When you think of graphic design, what comes to mind? In the digital age, graphic design is seen almost everywhere, on everything from cereal boxes to billboards to smartphone apps. What is graphic design? We‘ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you learn more about graphic design and how it transformed into what it is today.
What is graphic design?
Graphic design is the process of creating visual content that helps communicate a message to an audience. Through a combination of different elements and principles, these designs can influence our perceptions and emotions. Through the use of graphic design tools, they bring visual thoughts to life and use text, graphics, and images to engage or inform consumers. One method for businesses to engage their customers is through graphic design. Design can be used to advertise and sell products, convey a message or develop a brand identity.
An overview of the term “graphic design”
Graphic design is not just a new-age thing. In fact, graphic design has been around for thousands of years and has changed dramatically throughout the years. Graphic design can be traced back to 15,000 BC when visual communication was first known. These hieroglyphs and symbols are present in the Lascaux caves in southern France. The idea of printing originated with the discovery of paper in 105 AD by a Chinese man. The Industrial Revolution took place in the 1760s and ushered in a new age for graphic design. Innovative technologies began to emerge at an unprecedented rate; including lithography, which is a printing technique that reduces costs.
Since the days of the Industrial Revolution, graphic design has easily entered the business, and in the 1900s its use became widespread. With the growth of the advertising and color printing industries, businesses started creating logos to help brand their companies. As computer technology was invented and released in the late 1900s, designers began to use digital tools- such as Photoshop, first released in 1990- to create shapes in their photos.
These digital tools have revolutionized the field. Today, graphic design mainly refers to the design of images for magazines, books, advertisements and digital posters. Graphic design has been around for quite some time, but when we look at it today in the business world, it’s only been around for about a hundred years.
Types of graphic design
Over time, graphic design has become quite diverse. Some types of graphic design include:
Visual identity graphic design
The focus of the graphic design is on a brand’s visual components. It aims to convey brand identity through images, shapes and colors. Graphic designers in this field create elements such as logos, typography, color palettes, and image libraries that represent a brand.
Marketing and Advertising Design
Probably one of the most widely known types of graphic design: are marketing and advertising. When most people think of graphic design, they most likely think of marketing and advertising design. This can involve print advertising, such as posters, billboards, flyers, catalogs and packaging, or digital advertising, such as television, video or post ads on social networks.
Web design deals with the planning and construction of the look, layout, structure, and design of a website. It focuses on the face-to-face aspects of a website, including the user experience. While web design isn’t necessarily a type of graphic design, graphic design is an element of web design, so it’s worth mentioning here.
Packaging not only protects the product but is also an important marketing tool. Packaging graphic designers need to keep an eye on trends and competitors so they can create packaging that stands out to consumers and ensures successful product marketing.
This design focuses on creating layouts and choosing typography and artwork, including photography, graphics, and illustrations. Graphic designers in this field work with books, newspapers, magazines, and catalogs. They must comprehend print, digital, and color management.
Motion graphic design is a subset of graphic design and it’s exactly what the name implies: graphics in motion. This can include animations, video games, apps, GIFs, website features, and more. This is still a somewhat new area in graphic design and is growing rapidly with increasing demand.
Environmental graphic design
Environmental graphic design is a multidisciplinary activity that combines graphic, architecture, interior, landscape and industrial design. These designers typically come from backgrounds in architecture and graphic design. Architecture, traffic signs, signage, event spaces, and murals are all examples of environmental design.
Popular graphic design tool
One of the most basic and least expensive tools that designers use is a sketchbook. Graphic designers will often sketch ideas or rough drafts on paper before turning to a computer to complete the process. That being said, computers and design software are essential in today’s digital environment, even if you’re designing for print. The type of computer you need depends on preference, but when it comes to software, Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are mainstays in the graphic design world.
If you’re just getting started and don’t want to commit to the high prices that Adobe products often carry, free, open-source software similar to GIMP can help you get started with mastering the basics. These tools have enhanced the creative process by allowing designers to explore ideas and achieve designs faster instead of designing entirely by hand.
What are the Elements and Principles of Graphic Design?
- Line: Lines are present in almost any design, whether they are straight, curved, thin, thick, dashed, long or short. They are useful to divide the space as well as direct the viewer’s attention in a particular direction.
- Shape: Shapes can be circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, or other abstract forms. Most designs contain at least one shape.
- Color: The most significant and evident component of a design is probably color. It can make an immediate impact and get noticed by everyone, even those without a design background. Color contributes to emotions and moods.
- Texture: Textures are increasingly being used as an alternative to monochrome backgrounds. Textures can be seen in paper, stone, concrete, brick, and fabric. They could be used infrequently or frequently, subtly or blatantly.
- Space: Space refers to areas of the design that are left empty. These areas include any gaps or areas between, around, below, or above other design elements.
- Size: Simply put, size refers to how big or tiny something is. In design, size is used to convey the importance and can add aesthetic attention to a piece of work.
Principles of Graphic Design
Design principles suggest how designers should best arrange different elements of a page layout to ensure elements of the overall design are connected. Use symmetry and asymmetry to achieve visual balance in graphic design. Balance is important because it gives structure and stability to a design. All aspects of the design must be aligned with the top, bottom, center, or sides to create a visual connection between the elements. Besides, the design should also create closeness between the elements. Note the use of contrast to emphasize certain aspects of the design, highlighting the key elements of the design that you want to stand out.
Graphic design process
- Step 1- Define the project: This includes understanding the client’s needs and goals, the target audience, and the scope of the project.
- Step 2- Research: This may involve gathering information about the client, the industry, and the target audience, as well as looking at design trends and competitors.
- Step 3- Concept development: The designer creates rough ideas or concepts for the design. These may be sketches or digital mock-ups.
- Step 4- Design: The designer creates a detailed design based on the chosen concept. This could entail picking out colors, typefaces, and other design components.
- Step 5- Refine and finalize: The designer reviews and refines the design, making any necessary changes. The designer presents the final design to the client for review and feedback.
- Step 6- Production: If the design is approved, the designer prepares the files for production, whether that means printing the design or preparing it for the web.
- Step 7- Evaluation: The designer evaluates the success of the design and may gather feedback from the client and target audience.
Benefits of Graphic Design
Having a Graphic Designer create or choose the right logo, image, graphic or layout for your creative materials will create visual consistency for your company across all the different channels the company uses to interact with customers.
Good graphic design will make a company more visible in the market, which in turn will help increase sales. Given the link between smart graphic design and concerns like usability and user experience, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that graphic design alone has a big influence on the behavior of customers.
In addition to establishing your brand, graphic design is an important tool for telling your target audience what you want them to hear. A single photo or text can’t convey all that good graphics can, so it’s the Graphic Designer’s job to figure out how to create creative materials that resonate emotionally.
It’s critical that you not only comprehend graphic design but also incorporate it into your business because it has a significant impact on how customers connect with, perceive, and experience your brand. me. In addition, graphic design’s elements and concepts are used to express precise messages, create brand identification, engage the target audience, and improve usability- all of which are essential for your organization to not only survive but also prosper.