By: Ethan Tran
What Is Graphic Design?
Graphic design, also known as communication design, is the art and practice of planning and showing ideas and experiences with visual and text content. The form of the communication can be realistic or digital, and may include pictures, words, or graphic forms. The experience can take place quickly or over a long time. The work can happen at any range, from the design of a single postage stamp to a national postal signage system, or from a company’s digital avatar to the sprawling and interlinked digital and realistic content of an international newspaper. It can also be for any purpose, whether commercial, educational, cultural, or political.(1)
Design that’s meant to be experienced very quickly is the easiest to recognize and has been around the longest. For over a hundred years, designers have arranged type, forms, and pictures on posters, advertisements, packages, and other printed products, as well as information visualizations and graphics for newspapers and magazines. Motion graphics are equally predetermined and crafted, but are meant to be experienced over an average time span, such as for the opening credits of a movie or an online video meant to follow a newspaper article.(1)
The design of books and magazines also has a long history. Whether realistic or digital, these are objects that are meant to be enjoyed over time, during which the reader has control over the rate and arrangement of the experience. In books, the content usually comes before the design, while in magazines, the design is a structure that anticipates written and visual content that hasn’t yet been created. Some commercial websites or advertisement catalogues also fit in this category, as do digital or physical museum displays that show information that doesn’t change. All have fixed content, but the reader determines their own path through the material.(1)
What was the first version of graphic design?
While the creation of text led to high points in graphic design, the art and practice of graphic design truly blossomed with the evolution of printmaking tech such as movable type. Ancestry of these evolutions occurred in China, where the use of wood block, or relief printing, was created perhaps as early as the 6th century CE (the common era ). This process, which was accomplished by applying ink to a raised carved surface, allowed multiple copies of texts and images to be made quickly and economically. The Chinese also made paper from organic fibers by 105 CE. This paper provided a more efficient surface for writing or printing. Other substrates, like parchment and papyrus, were less sufficient and more expensive to make than paper.(2)
What Types Of Graphic Design Are There?
The first path Graphic Designers can follow is editorial design. This field requires a high profession in designing plus being an InDesign master. If you’re good at choosing the best typography for a book and you’re good in making lots of words fit into a single page in a clear and presentable way, then this is your area. You don’t have to be perfect at drawing or even a Photoshop master, this is easy and basic graphic design, knowing how to organize a series of details, making them look good and easy to read. People who decide to work on this area will find themselves working for publishing companies, magazines, printing firms or why not, freelance.(3)
The newest area of the list, many graphic designers are turning to computer and tech design due to the high demand that this has now. If you want to be a computer/tech designer, then you need to be sharp on Photoshop, Illustrator and know about usability, also you need to have a good level of knowledge and be familiar with the big idea of Web Standards. If you want to work on this area, then start advertising agencies, website developing firms and just about any company that are willing to venture into the web will be the places where you will find a job.(3)
No matter what type of graphic designer you are, we all have a certain level of joy for photography. Although most of graphic designers have photography as part of their lives and eventually mix it with their works, it’s not usual to see a graphic designer fully devoted to this area. Having a graphic design degree gives you all the basic tools to help you become a photographer, which includes color theory, formation, light management and more. Probably you’ll need to get familiar with all the professional equipment, other than that, any graphic designer can pursue a career in Photography, either working solo, for a magazine/newspaper or as part of a Design agency.(3)
3D Design / Animation
Before computer/tech design reached its hype, this was the trendiest area for graphic design newcomers. Many people I’ve known have told me that they began studying Graphic Design with the hope of one day become a famous video game artist, which means, making a career in 3D and Animation. Although you don’t have to be as creative as an illustrator, if you want to work as a 3D designer or animator, it’s important to have good creativity and technical skills, programs such as Maya, After Effects, 3D Max and Adobe Flash will become part of your toolbox. As for the job, you have better odds if you travel to other countries outside Latin America, still, the 3D/animation industry has been rising in recent years, and so you can always find a job at a video games company, a design agency or as an independent artist.(3)
If there’s one area that you’re prepared to face after getting your graphic design degree, it is definitely corporative design. This area combines all the things you have learned in college as you need to be able to develop strategies, digital products, print elements, logo designs, identity manuals and more. This is definitely one of the nicest areas where a graphic designer can work. You don’t need to be an expert on any kind of software, you just need to have good communication skills, a good understanding of the client’s needs and the ability of sending an idea through the image. Finding a job on this area means working for the most important design agencies or becoming part of an in-house team that handles all the image of a company.(3)
As you continue to grow as graphic designer, you will be acquiring new knowledge and skills that will set you apart from newer graduates. It can be a good idea to start your own design blog as way to share the things you've learned as well as make new connections. It can be difficult to build a career as a design blogger, but still, it can be a good way to improve your writing skills, discover new people on the field and keep track of the things you've learned.(3)
What would life be like without graphic design?
I think a life without graphic design would not be a good one. There wouldn't be shapes, picture books, movies, TV shows, graphic novels, artwork, cameras, patterns, posters, or computers. None of this would exist without graphic design because graphic design could be a computer drawing or a simple shape. Graphic design could be a pattern or a movie. Graphic design could be anything that is a picture or words in an organized style. All show examples of graphic design. Graphic design, one way or another fuels our happiness, imagination, and dreams.