Desktop vs Mobile Design: Guide to Pros & Cons
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


When you're planning to create a graphic design, one of the first choices you'll make is whether to design for desktop or mobile. It's a bit like deciding whether to wear running shoes or hiking boots—you'd make your choice based on where you're going and what you'll be doing. Both choices have their own pros and cons, and in this post, we'll be exploring the pros and cons of desktop vs mobile graphic design. We'll be taking a good look at each, just like we would if we were trying on both pairs of shoes. Let's start with desktop design.

Desktop Design Pros

Let's imagine desktop design as a pair of sturdy hiking boots. Here's why:

More Space Equals More Design Freedom

One of the biggest advantages of desktop design is the larger screen size. This gives you more space to work with, much like a bigger canvas for a painter. You can add more elements, bigger text, and detailed graphics. Think of it like having a whole field to play in, rather than just a small sandbox. With desktop design, you can:

  • Use larger fonts: With more space, you can use larger text sizes, making it easier for users to read and comprehend.
  • Include more content: There's literally more room for you to add extra information, images, and other elements without making your design feel cluttered.
  • Add detailed graphics: Detailed graphics can shine on larger screens, showing off every pixel and color in full glory.

Better Performance and Processing Power

Like a pair of hiking boots, desktops are built for heavy-duty tasks and can handle complex designs with ease. They have more processing power, which means they can load detailed graphics faster and smoother. This is a big pro if your design includes elements like:

  1. High-resolution images: Desktops can load high-quality images faster, ensuring your designs look sharp and clear.
  2. Complex animations: If your design includes moving elements, desktops can handle them without slowing down or stuttering.
  3. Interactive features: Desktops have the power to handle interactive features like hover effects, which can make your design more engaging.

Reliable Internet Connection

Desktops are typically connected to stable and fast internet connections. This means your designs can load quickly, making your website more user-friendly. Plus, faster loading times can also help your website rank higher in search engine results—a win-win for both you and your users.

Now that we've covered the pros, you can see why some people opt for the sturdy hiking boots that are desktop design. However, just like hiking boots aren't ideal for a sprint, desktop design might not be the perfect fit for every situation. Stay tuned for the cons, and later we'll dive into the pros and cons of mobile graphic design.

Desktop Design Cons

Alright, let's flip the coin and look at the downsides of desktop design. While those hiking boots might be great for a mountain trail, they're not so great for a day at the beach. Similarly, desktop design has its own limitations. Here are some of the cons:

Limited Mobility

One of the main disadvantages of desktop design is that it's not very mobile. Think about it—you wouldn't take your desktop computer to the coffee shop, would you? This lack of mobility means your design is accessible only to users who are in a fixed location. Unlike mobile design, desktop design doesn't allow users to access your design from anywhere and at any time.

Less Personal

Desktops are often shared among family members or used in public places like libraries. This means your design won't have the same personal touch as mobile design, which is typically accessed on a personal device. It's like sending a letter to someone's home address versus their personal mailbox—there's a difference in the level of personal connection.

Harder to Reach Younger Audience

If your target audience is young people, desktop design might not be the best choice. Today's younger generation prefers mobile devices over desktop computers. So, if you opt for desktop design, you might find it harder to reach this demographic. It's a bit like trying to sell vinyl records to a generation that's all about streaming music online.

As you can see, while desktop design has its pros, it also has its cons. It's important to weigh these against each other to make an informed decision. But remember, we've only looked at one side of the equation so far. Next up, we'll explore the pros and cons of mobile graphic design. So, stay tuned!

Mobile Design Pros

Now, let's take a detour and drive down Mobile Lane. There's a reason why people love their smartphones and tablets—they offer convenience, flexibility, and a personal touch. So, let's take a closer look at the pros of mobile graphic design:


Mobile design is like your favorite paperback book—it can go wherever you go. This portability makes it easy for users to access your designs at any time, from anywhere. Whether they're commuting, waiting in line, or lounging at home, your mobile design is just a tap away.

Personal Touch

Phones are personal items. People carry them around all day, use them for various tasks, and even sleep next to them. By choosing mobile design, you're tapping into this personal connection. It's like having a direct line to your users, which can make your designs feel more intimate and personalized.

