what is graphic design

Graphic design may immediately remind you of stunning web graphics or creative advertisements. But you must note that graphic design is a vast field that includes the creative designing of magazines, product labels, infographics, business cards, mobile apps, book covers, software interfaces, posters, logos, signs, and website layouts. The list is quite long.

So what is graphic design and how would you describe the field of expertise? But this piece of content would still give you a detailed overview of the subject matter while allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of this creative career option.

What is graphic design? A definition

Graphic design is defined as an art of expressing ideas and experiences using appropriate visuals and texts in a creative manner. In simple terms, graphic design communicates messages visually with visuals assuming various forms such as logos, webpage layouts, posters, book covers, flyers and more. It contains artistic components or design ideas that influence the viewers’ perceptions in a subtle manner.

Graphic design connects businesses with their customers, allowing them to share information related to events, projects, campaigns, or products with their customers. It facilitates product promotion and advertising. It allows people to interpret complicated information easily. It is an integral component of a business’s brand building program.

It is noteworthy to mention that even though graphic design projects are meant to support commercial purposes, but it is also used frequently to reflect artistic pursuits. Graphic designers make use of visual hierarchy and page layout techniques to display typographical and pictorial elements in a creative manner so as to create interactive designs that would address the specific needs of businesses and to generate optimum user experience.

Before we move further into the discussion, let us discuss what is digital graphic design.

8 Types of graphic design provided by designers

There is no single way to define or describe graphic design and we have already mentioned this fact at the beginning of this article. The subject includes within its purview many fields and specializations. It is about generating brand-specific and audience-specific print media and web media graphics.

Thirty years back, the scope of this creative field was limited only to print-outcomes that included movie posters, advertisements, and magazines. This is the era of digital revolution and today, graphic design has undergone transformation and has assumed a digital makeover. Creative outcomes in modern times are shaped by modern technologies. Here are the main types of graphic design, which owe their origin to the digital revolution:

  • Web Design

    web graphics
    Web designers design the overall layout, navigation, and color scheme of websites and their main objective is to create intuitive and engaging webpages.

  • UX Design

    User Experience Design

    Graphic designers, who specialize in creating custom UX designs, ensure that users get a pleasant experience while exploring a website. These designers emphasize value, usability, adaptability and desirability. UX designers combine aesthetics with usability to create easy-to-use website interfaces. They must take into account the information architecture of the interactive designs and the visitors’ visual processing abilities in order to ensure smoother accessibility. Professionals who design UX should ensure that their designs are pleasurable, meaningful, and usable.

  • Motion Graphics Design

    motion graphics design

    Professionals specializing in motion graphics can enliven visual elements by adding special effects and animation. The scope of motion graphics includes movies, TV shows, and video games. Motion graphics can be progressively used by businesses to create impactful ads. Motion graphic designers have the expertise to create animated logos, presentations, tutorial videos, apps, video games, advertisements, title sequences, trailers, presentations, promotional videos, animated banners, GIFs, etc.

  • Branding Design

    branding design

    Branding design is used by businesses to create visual identity as part of their branding initiatives. By using appropriate visual elements, graphic design companies can communicate their brands’ personality, tone, and essence to their customers and can create engaging experiences. Designers who specialize in creating visual identity graphic design collaborate with brand stakeholders to create logos, color palettes, typography, and image libraries. These design assets can be used in diverse media including corporate stationery, business cards, corporate gifts, etc.

  • Promotional Design

    Promotional graphics

    Graphic design is a powerful marketing and advertising tool for businesses. Graphic designers specializing in creating visual marketing content work closely with a company’s owners or the marketing team to create different forms of web media and print media graphics. These professionals are expert at designing various types of marketing collateral such as infographics, postcards, flyers, brochures, presentations, email marketing templates, website and blog-images, vehicle wraps, magazines, signage, social media ads and banners, etc.

  • Publication DesignPrint Designs

    Graphic designers who specialize in publication design work in collaboration with publishers and editors to design layouts of books, catalogs, newspapers, newsletters, directories, magazines, annual reports, etc. These designers are expert at both print publishing and digital publishing, and they can creatively use typography and artwork including illustrations, photos, and graphics to create awe-inspiring layouts.

  • Packaging Design

    packaging design

    Product packaging is an important marketing and branding tool. Packaging designers have thorough knowledge of print and industrial design and they have expertise in creating designs for product labels as well. They are champions at working on other branding assets such as photography, visual identity, and illustrations.

