You may thank a graphic designer if you’ve ever noticed a billboard, utilised a subway map, or liked an online infographic. Graphic design is a vast discipline with several applications. It is all about developing visual elements to transmit information to a specific audience. Graphic design abilities are crucial in the age of ecommerce, since strong graphic design work may set your brand apart from the competition.
Here’s an overview of graphic design and some common tools for creating your own graphics.
What is graphic design?
Graphic design is the practise of generating visual information to convey a certain message to a specific audience. It is used in advertising, branding, print and digital media, product packaging, web development, and other fields.
Graphic designers generally employ software programmes to create attractive visual assets, whether they’re working on print magazine adverts, product labels, or internet layouts. Graphic designers may help a firm build a unified brand identity and communicate that identity to its customers by using carefully chosen colours, imagery, typography, and other aspects.
8 types of graphic design
Graphic designers are in charge of a wide range of print and digital projects. The following are the eight most frequent forms of graphic design:
- Branding design
- UX design
- UI design
- Environmental design
- Information design
- Marketing and/or advertising design
- Packaging design
- Print design
1. Branding design
Brand graphic designers contribute to the visual identity of a company by selecting colours, typefaces, iconography, and imaging style. They may also create logos and brand assets such as artwork, simple infographics, and other materials. Branding design is normally reserved for senior-level graphic designers.
2. UX design
User experience (or UX) design is concerned with how a user navigates a platform, which is often a website, landing page, or app. They take into account the content hierarchy, user expectations, the entire user experience, and, of course, visual components. They collaborate closely with product managers and engineers, taking into account the technical consequences of their designs (for example, page load speeds). Overall, UX designers consider how to create digital experiences that are simple and straightforward to use.
3. UI design
User interface design (or UI design) is a subset of UX design that includes designing the minute visual aspects that allow humans to interact with digital surfaces. By making interfaces such as websites, landing pages, and applications simple, aesthetically appealing, and effective, UI design seeks to promote a favourable user experience. While UX designers are concerned with the whole experience, UI designers are primarily concerned with aspects such as icons, buttons, typography, and menus.
4. Environmental design
Environmental graphic design is design work concerned with the visual identity of a physical space. Environmental designers create real-world products like banners, posters, window decals, and informational signs to guide viewers through a space. They often work with 3D models of physical spaces to ensure the right dimensions for their final products.
5. Information design
Information design is a subset of graphic design in which designers deal especially with statistics, data, and other technical information to create graphics that represent the information in an intelligible and clear manner. To make difficult data easier to understand, information designers may create infographics, charts, diagrams, or unique visualisations.
6. Marketing and/or advertising design
Marketing and advertising graphic designers are in charge of creative directing and creating materials for, you guessed it, marketing and advertising. This might include images for social media, blogs, internet advertisements, and print or out-of-home advertisements. They may also concentrate on email newsletter design or landing page design for marketing. These marketing materials’ purpose is to transmit the client’s message in a consistent, memorable, and aesthetically appealing manner.
Senior marketing and advertising designers are sometimes referred to as art directors.
7. Packaging design
This form of graphic design entails developing and executing product packaging that is consistent with a client’s overall brand identity. Shelf packaging, product labels, inserts, instructions, and delivery documents are all examples of this. Packaging designers take into account technical factors such as product composition, printing and ink limits, and sustainability.
8. Print design
Print graphic designers create printed and (often) bound items such as magazines, booklets, pamphlets, flyers, and signs. Print designers might specialise in cover design, inside layouts, or both. They use the CMYK colour spectrum to ensure color-accurate printing, and they may have to deal with extra factors like as page bleeds, image DPI, paper quality, and binding options.
5 key graphic design elements
- Image and shape
Here are the five most important aspects of graphic design projects:
Designers consider colour theory while producing images to ensure that they convey the correct message. Red and yellow, for example, might evoke hunger, whilst blue can convey serenity.
2. Image and shape
A graphic designer is someone who develops or uses graphics to provide visual interest, define a tone, and express complicated concepts. Icons, pictures, infographics, and full-color artwork are examples of images.
Layout is the notion of deciding how to organise material, such as where to put a website’s headline, how text is laid out in a book or magazine, how photos are scaled, and how much white space to utilise.
Lines—thick or thin, straight or curved, abstract or part of a broader illustration—are used by graphic designers to assist segregate information, lead readers’ attention, and generate visual appeal.
When working with text, designers consider a variety of typographic factors such as typeface, font size, weight (e.g., bold or italic), leading (the spacing between lines), and kerning (the gap between letters).
8 key principles of graphic design
Learn more about the eight essential principles that graphic designers consider while working on a specific project.
Alignment is the process of selecting where distinct items should belong on a page and whether or not they should be aesthetically grouped. A designer, for example, is unlikely to choose to left-align an article title and right-align the body text since readers may perceive a lack of link between these two parts.
Balance influences whether a design seems to be organised or chaotic. The proper balance depends on the project; some may demand basic symmetry, while others may involve a purposely skewed design.
Contrast is all about distinction—whether large or little, bright or dim, clear or hazy. High contrast may be used by designers to bring attention to a specific area or to show the contrasts between pictures.
At its heart, hierarchy is a notion of emphasis; it decides where viewers’ eyes initially focus. Titles, for example, are often bigger than body content, emphasising their importance.
Movement includes not just the movement of design components, but also the movement of the viewer’s eye. A curving line, for example, might attract the eye over a page, but a solid item can bring the eye to a standstill.
The size of an element in relation to the other components in the design is determined by proportion. Two visuals of the same size can indicate the same level of importance, although larger pieces might feel more significant than smaller ones.
Repeated features in a design contribute to coherence, which is why some businesses utilise a limited colour palette for everything from logo design to packaging. Breaking a pattern may produce a sensation of disruption and surprise, but repeating parts can soothe and orient viewers.
Because it enables the viewer’s attention to rest, blank space is just as significant in graphic design as drawings and colour. It can also aid in the creation of a balanced visual composition.
4 popular graphic design tools
- Adobe Creative Suite
During the creative process, graphic designers use a variety of tools. Here are four of the most typical:
1. Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe Creative Suite includes numerous significant graphic design industry players, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign. Because these items have minimal limitations, they are popular among top designers. However, the extensive feature set may result in a longer learning curve for new designers.
Photoshop and Illustrator provide the most image-based design capability, but InDesign is more popular for typography and text layouts. Adobe products are the most costly on our list, but an annual membership to Adobe Creative Cloud gets you access to the whole suite.
Canva is a web-based design tool that provides ready-made design components (from icons to templates) for use in creating digital compositions such as social media posts, flyers, and even logos. It’s extremely helpful for novices or designers who prefer to start with pre-made designs rather than creating their own from scratch. Canva offers a large amount of free material, as well as a pro membership level with yearly charges for designers who desire additional premium content.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Programme) is a free online photo editor that allows designers to import and change photographs and graphics. It’s totally free and open source, which means you may discover user-created plug-ins and modifications for the majority of your specific requirements. While GIMP may be used to design your own graphics, the majority of its functionality are geared towards modifying existing photos.
Sketch is a collaborative online design tool that enables numerous designers to work on a project at the same time. Its unique, real-time collaboration interface makes it especially suitable for design teams who wish to collaborate closely on everything from prototypes to final proofs. Sketch provides a 30-day free trial as well as two paid plans: a regular plan and a higher-priced business plan with additional capabilities.