Reach a Younger Audience

Remember how we said desktop design might not be the best for reaching younger audiences? Well, mobile design is the exact opposite. Young people are practically glued to their phones, so if you're aiming for a younger demographic, mobile design can be a winning strategy. It's like setting up a lemonade stand on a hot day—you're bound to attract thirsty customers.

So, there you have it—the pros of mobile graphic design. As you can see, mobile design has some powerful advantages. But, just like a coin has two sides, mobile design also has its cons. So, hang tight as we delve into those next.

Mobile Design Cons

As we continue our journey, let's not forget that every road has its bumps. Even the most scenic routes have their challenges, and mobile design is no exception. Here are some of the cons of mobile graphic design:

Screen Size Limitations

One of the biggest challenges with mobile design is the screen size. It's like trying to pack a week's worth of clothes into a carry-on suitcase—you have to be selective and strategic. This can limit the amount of information you can effectively display at one time, and might require some extra creativity to ensure your designs are still impactful.

Varied Device Capabilities

Designing for mobile means taking into account a variety of devices with different capabilities. This is like planning a dinner party where some guests are vegetarian, some are gluten-free, and some only eat gourmet food. You need to ensure your design works well on all devices, which can be a complex and time-consuming task.

Dependence on Connectivity

Mobile designs are often dependent on internet connectivity. Without a stable connection, your design may not load properly or quickly. It's like hosting a party with a live band, but the power goes out—the party isn't quite the same without the music.

So, while mobile design has its pros, it certainly has its cons as well. However, remember that every design choice is a balance between pros and cons. The key lies in understanding your audience and choosing the approach that best meets their needs.

How to Choose Between Desktop and Mobile Design

Now that we've explored the pros and cons of both desktop and mobile graphic design, you might be wondering, "How do I know which one to choose?" Well, it's not as tricky as it seems. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

Know Your Audience

Consider who will be using your design. Are they more likely to be sitting at a desk or on the move? It's like planning a trip: you wouldn't go camping in the mountains if you prefer the comfort of a hotel and vice versa. Know your users’ habits and preferences to guide your design choice.

Consider the Purpose

What is the primary purpose of your design? If it's to provide detailed information that users will want to explore at length, a desktop design might be more suitable. On the other hand, if it's for quick, on-the-go interactions, mobile design could be the better option.

Factor in Future Growth

Thinking about the future is also important. Will your design need to adapt and grow over time? If so, which platform offers the best flexibility for this growth? Remember, it's not just about meeting the needs of today, but also preparing for tomorrow.

Choosing between desktop and mobile design doesn't have to be a coin toss. By understanding your audience, considering the purpose of your design, and factoring in future growth, you can make a well-informed decision that will benefit both you and your users.

Design Tips for Both Desktop and Mobile

Whether you're working on a desktop or mobile design, some principles apply to both. Like a chef uses the same basic techniques whether they're making a gourmet meal or a simple sandwich, you, too, can apply these tips to any design project. Here are some universal pointers to keep in mind:

Keep It Simple

Regardless of the platform, a cluttered design can confuse users. It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack — not fun, right? Aim for a clean, simple design that allows for easy navigation. Simplicity is key in both desktop and mobile graphic design.

Maintain Brand Consistency

Imagine if your favorite soda suddenly changed its logo — you'd probably barely recognize it! Consistency in branding is important for recognition and trust. Ensure your designs are consistent with your brand's color scheme, typography, and overall style across both desktop and mobile platforms.

Design for Accessibility

Ever tried to read tiny print without your glasses? Not a great experience, huh? Remember, not everyone interacts with designs in the same way. Make sure your designs are accessible to people with different abilities. Use large, legible text and high-contrast colors for better visibility.

By keeping these design tips in mind, you can create engaging, user-friendly designs, regardless of whether you're working on a desktop or mobile platform. Remember, good design isn't just about how it looks — it's also about how it works.

If you're interested in understanding the importance of desktop and mobile design when showcasing your portfolio, don't miss the workshop 'Different Ways To Showcase Your Portfolio' by lolilaboureau. In this workshop, you'll learn about various methods to display your work and how to make the most of both desktop and mobile platforms for optimal user experience.