  • Environmental Graphic Design

    vehicle branding

    Environmental graphic design connects people with places and makes spaces more informative, interesting, and engaging. It is interesting to note that wayfinding is a special type of graphic design that combines strategic signage, landmarks and clues to help people find their ways to their destinations. Some of the typical graphic design outcomes are signage, wall murals, public transportation murals, indoor spaces of retail outlets, museum exhibitions, event and conference spaces, etc. As a matter of fact, environmental graphic design is a multidisciplinary field and demands knowledge of interior, architectural, landscape, and industrial design. Designers specializing in environmental design should have knowledge of design and architecture.

Building a Career in Graphic Designing field

With the emergence of new types of digital graphics in response to the technological advancements, we have been witnessing the creation of new career opportunities in this field. This has led to a transformation of the graphic design career landscape. We have noted a fall in demand for the services of traditional graphic designers who primarily create print media graphics. On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that the employment of graphic designers who specialize in digital graphics is expected to increase by 24 percent through 2028. The spur in the demand for digital graphics is attributed to businesses’ additional focus on digital media to boost their digital presence. We frequently come across thousands of job titles that demand a degree in the subject and based on our research and analysis, we have been able to come across the following graphic design jobs title:

  • Multimedia Artist
  • Web Designer
  • Marketing Designer
  • Art Director
  • UX Designer
  • Layout Artist
  • Web Designer
  • Creative Director
  • Brand Identity Designer

Candidates who receive proper training and develop appropriate skills and are passionate about putting their creativity to their best possible use can build a marvelous career in this field.

Best graphic design software and tools to learn as a beginner

There are certain tools that are widely used by graphic designers who specialize in generating digital designs. Before the advent of digital visuals, sketchbooks used to be a graphic designer’s most frequently used tool. Even today, most graphic designers prefer to sketch out their ideas on a piece of paper before they can actually create the design digitally. Today, with the advent of state-of-the-art programs, designers can directly create digital rough sketches and can modify them as per project needs using ground-breaking tools.

These software programs frequently get upgraded to higher versions and so it is important for graphic designers to stay updated about the changes so that they can optimally use the upgraded features to create superior graphics.

  • Adobe Photoshop

    photoshop software

    Photoshop is the most commonly used graphic design software used by professionals. Photoshop comes equipped with advanced photo editing and graphic designing features that support the generation of high-quality digital graphics, photo clipping and masking, color cast removal, etc., which makes the Photoshop an awesome platform for creative designers. However, Photoshop is not an easy-to-use program, which means that novice graphic designers need to get themselves familiar with the software in order to be able to use its advanced features. Photoshop gets upgraded regularly, so professionals need to keep themselves updated about the new features that the new versions bring along.

  •  Illustrator & InDesign

    Adobe Products

    Apart from Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are the other two programs that are commonly used by graphic designers. Adobe InDesign is comparatively easier to use, and a beginner can consider using InDesign to address project needs before finally switching over to the more advanced Photoshop. Artists can satisfactorily use Adobe Illustrator to create stunning artwork that can be used as part of their elaborate creative projects.

  • Canva

    Canva Software

    If you are looking for a free graphic design platform, you may consider exploring the features of Canva. Canva comes with free, unique and customizable templates that can be used across a wide variety of creative projects.

  • GIMP

    GIMP Software

    Similar open-source software is GIMP and it is ideal for beginners who want to learn and master graphic design techniques and are not ready to make an upfront payment for pricey Adobe products.

  • CorelDraw Graphics Suite

    CorelDraw Software

    CorelDraw comes equipped with an easy-to-use interface and advanced features that can be optimally used by professionals. It supports diverse file formats including AutoCAD, SVG, JPG, TIFF, PNG, etc. It features 350 templates, 100 fonts, 500 interactive frames, and 600 gradients and vectors.

  • Sketch

    Sketch Software

    Sketch is a vector based graphic designing tool that is commonly used for app, interface, and web design. It is a low cost alternative and features a library of artboard templates for iOS devices.

At the end of the day, a graphic designer needs ideas and inspirations to create a solid foundation for their designs. It is the concept that matters the most and then it is through the appropriate use of digital designing tools that the concepts can be brought into life. So if you are a design professional who’s looking for new concepts, try looking out around you or search the internet for inspirations.

So what is graphic design in its very essence?

By now, you must have realized that graphic design does not have one-size-fits- all character. You can use graphic design in innumerable ways to address diverse requirements or to create non-commercial outcomes that would inspire others.

Whether you have realized or not, graphic design is all about understanding the emotions of people. Even though graphic design has assumed its present-day digital makeover, it still remains as an application of tried-and-tested principles. Identifying the psychologies of different individuals and delivering designs that relate to their emotions is the key to becoming successful in this field.