Graphic design is the art of communication, stylizing, and problem-solving through the use of type, space and image. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term “graphic design” is used interchangeably with these due to overlapping skills involved. Graphic designers use various methods to create and combine words, symbols, and images to create a visual representation of ideas and messages. A graphic designer may use a combination of typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to produce a final result. Graphic design often refers to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated.
Common uses of graphic design include identity (logos and branding), publications (magazines, newspapers and books), print advertisements, posters, billboards, website graphics and elements, signs and product packaging. For example, a product package might include a logo or other artwork, organized text and pure design elements such as images, shapes and color which unify the piece. Composition is one of the most important features of graphic design, especially when using pre-existing materials or diverse elements. Graphic design uses the elements and principles of design to achieve communication objectives and Stebbing suggests that these represent a type of “visual grammar” Effective application of the elements and principles of design ensure that graphic design can achieve a high ‘signal-to-noise’ ratio in the visually cluttered 21st century.
Main article: User interface design
Since the advent of the World Wide Web and computer software development, many graphic designers have become involved in interface design, in an environment commonly referred to as a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This has included web design and software design, when end user interactivity is a design consideration of the layout or interface. Combining visual communication skills with the interactive communication skills of user interaction and online branding, graphic designers often work with software developers and web developers to create both the look and feel of a web site or software application and enhance the interactive experience of the user or web site visitor. An important aspect of interface design is icon design.
User experience design
User experience design considers how a user interacts with and responds to an interface, service or product and adjusts it accordingly.
Experiential graphic design
Experiential graphic design is the application of communication skills to the build environment. This area of graphic design requires practitioners to possess knowledge of creating large scale physical installations which have to be manufactured and withstand the same sort of environmental conditions as buildings. As such, it is a cross-disciplinary collaborative process involving designers, fabricators, city planners, architects, manufacturers and large project building teams.
Experiential graphic designers try to solve problems that people encounter while interacting with buildings and space. Examples of practice areas for environmental graphic designers are way finding, place making, branded environments, exhibitions and museum displays, public installations and digital environments.
Graphic design career paths cover all ends of the creative spectrum and often overlap. Employment within Graphic Design involves workers performing specialized tasks, such as design services, publishing, advertising, and public relations, while receiving a median pay of $44,150.000 per year. The main job responsibility of a Graphic Designer is the arrangement of visual elements in some type of media. The main job titles within the industry can vary and are often country specific. They can include graphic designer, art director, creative director, animator and the entry level production artist. Depending on the industry served, the responsibilities may have different titles such as “DTP Associate” or “Graphic Artist”, but despite changes in title, graphic design principles remain consistent. The responsibilities may come from, or lead to, specialized skills such as illustration, photography, animation or interactive design. Today’s graduating graphic design students are normally exposed to all of these areas of graphic design and urged to become familiar with all of them as well in order to be competitive. Graphic designers will face strong competition when applying for positions, in which organizations are looking for candidates with convincing talents and a college-level education; field requirements consist of having strong portfolio and a Bachelor’s degree. Due to the increase in technology, employment rates within computer systems design are expecting a 35% increase, while traditional designs, such as publications, are facing slower rates of 16% or less.
Graphic designers can work in a variety of environments. Whilst many will work within companies devoted specifically to the industry, such as design consultancies or branding agencies, others may work within publishing, marketing or other communications companies. Increasingly, especially since the introduction of personal computers to the industry, many graphic designers have found themselves working within non-design oriented organizations, as in-house designers. Graphic designers may also work as free-lance designers, working on their own terms, prices, ideas, etc.
A graphic designer reports to the art director, creative director or senior media creative. As a designer becomes more senior, they may spend less time designing media and more time leading and directing other designers on broader creative activities, such as brand development and corporate identity development. They are often expected to interact more directly with clients, for example taking and interpreting briefs.