What is GRAPHIC DESIGN?
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
Design is more than a logo. Design is a strategy made visible. - Moira Cullen
According to Kathryn Best, author, entrepreneur, educator and speaker on creativity and design, "Design is both a verb (the process of design), and a noun (the product of design)." “Design” as a noun means an artefact, entity or an image that has significance in terms of beauty (aesthetics), function or purpose (teleology) or meaning (semiotics) while, as a verb, the word “design” denotes activity of making such artefacts or bringing such entities or images into existence.
Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated. - Paul Rand
Most people have a vague idea of what graphic design is and therefore what a graphic designer does; from creating business logos to advertising; however, these are only elements of a much bigger picture. In actual fact, Graphic Design is all around you, from your morning cereal box to a poster or billboard you see on your way from A to B, and even to the process of ordering an Uber. Therefore, it can be said that the process and act of Graphic Design is the merging of creativity with strategy, communication, brand identity and aesthetic, including posters, flyers and brochures, infographics, book covers, product labels and packaging, logos, business cards and office stationery, signs, websites, and so much more.
Design is the silent ambassador of your brand. - Paul Rand
The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), define Graphic Design as the “art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content", communicating certain ideas and/or messages through visual means. Essentially, graphic design is art with a purpose, that involves a creative and systematic plan to solve a problem or achieve certain objectives, with the use of images, symbols and words, an aesthetic expression of concepts and ideas using various graphic elements and tools.
Design is everywhere we look
Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice, and then communicate consistently in those terms. - Simon Mainwaring
Simply put, graphic design is everywhere. Consider the following scenario: You wake up at 6:30 for work and head into the kitchen for some breakfast. You glance through your pantry and grab a box of your favourite cereal. You might not put much thought into it, but the box you choose, was designed by a graphic designer (it’s layout and design elements), so that you can recognize the specific brand/product amongst the numerous choices of cereal at the grocery store/supermarket.
While you eat your breakfast, you read the morning news. You pull up your choice of news app on your tablet, or reach for a magazine or newspaper, all that feature a recognizable logo designed by a graphic designer. If on a digital device, you are brought to the home screen, featuring a user interface (again the layout and design elements were designed by a graphic designer) so you can navigate through the content and find the stories you want to read.
On your way to work, you decide to grab a cup of coffee. You pull into the drive-thru line or walk into your favourite coffee shop and browse the menu (designed by a graphic designer), while the cup and packaging you receive your chosen beverage in was also designed by a graphic designer (maybe just the logo, maybe the packaging design itself). Even the payment method you use, at some point, used the skills of a graphic designer.
Up to this point, before you even get to work, you have already been exposed to a variety of works designed by a graphic designer, and that number only increases throughout the rest of your day; the websites you visit, the mobile apps you use, the products you buy, as well as the world around you, road signs, billboards, advertising etc etc.
Graphic design is truly everywhere, literally everywhere we go and involved in everything we do, from filling our kitchen cabinets to even the tags on the clothes we wear.
It's every where we go
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. - Aristotle
Why? Well, the reality is that the products we buy or places we visit, in some way, contain graphic and typography elements, designed to catch our attention, inviting us to engage (i.e. buy). This process is multifaceted and involves more than just a graphic designer, but the point is, that the very product you buy (or brand - more on that anon) was made by someone, who spent hours creating it, considering many factors, specifically aimed to attract you the customer... and it worked. You now own the product and/or trust and use that particular brand and therefore the graphic designer involved did their job.
So, how? Well, that's a loaded question and involves a lot of research, understanding and application, outlined in the following reference pages, discussing:
the elements and principles of design;
colour theory and understanding;
types of branding;
the history of and hidden meanings in logos;
marketing and advertising;
types of marketing;
typography, typefaces and fonts;
understanding social media; and
graphic design trends.
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