When it comes to Graphic Design and describing what it covers, the main things people talk about are logos, business cards, brochures and websites and that’s about it. However, we can promise you that there’s so much more to it than that.
We are constantly surrounded by Graphic Design in our everyday life (see our video what is graphic design). It’s a field that includes a variety of areas such as identity (also called visual identity), visual communications (flyers, posters, adverts), and also packaging and publishing.
Graphic Design is an essential key to affirming the existence of a brand, product or packaging by boosting its communication. The aim of graphic design for a brand or business is to create visual communication that will easily catch the eye of the audience or customer, and help to give it meaning. The objective is to ensure that whatever is created is visible, comprehensible and memorable.
Through design and typography, graphic designers create the visual language. This is their expertise and they do this using codes, colours and symbols, to provide a conceptual and strategic solution to their client’s concerns, goals and needs.
IDENTITY or VISUAL IDENTITY
As we expressed previously (see our post explaining the difference between branding and identity), visual identity is the graphic expression of the branding of a company, including their values, activity and ambitions. The aim of a brand’s visual identity is to be immediately recognisable and it’s to be carried through in every single piece of communication the company rolls out.
The visual identity is a vital part of a brand’s marketing strategy. It is generally created once the branding of the business is defined, to help ensure that the message is clear and consistent. It defines the graphic guidelines that will be applied to all of the communication assets of the brand.
When created, the visual identity is generally delivered as a set of “brand guidelines”. This is often in the form of a booklet, which includes all of the branding and visual identity rules to apply to all communications. It also tends to include examples of how to use it, and the do’s and the don’t’s. It covers all types of collateral: letterheads, cards, envelopes, building, signages, etc.
The art of creating packaging is to be able to bring all the intrinsic qualities of a product into a visual message. In retail it is often a brand’s leading medium. Curiosity and a deep knowledge of the everyday fast-moving environment are the inherent qualities required to create effective packing design.
Even though some might claim that print is dead, the publishing industry is one of the most prolific in the world. Books, brochures, pamphlets, leaflets, user manuals, corporate or general public newsletters, annual reports - you name it, they still print it. Could you imagine a world with no composition nor layout and only one font? Graphic designers work on page layout, choice of typography and iconography, creating a path for the reader to appreciate and understand the information they are processing. With publishing, Graphic Designers also make a significant contribution when it comes to the production process from choosing the paper through to binding and printing techniques. Style, flow, readability and clarity of information are the watchwords of Editorial Design.
But all of the above wouldn’t be able to happen without ART DIRECTION.
Art direction is the art of creating and leading the vision of a project in the right direction so any collaborator can understand it, work with and for it, to make the project a success. It’s a very important ability to understand the problems that need to be solved, find effective and relevant solutions, and put all this into a brief that will be followed for the completion of the final artwork.
Of course you might ask us “What about Web? Digital? Mobile?”
Yes, the world of media has become mobile, interactive, multi channelled and customised. With the predominance of smartphones and internet these media create new modes of conception for the end user. It creates a multiplicity of possible platforms to create bi-lateral and interpersonal relationships between brands and customers. The revolution has happened and it continues to evolve. This requires new approaches, new ways of thinking, and the communication to become more flexible, more creative, more efficient and more precise.
WEB AND DIGITAL (APP) DESIGN
The website has become one of the most important strategic points in communication. Web and digital design are now vital for brands. The aim of web design is to define ergonomic navigation and page organisation. It’s about conceptualising and creating interfaces, taking in consideration the specific approach of the end and target user.
When web designing, we create the website’s visual identity (in accordance with the brand visual identity), develop layout and then set out the style guidelines. Web designing is art directing a website - defining the style using the most advanced and appropriate technology for the project.
Creative and innovative web design has to work with UX design (user experience). This requires understanding users’ attention, understanding codes of behaviors, social networks and so on.
Disclaimer: Web and digital designers aren’t web and app developers, this is often a mistake that companies make when hiring a designer with the assumption they can not only design but also produce an entire bespoke website or application. This must be taken into consideration and be announced when first meeting with designers. It will often happen that designers have a large network and will be able to provide a developer to actually build the app or the website and take them on board for the creation of the project.
You might think that TV adverts have been and gone, but on-demand video content is replacing it. Nowadays consumers don’t want to be told anymore that “this is the best product, you need it and look how shiny it is”. They simply don’t believe that anymore. They also don’t want to have pop-up videos appearing when they are trying to look at something.
They want to be able to look for your product, see how it works and make their own decision if they think they need it or not. That’s why so many “how-to” online videos are on the rise. Just as companies are trying to solve problems through graphic design, customers are looking for products that will solve their problems. You’re not selling products anymore, you’re selling solutions.
This is why we believe online video content is only going to continue to be on the rise when it comes to communicating a brand, a company or a product.
Per se, the work of graphic designers will consist of creating a ”channel identity”, adapting to consumer behaviour and always aiming to present and represent the brand through its branding and styling rules defined at the creation of a business.
Thanks for reading! We hope this will have helped you understand what graphic design can do for you (if you didn't know it already!) Let us know in the comment section what you learnt from this blog post and if you'd like to know more about one area in particular!
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