Graphic design is described as “the art and practice of designing and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual information” by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).
In other words, graphic design uses images to convey specific concepts or thoughts. These images might be as straightforward as a company logo or as intricate as website page designs. Since there isn’t just one way to accomplish it, there are various forms of graphic design, each with a distinct area of specialization.
Many designers specialize in a single type, while others focus on related types of design. However, as the industry is constantly changing, it’s good to understand the different types of graphic design to find the right skills for the job.
Here’s what’s covered in this article:
What is a graphic designer?
A graphic designer is a visual communicator who uses images, words, or graphics to communicate ideas in order to inspire, inform, or captivate consumers.
They ensure that their designs accurately reflect the desired message and effectively express information through constant communication with clients, customers, and other designers.
What does a graphic designer do?
A graphic designer uses various forms of technology to create useful, meaningful, and functional visuals.
The work is largely determined by the needs of the client or company, but general designer responsibilities may include creating visual assets to support a marketing campaign, developing a graphic overlay for social media posts, formalizing the layout for a print ad, and retouching photos for digital signage.
Graphic designers produce designs and layouts for the following purposes:
- Identity of the company's brand (logos, typography, and color palettes)
- App and website user interfaces
- Books, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of media
- Packaging for a product
- Commercials and advertisements
- Store, transportation, stadium, and event space signage
- Computer games
Types of graphic design
Here are the most common types of graphic design that a brand may use frequently or on a daily basis.
1. Visual identity graphic design
A brand's visual identity is made up of a variety of visual components that serve to represent and distinguish it.
It specifically refers to any observable elements, like a logo or brand colors, that aid consumers in recognizing a brand and helps increase brand identification by combining all of the branding elements into one style.
Image source: Agi Amri
Visual identity graphic designers work with brand stakeholders to develop assets like logos, typography, color schemes, and image libraries that convey the essence of a business.
They frequently create a collection of visual brand standards (style guides), which outline best practices in addition to the conventional business cards and corporate stationery.
Plus, they offer examples of visual branding used across many media to help maintain brand consistency across all upcoming applications.
2. Advertising and marketing graphic design
Marketing graphic design is the combination of marketing and design. Its goal is to create interest in your brand and effectively advertise your products and services.
But why are marketing and design combined?
People are more likely to respond to great marketing if it appeals to their goals, needs, and level of satisfaction.
And the best way to communicate this to your consumers is to employ creative graphic design as it helps make your promotional content more interesting through visuals.
Image source: Sundayrain
Marketing designers collaborate with business owners, directors, managers, or other marketing specialists to produce materials for marketing plans. They might operate independently or as a member of a creative or internal team.
They also have the option of specializing in one particular form of media (such as vehicle wraps or magazine ads) or producing a wide range of print, digital, and other collateral.
3. UI graphic design
The way a user interacts with a tool or application is called the user interface, or UI. UI design is the process of creating interfaces that are simple to use and offer a pleasant user experience.
The screen, keyboard, and mouse are all components of a user interface (UI), but in the context of graphic design, UI design focuses on the user's visual experience and the design of on-screen graphic elements including buttons, menus, micro-interactions, and more.
Image source: masiko
A UI designer's responsibility is to strike a balance between aesthetically pleasing design and technological use.
UI designers specialize in desktop apps, mobile apps, online apps, and games. They collaborate closely with UI (user interface) developers and UX (user experience) designers, who decide how the program will function (who write code to make it work).
Some examples of user interface design include web page design, theme design, game interfaces, and app design.
4. Publication graphic design
Publications are lengthy works that reach an audience through widespread dissemination. Historically, they have been a print medium which consisted of books, newspapers, magazines and catalogs.
However, there has been a significant rise in digital publishing, so there’s also an increase in ebooks and online reports that people can view on an electronic device.
Image source: shwin
So, graphic designers with a focus on publishing collaborate with editors and publishers to develop layouts with carefully chosen typography and supplementary artwork, which may include photography, graphics, and illustrations.
Publication designers typically operate as inside employees of publishing companies. But they might also operate as independent contractors or freelancers.
5. Packaging graphic design
For storage, delivery, and sale, the majority of things need to be packaged in some way to safeguard them. However, packaging design also speaks to customers directly and persuades them to purchase a product, making it a very effective marketing tool.
Therefore, packaging design calls for in-depth knowledge of industrial design and manufacturing as well as specialist knowledge of print techniques. This is where packaging designers come in.
Image source: monostudio
They help conceptualize a concept, develop mockups, and create print-ready files for packaging.
Conceptualization, development of mockups, and creation of print-ready files are all tasks performed by packaging designers.
Because packaging design crosses so many fields, designers also frequently find themselves producing additional materials for a product, such as photography, illustrations, and visual identity.
6. Motion graphics design
Motion graphics are simply visuals that are in motion. Animation, music, typography, graphics, video, and other effects used in internet media, television, and film can be categorized under this.
This medium's appeal has soared recently as technology became more advanced and video content became the norm.
So, graphic design has added a new speciality called motion graphics design which includes creating animated videos for:
- Video games
7. Environmental design
Environmental graphic design visually connects individuals to places and enhances their overall experience by making areas more memorable, fascinating, educational, or simple to navigate.
Image source: G2
Here are a few examples of environmental design:
- Wall murals
- Museum exhibitions
- Office branding
- Public transportation navigation
- Retail store interiors
- Stadium branding
- Event and conference spaces
As the design industry evolves the graphic design industry has become varied and split into distinct areas that serve different purposes.
Although it’s not necessary that a graphic designer specializes in all the areas, it’s good to have a general idea about them as it’ll help them upskill and gain the right skills.
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