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What does a visual designer do?

What exactly does a visual designer do and should you hire one? In this post we'll define the role and explain how they differ from graphic designers.
27 jul 2020 • Lectura de 5 minutos
Actualizado el 11 dic 2020 por Ruchi B.
 Foto de portada

The role of a visual designer is quite ambiguous, but this will help clear the confusion.

The modern job market is continuously evolving. With rapid advances in technology, new disciplines are emerging at faster rates than jobseekers can keep up with.
For example, take the case of digital design. Once upon a time, when things were simpler, if you decided to embark on a career in design, you could either choose to be a graphic designer or a web designer.
Cut to today, and the design role has adopted multiple flavors such as UI/UX design, game design and industrial design. But perhaps the most unique of all is the term visual designer. This although visual designers are in high demand, there's a lot of confusion over the role.
In this post we'll clear up all of the confusion by clarifying the exact role of a visual designer and how it differs from graphic design. 
So, if you're looking to hire a visual designer, or even thinking of becoming one, read on.

What is a visual designer and how do they differ from graphic designers?

As can be understood from the term itself, there's no one-size-fits-all definition of a visual designer. In today's world, every aspect of a digital existence is determined by digital visuals. The task of a visual designer is to take such visual elements and craft a clear narrative using the same.
What do we mean by that? Simply the fact that a visual designer is responsible for tackling the visual representation of a wide range of products and services. In that context, the task of a visual designer is not limited to mere digital mediums. A visual designer is expected to handle all visual aspects of a brand, and is responsible for guiding the visual perception of the customer.
Now, how is this different from graphic design?
A graphic designer is essentially a professional who's adept at creating digital, or even non-digital designs for a variety of products. Graphic designers are usually experts in all aspects of implementing digital designs, and can use their expertise to design anything from flyers to websites. They are also expected to know some coding, at least HTML and CSS.
In contrast, a visual designer is more concerned with how a particular design element will interest, attract or repel the user. Visual designers have the responsibility to understand exactly how a design will impact customers.
To cut a long story short, we can say that a visual designer is more of a conceptualizer, a person who decides how a particular design should look and feel to the end-user. A graphic designer, on the other hand, is responsible for actually implementing the design concepts that have been created and innovated by the visual designer.
So, are the two roles completely separate? Not really. Both graphic designing and visual designing deal with aesthetics, but graphic design is an older, more technical role. Visual designers, however, are expected to be able to perform all the functions of a graphic designer. Yet, the job of a visual designer is more high-functioning, and involves a broader outlook on the design discipline as compared to a graphic designer.

What does a visual designer do?

From the above, we get but an overview of the role that a visual designer is expected to fulfill. In this section, we're going to delve into the duties and responsibilities that a visual designer needs to tackle.
The very nature of the role demands that a visual designer be adept at all aspects of the design process. A visual designer may have to work on digital as well as traditional platforms, and must be well versed with the nuances of both. Also, since visual design jobs are often industry specific, many organizations look for designers with sufficient domain knowledge, and even marketing skills.
That being said, the general duties and responsibilities of a visual designer include the following:
Design and innovate upon the look and feel of a wide range of user interfaces, which may include web and mobile apps, smart devices, wearables and even digital kiosks.
Enhance the visual presence of a brand by creating layouts conformant with the brand's voice and style.
Create screen mockups, wireframes and user-centric interaction models.
Design individual visual elements such as logos, favicons and infographics.
Collaborate with IT and business teams to create visual layouts of data, in a manner that's easily understood.
Be familiar with the fundamental tenets of coding, so that they face no difficulty when working with coders on a design problem.
Create, organize and resize digital assets to work well across multiple devices.
Work on creating marketing visualisations and presentations.
Create, maintain and work with a visual component library.
Handle multiple projects within the required time-frames.
Here, it is wise to remember that while the responsibility range of a visual designer encompasses the above, they are not limited to this list. Visual design is a dynamic role, and any professional who expects to fill the shoes of a great visual designer should be ready to explore uncharted territory.

Key skills to look for in a great visual designer

It's probably very clear by this point that visual designers are expected to have a large number of skills in their repertoire. In this section, we're going to take a look at the key skills that every visual designer worth their salt must possess.

Solid Knowledge Of Adobe Design Software

Every employer today wants, or rather needs visual designers to be well acquainted with Adobe's suite of design software. Specifically, InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are apps that every visual designer needs to be fluid with.

Digital Media And Coding

As a visual designer is expected to work with all kinds of digital media, they must be conversant with the same. Audio, video and still imagery, everything comes under the visual design umbrella. And if possible, it's best visual designers have a basic knowledge of the coding practices behind these visuals.

Branding And Marketing

Visual designers mostly work to promote a brand and its products/services. Hence, many employers are more keen to hire professionals who have marketing knowledge in their repertoire.


This, of course, goes without saying. A visual designer must have a creative streak, and should be able to view every design with professional acuity. A keen sense of color, aesthetics and a visual eye is essential for success in this profession. 
Along with the above, it doesn't really hurt to have great communication and people skills.

How to hire a visual designer on Freelancer

To hire a visual designer on Freelancer simply post a project and follow the guided setup to outline all of your requirements.
Freelance visual designers will then bid on your project (submit proposals), this saves you the effort of pursuing through thousands of profiles to find the best visual designer. 
To assist your decision, you can take a look at the profiles of any stand-out freelancers that bid on your project. Profiles showcase a portfolio of work as well as reviews from previous employers, so you can be confident that you are hiring the best talent for your unique project. 

Final Words

Impressive aesthetics take our breath away  and, when leveraged in the right direction, even compel us to buy products. With the right visual designer by your side, you can inject life into your brand 
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