Graphic design is one of those everyday phrases that everyone knows. ‘Oh you’re a graphic designer, that’s nice’ is often heard but do we really know what graphic design is?
Graphic design is a means of conveying information to someone else in a certain way. You could tell people the information, if you’re around, and if they can hear and understand you. But if you are conveying the information visually, then that is called graphic design.
Art and technology are harmoniously combined to create visual images and text to portray the ideas of one person to another. These can even be communicated in a way that appeals to certain people or gives a certain impression while highlighting it.
Examples of graphic design that we see in everyday life are road signs, office memos, subway maps, park regulations, adverts and much, much more. It is the job of the graphic designer to make text or images understandable.
Graphic design is used to create a type of image or even display text in a way that associates an idea with a product. For example, a simple non-nonsense font, strong words, and raw images may instil a strong, powerful feeling in a reader, and the reader then associates the concept of strong and powerful with the product advertised.
Instruction books, guides and textbooks are produced using graphic designers. The way text flows around an image, the uniformity of a font, the layout of the page, the labelling of diagrams are all example of graphic design.
One of the best examples of how graphic designers make things easier and more interesting to read and see is the web. Technology such as Flash animation, together with background colours, fonts and images are all combined in modern websites to convey information in a way, again, that represents the image that the website owner wants to convey.
Design can be purely image based. These are especially powerful in advertising, or to overcome barriers such as language or cultural barriers. In this case, pictures are used to communicate both information and feelings and moods. For example, when you see a picture of an ice-cube, you know it is cold, so you can use that to convey the idea of coldness without having to write it.
This has advantages – strong, clear, interesting, amusing, but some disadvantages too. You can not convey a complicated message using images alone. The image itself must convey a short, strong message.
Designers also use text. But instead of using the meaning of the text to define the message designers can amplify the message through the actual shape of the words themselves. Imagine someone saying ‘speak to me’ in a calm, quiet voice. Now imagine them screaming the words at you. The words are the same but meaning can be made with the way they are delivered to you.
In other words, you have a customer, and you have a client. You probably know what you want to say to your client, but it’s up to graphic designers to have the conduit to pass that message along, in the best way possible.