According to the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), graphic design is defined as the “art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.” In other terms, graphic design communicates certain ideas or messages through visuals. These visuals can be as simple as a business logo, or as complex as pages of web design.
“Graphic design takes graphical and textual elements and implements them into multiple types of media,” says Alexandros Clufetos, creative designer at Vertex Innovations. “It helps the producer connect with the consumer. It conveys the message of the project, event, campaign or product.”
Graphic design can be used by companies to promote and sell products through advertising, by websites to convey complicated information in a clear way through infographics, or by businesses to develop an identity through branding, among other things.
“Every day, we take many of the subtly artistic things around us for granted. But hidden in every magazine corner, exit sign or textbook lies a set of design ideas that influence our perceptions,” says Jacob Smith, founder of illustration studio ProductViz.
It’s also important to remember that although many graphic design projects have commercial purposes like advertisements and logos, graphic design is used in other contexts and graphic design work is often created purely as a means for artistic expression.
To better understand graphic design, it is important to have an understanding of the elements and principals that make up design. These elements include:
These elements are used in conjunction or opposition with each other to create visually striking and impactful designs. Graphic designers also use principals of design, which include balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety and unity. Understanding how and when to use these elements and principals are essential to good design.
As mentioned earlier, graphic design isn’t a catch-all term. Graphic design is composed of many fields and specializations, ranging from print design to web design to animation and motion graphics. Graphic design offers opportunities and options for almost any interest.
One of the most popular and fast-growing specialties is web design. Web designers are tasked with creating easy-to-use, yet visually pleasing pages for websites. They are also responsible for making sites accessible and adaptive to different kinds of devices. As more and more businesses move online, web designers are needed to create compelling sites for consumer use.
If web design isn’t quite your thing, there are many more options. Animators, for instance, create special effects, TV shows, video games and movies. Mobile designers collaborate with programmers to create and design usable, visually appealing apps. Multimedia designers work with sounds, pictures, videos, graphics and more. So no matter where your interests lay—in print, web, video or beyond—graphic design may have a specialization for you.
Now that you know what type of jobs and specializations are out there, you can begin by obtaining the right tools to get started. One of the first, and most inexpensive, tools you can get to try your hand at graphic design is a sketchbook. Graphic designers will often sketch out ideas or rough drafts on paper before turning to a computer to complete the process.
That being said, computers and design software are essentials in today’s digital climate, even if you are designing for print. The type of computer you need is based on preference, but when it comes to software, Adobe products such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are mainstays in the graphic design world. If you are just beginning and don’t want to commit to the high price tag Adobe products often carry, free open-source software such as GIMP can help you master the basics.
Lastly, ideas and inspiration are what a graphic designer needs most. “You need to have a solid concept serving as the foundation of your design and communication,” says Chad Birenbaum, co-founder of Duckpin Design. “This concept and idea needs to work on paper first and then the computer should be used as a tool to bring the concept to life.” Graphic designers get inspiration from the world around them, so if you are worried you aren’t creative enough, go outside, bounce ideas off your peers or seek ideas from the internet.
Contact us at the The Roof WP office nearest to you or submit a business inquiry onlineContact Us