Graphic Design 101


Graphic design is as old as art itself. Cave paintings, pottery, and calligraphy are all historic examples of graphic design. However, today’s common concept of graphic design is sleek and modern. In reality, graphic design is both simple and complex, and both high and low tech. Graphic design is crucial to businesses and surrounds us daily, a fact we are often unaware of. So, if you are interested in pursuing a career in graphic design, be sure to check back to this blog in the coming weeks for an insider’s look into the graphic design industry

What exactly is the difference between art and graphic design? Both art and graphic design seek to express emotions, ideals, and other concepts with various materials. Where graphic design breaks away is that graphic designers usually are working for other clients, and must make their designs fit certain parameters. For example, say an artist and a graphic designer are both inspired to create a piece inspired by love. The artist may layer paint to create an uneven surface or they may text that is visible only when the viewer is close to the piece.

The graphic designer may start out knowing that their client is running an ad campaign for Valentine’s Day. They may have agreed to use a limited color palette, to incorporate hearts, and to create a piece that looks good sized to fit either a stamp or a billboard. Both pieces would be both art and graphic design, but only one would be useful for the client’s needs.

As with any industry, ethics are an important consideration. For example, a movie poster for the 2015 film Legend was released with reviews in the background. It’s not uncommon for studios to release such posters to hype up movies, However, a two-star review was hidden in plain sight amongst better reviews.

Another example of unethical use of art is graffiti. Graffiti, like many graphic designs, can convey a broad idea within a relatively simple image. Principles that make “good” graffiti also apply to effective graphic design and advertising. Graffiti does not advertise for businesses and usually carries political statements and brings attention to the artist.

If you are interested in graphic design as a career, start examining the art around you. Look in magazines, t-shirts, and music and book covers. Start examining what the graphic designer was trying to convey, and then look at the design itself. Is the design easy to understand? Is it easily reproduced? Does it resemble another logo? This is the first step to thinking like a graphic designer. For more on graphic design education and industry statistics, make sure to check back in next week here at ABR Print.