It can sound like a silly question but when we introduce ourselves and say what we do, we often get asked: “What is graphic design?”
Well, according to Google, Graphic Design is “the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines or books.” That’s a little too brief for our liking!
So let’s try this out:
First of all graphic design is a combination of two things: one side is GRAPHIC and on the other side is DESIGN.
Graphic is VISUAL. It is associated with art, imagination, expression. It involves many mediums such as drawing, painting, lettering etc. It is something vivid, explicit and expressive.
So the Graphic part of Graphic Design is made up of visual elements.
The basic elements that are combined to create Graphic Design are (but not confined to) lines, colours, shapes, forms, spaces, and typography. These elements are then arranged on a layout to convey an idea.
Now, what is ‘design’?
Design is “to decide upon the look and function of something before it is made”. Design is Thinking. Problem-solving. Practicality.
In Graphic Design there are rules that can be considered, called principles of designs; these principles all work together and appear in every well-designed piece of work you see.
The basic design principles in graphic design are Contrast, Harmony, Balance, Scales, Hierarchy and Function.
So when we bring together the visual elements and the design principle it creates Graphic Design.
Graphic Design isn’t drawing, painting or creating a quick poster or logo on your computer. More importantly, the purpose of graphic design isn’t the aesthetic itself or making things look pretty. It’s way more than that. It is the substance behind the work that makes it valuable. It’s the organisation and presentation of information developed through a creative process for a particular function. In other words, it has to make sense.
Graphic Design is the organisation and presentation of information developed through a creative process for a particular function. In other words, it has to make sense.
It is only once we have a clear and solid idea or concept developed through the design process, that we can then use our skills with layout, colours, typography and creative tools to bring this idea to life.
Some also may say that graphic design is described as two opposing forces: the artistic expression on one side and the practical application (design theory) on the other. As a graphic designer, these two forces will always be at odds with each other in our minds. It’s when we can bring those two forces together with harmony that we can create great visual communication.
Thanks for reading!
We hope this introduction helped you understand what graphic design is about. If there is anything unclear or something you'd like to know more about, please comment or let us know on our social media and we'll do our best to answer you!
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COMING OUT NEXT WEEK:
We will be talking about the difference between BRANDING & IDENTITY.