred digital design principles were displayed.

Meanwhile, digital design can also improve healthcare procedures, with another study used to develop patient understanding of colonoscopy screenings.

What is the future of digital design?

The digital design job market outlook is also very promising, with UX design jobs projected to jump to 100 million by 2050, just one area which is set to see a big jump in openings and salaries in the coming years.

How to learn digital design

A good place to start when learning digital design is to understand some of the basic design principles and concepts. Familiarise yourself with some of the top trends and latest insights while improving your digital design knowledge.

Secondly, download digital design software such as Adobe Creative Cloud or Figma and explore them as much as you can. Have a click around and once you feel comfortable navigating the tools and features, try designing something.

Following that, if you are keen to learn digital design and take the first step into a career in the field, enrol on a digital design course to gain a qualification that will help you learn and develop your existing skills.

Is digital design a good career path?

Whether you’re looking to propel your career to a leadership role in your current area of digital design, advance in a different specialism or switch to the creative sector, the career opportunities in the field are vast and exciting.

The digital design world is a creative environment, with the opportunity to innovate and lead the strategies behind digital products or services. If you reach management level, you may also have employees that report into you as their line manager, so you’ll have the rewarding responsibility of developing a team and overseeing their output and delivery.

How to get into digital design

There’s no single ‘one size fits all’ method of entering the digital design industry, and if you speak to multiple digital designers, their early-stage career experiences will no doubt be different.

However, in addition to some of the important design skills required to succeed, most designers also have some related work experience, a strong portfolio of creative work, and a recognised qualification as a career starting point.

Courses such as our fully online Digital Design and Communication Masters are a great way to develop highly sought-after soft, creative, technical, and transferable design skills so that you can enter the digital design industry and start building your creative career.

What can you do with a digital design Masters?

Here’s are just a few of the top management-level digital design jobs available in the industry, which graduates of our Digital Design Masters can expect to step into after completing their studies:

  • Digital Design Manager / Digital Design Lead.
  • Digital Product Design Manager.
  • UI Design Manager / UX Design Manager.
  • Web Design Manager.

Find out more about the career prospects from a digital design Masters​

Young female UX manager with long brown hair, gold round glasses and a white dress stood up smiling at the camera in a small workspace stood infront of a computer displaying UX software

Preview of the University of Leeds Digital Design and Communication programme page

Want to learn more about our online Digital Design and Communication course?

Check out the course content and how to apply.

Online postgraduate courses - University of Leeds