Graphic Design Illustrated

March 2014

Graphic design is the face of the business world. Anytime a business—whether a small company or a large corporation—needs to communicate visually with the outside world, graphic design is involved. However, the design industry does far more than provide art for businesses. It gives companies a persona that is recognizable to the public.

          Put simply, graphic design uses visual information, such as illustrations, photos, typography, color schemes, texture, and layout to communicate an idea or feeling. For example, a color scheme of light blues and browns suggests a calming, earthy motif, whereas red and black may suggest anger or passion. The graphic designer is responsible for choosing the right visuals that will accurately portray the client’s needs.

          The graphic design industry encompasses many specialties and overlaps with several other fields. Three of the main specialties include advertising/PR, print design, and web design.

           Of all the industries, graphic design intersects with advertising the most, and branding is the best example of this symbiosis. The brand cannot be separated from its design, for the design makes the brand recognizable. For instance, is it possible to imagine Target without its red bull’s-eye? What if it was blue or square shaped? Therefore, graphic designers must have an intimate understanding of the company’s marketing strategy and create a design that reflects the proper tone and feeling.

          Once a brand is established, print and web design flow from it. Print design is a basic function of a graphic designer and requires proficient knowledge of printers. It includes projects such as business cards, brochures, letterheads, magazine and catalogue layouts, billboards, and posters. However, this is far from an exhaustive list.

          Web design introduces another set of skills. Sometimes, the designer is only responsible for creating the layout and graphics for the website before giving it to a web developer. Other times, the designer may be required to know basic coding and resolve simple tasks. Designers also create online graphics such as web banners and social media images, which sometimes entails basic animation.

          To take on these diverse tasks, a graphic designer must be flexible and always willing to learn. Problem solving is perhaps the most important skill, as designers constantly seek new ways of illustrating and presenting their clients’ businesses. Further, the complex software used to create projects is ever changing, and designers must adapt to new and upgraded programs.

          A graphic designer’s abilities exist beyond that of a basic artist. They are mouthpieces and champions of businesses. From the changing face of Google to the reliable Coca Cola signature, graphic design is ever present.