what do graphic designers (really) do?
Graphic designers combine art + technology to create visual concepts that communicate inspiring, informative & captivating ideas and solutions to their target audience.
A graphic designer’s primary focus is making an organization recognizable by building a brand identity to communicate their message — a task and position that is becoming increasingly important in the marketing and sales world. They tend to work closely with public relations and marketing professionals to better understand how they will effectively communicate the brand’s message.
Here are a few examples of graphic design work:
identity (logo & branding)
interface graphics & elements (social media, websites, apps, eNewsletters & presentations)
print advertisements (newspapers & magazines)
graphic assets for animated videos & cartoons
small print items (business cards, brochures, menus & flyers)
big print items (signs, posters, billboards & banners)
swag (t-shirts, pens, mugs, caps & water bottles)
trade show & event collateral (booths, tablecloths, displays)
Why is Graphic Design Important?
People are mostly visual creatures, we tend to perceive images faster than words. Humans are influenced by colors and shapes, respond to characters and symbols, need prompts and visual hierarchy, and are dependent on emotions and feelings. We sometimes experience information overload due to all of these factors — and graphic design is what makes all the difference.
Core Goals for Graphic Assets:
This aspect deals primarily with branding. The foremost being a brand’s logo, which sets the foundation for a brand strategy. Designers have to consider multiple factors regarding the target audience, laws and rules of artistic harmony, the psychology of color and shape, the impact on human perception and emotions, the current conditions on the market as well as business goals of the brand or company. Moreover, visual images are memorable which enhances brand awareness.
Theme & Mood:
Visual elements, as well as copy, transfer the message and set the tone and voice of communication. It may be reached with a background, typography, composition, color palette, shapes and sizes, or stylistic approaches that inform the user about the product from the first seconds of contact. Visual perception plays a big role in decision-making, especially in cases of introduction: short minutes or even seconds are vital to get the user interested. Graphic designers must also follow popular trends to give the object an up-to-date look, which is an essential factor of trust for many users.
Explanation, Information & Guiding:
This aspect is presented both in print assets and digital interfaces through various tutorials, manuals, tool-tips, guides, etc. A picture is really worth a thousand words: it saves precious time and helps to avoid big (overlooked) copy blocks. Even more, graphics based on a thorough analysis of the target audience turn on the mechanism of empathy and emotional appeal.
Character Boosting Communication:
Personification applied appropriately factors into a positive user experience, strengthens the brand image, and increases brand awareness––hence why mascots and characters often become a part of a design concept and content strategy. This is where graphic designers can show their best. Efficient mascots corresponding to expectations of the target audience provide originality and flow of communication which is closer to natural.
What Tools Do Graphic Designers Use?
Depending on who the graphic designer works for will change the specific tools that they use. The basic hardware will most likely include a desktop monitor, laptop, and a graphics tablet + stylus. For software, there are a myriad of platforms, the most popular being Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
Whether through a college degree, online classes, or self-learning, a graphic designer must be educated on proper techniques and skills to create an effective design. Typically, a designer's method of learning isn’t indicative of their skill set — amazing graphic designers can come from any of these pathways.
What Opportunities Does a Graphic Designer Have?
Graphic design has so many pathways. When a person pursues a career in graphic design, they first choose if they want to work for someone or be self-employed. From there, they develop their personal style and decide what they want to make.
This is where the world of graphic design really opens up. With so many avenues available, creators can focus on one type of design or multiple. For example, some graphic designers focus solely on typography, while others focus on drawing images, logos, and/or illustrations.