What Is Graphic Design?

brochure designMany new business people initially believe that graphic design is only about a brochure design or a logo design, but graphics involve much more.

Design is visual and an essential part of everyday life, especially now with the Internet’s trend toward more visuals.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, you can see how graphic design plays a vital role. Here’s a small example what people do with graphic design.

1. show visitors the way to a business
2. communicate a social ideal
3. enable voters to vote
4. motivate people to join an organization
5. help travelers find their way through a crowded airport
6. advertise a product or service
7. draw attention to the copy

Good graphic design communicates. But that’s far from all.

Graphic Design is Art

Many see graphic design as art. It is. The ability to see an image in your head and duplicate it for all to see — takes talent. In fact, it takes a lot more than talent to bring that vision to life.

A graphic designer combines the heart of creativity with skill and the ability to communicate. Yes. It’s part talent, part skill and part communication. In that regard, design is an offset of marketing.

The Designer is a Marketer

Offline and online, the graphic designer must understand the audience-centered approach of marketing before beginning to create effective visuals that draw attention to the copy message. Unlike fine art, graphic design is always focused on the target audience.

Graphic design is different than simply “making things look pretty.” Graphic design uses color, type fonts and layout to communicate a message that can be instantly understood.

To accomplish this, designers start by evaluating the target market. Whose going to see the visual? They consider the age, gender, education, income, marital status, buying habits and any other known demographics and psychographics. Graphic designers review the information to understand the person who eventually sees the visual they create.

Designers investigate the likes and dislikes of the target market. Also, if the target market is new moms, the designer looks through baby magazines, ads and products to study their visual vocabulary so to speak. They study elements such as color preferences, shapes that appeal, typefaces that appear easy to read, and examples of page layout and composition. These steps are fundamental for an experienced designer.

Design based on this understanding of the target market has a highly successful outcome. Doing less is designing in an empty space.

Graphic Design Talks to People

It’s said that fine art speaks to people. It’s the same with graphic design. Design is a language. It sends a message. Not understanding those who will see the design is like designing without knowing the language of the viewer. Have you ever tried to say something to someone who doesn’t speak your language? All you get is a blank stare. Huh?

Graphic Design is Technical

In addition to a grounding in art, creative talent and marketing knowledge, the very best graphic designers also build an extensive body of technical knowledge. The top graphic specialists have an intimate knowledge of paper stocks, print press inks, bindery processes such as embossing, foil-stamping and die-cutting.

Graphics for the Digital World

Great designers combine their printing process know-how with digital file preparation, quality control and troubleshooting. But that’s not all.

A top designer today is an advanced master of software applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign. These artisans also have to know technical solutions like image resolution, aspect ratio and what sizes and weights work best for print and for the Web.

Not to overstate the knowledge a designer needs, these artists must be good students and educators, as well.

Graphic design touches any product that’s “ink-on-paper” such as brochures, logos, book jackets, signage, packaging, direct mail, catalogs, bumper stickers, newspapers.

Design plays an enormous role in the digital world. What would websites and blogs look like without graphic design? Who wants to look at a text-only online advertisement or PDFs such as digital reports and ebooks with pages of text without a design element. No graphic design means no viewers.

Front end software involves design. Every ecommerce store such as Amazon and Ebay wouldn’t be very successful online without a talented designer bringing the vision to life for visitors.

Each medium has its own technical considerations, and the graphic designer must master all of them in order to achieve the intended affect.

Design combines all these creative, technical and research skills. When you hire a graphic designer, you hire a professional with the talent, knowledge and sophisticated skills that enhance your ability to connect with your target market and meet your business goals.

No matter what graphic design you need, or who you choose to design a project for you, do not skimp. An effective graphic design translates into money for your business.

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Category: Design

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Dan Marx

About the Author

Award-winning creative professional. Highly skilled at graphic design, art and photo direction, concept and copy editing, print production, quality control and cost containment. Specializes in design marketing.

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