What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is defined as a practice of planning and projecting both ideas and experiences through a combination of images and words to convey information to a group of audiences. In other words, it communicates ideas and messages through visual elements.

Nowadays, graphic designs have been widely used in various sectors of industry. It is a very valuable tool among marketers in the digital era to help them to reach their target audience.

For example, graphic design can be used by companies to deliver complicated messages in the simple form of audiovisual-based digital advertisements, or by businesses to help their customers to engage with their brand identity.

To get a better understanding of graphic design, explained below are the things you should know about it.

Decoding Graphic Design: the Uses and Types of Graphic Design

Elements of Graphic design

The elements of graphic design are the most fundamental units that form the structure of the design. It is divided into seven elements, which are:

1. Line

Lines are the most basic elements that are not just dots connected. It has the power to organize information, define shapes, imply movement, and convey emotions. Lines can be curved, straight, thick, thin, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional—depending on their context, purposes, and necessities.

2. Shape

Shape refers to two or three-dimensional areas, forms, or figures defined by outlines. It helps graphic designers to convey certain meanings, according to psychological approaches or cultural associations. For example, squares and rectangles suggest balance and strength, while rounded edges equal positivity and love.

There are two types of shapes that every graphic designer must understand.

  • Geometric Shapes are the kind of shapes formed by a set of points that connects by either straight or curved lines. The main characteristics of geometric shapes are usually abstract and simplistic.

  • Organic Shapes are the ones with less uniform and proportional characteristics. Organic Shapes can be both symmetrical or asymmetrical and inspired by both natural or abstract shapes.

3. Colour

Colours can be useful to develop an emotional bond with your audiences, as well as to their attention. It can be placed as a background or as an element like a line, shape, or typography. Colours create a mood. In this sense green represents nature.

In the world of graphic design, colours are divided into three categories:

  • Primary Colours are identified as pure-pigment colours from which all others are made. The colours that belong in this category are red, blue, and yellow.

  • Secondary Colours come as an immediate result of mixing two primary colours. The secondary colours are orange, purple, and green.

  • Tertiary Colours are the colours that result from mixing primary and secondary colours. Colours defined in this category are Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, and Red-Violet.

When considering colours for your design, it is compulsory as well to decide about tints and shades that are suitable for your project. This result from a study suggests that human beings respond differently to colours. Hence, it’s important to learn the audiences’ colour association to avoid unwanted impressions of your colour selection.

4. Typography

Typography refers to the art of arranging type to enhance the engagement of a textual feature with its audience. It has the power to deliver a variety of emotions in the content through the use of different weights, size, colour, and space.

While there were many designs of typographic elements, the good one provides a harmonious tone through the excellent visual structure.

5. Texture

Is visual imagery of graphic elements if they were to be touched. It provides additional interest to catch audiences’ attention.

To understand texture elements better, try to experience photos. Adjust its colour saturation and transparency, then take a look at its ability to transform the ambience of your design.

6. Size

Simply put, size is about how big or small something is. In terms of graphic design, it has the power to both organize and attract visual elements to its audiences.

For a better view, size contributes to creating a functional and organized layout. It helps you to give better proportions of each element that will be included in the design. On the other hand, you can also contrast large and small elements to emphasize the importance of certain elements.

7. Space

Space refers to an intentionally left-blank area of a design. It has the power to balance heavier visual elements and emphasize messages the designer wants the audience to remember.

Furthermore, the existence of space can both separate or link several objects. In the world of graphic design, there are two types of spaces, positive space and negative space. The positive space refers to space occupied by visual elements that highlight an essential area to focus on, while the negative space fills out the rest, including the design background.

While the positive space seems to be a very important aspect of the design, the negative space holds an important part as well. It can optimize the visual composition of a design project.

Principles of Graphic Design

In addition to the seven elements of graphic design, the five principles help to define and regulate how those elements interact with one another and with their target audiences.

1. Alignment

Alignment is one of the most basic, yet significant principles of design, as it allows audiences to flow through visually delivered messages.

Aligning elements towards one another builds a visual connection that tightens the design, as well as implies that separated elements belong to the same piece of design. In addition, it also helps eliminate messy effects caused by the random placement of elements.

2. Repetition

The repetition principle has the power to strengthen a design, by creating association through the repetitive use of certain elements. In other ways, the similar use of certain elements helps audiences to retain information about the visual identity of a design.

Repetition can also be beneficial for element functionality. It helps to create patterns as part of graphic elements.

Another unique fact of the repetition principle is that they don’t have to be identical. Repetitive use of certain elements helps people identify that a variety of things belong to each other. It may seem a bit different, but they share some points of similarities to tell that it relates to each other.

3. Contrast

In contrast to the repetition principles, contrast is created through completely different elements. It plays an important role to highlight the key elements of your design. By all means, it defines the most essential point to look at in a page full of information.

To make a contrasting work, it has to be clear. It must emphasize the element you want to make stand out, while at the same time understating the opposing values.

4. Hierarchy

In the world of graphic design, hierarchy principles develop a visual organization to guide the viewers about where they should begin and where to end.

The reason the principle is necessary is that there is a single message that is more critical than the others. Hence, the desired point should stand out most and subsequently leads the viewers to the rest of the content.

5. Balance

Balance in terms of graphic design provides stability and structure through the work of symmetrical or tension elements.

Symmetrical balance developed through an invisible line that divides elements equally on both sides of the page. It often expresses harmony and stability. On the other hand, the tension-based balance generates bold and dynamic effects on the design element.

Utilizations of Graphic Design

Now that you have understood the elements and principles of graphic design, this article will also explain the exact functions of graphic design.

1. It is a Medium to Communicate Ideas

Through its elements and features, graphic design applies as an effective medium of communication. Through its appealing combination of textual and visual content, design pieces could help audiences to understand the meaning or flow of the messages displayed.

2. It Helps Business to Promote Products and/or Services

The clever use of design features may help to develop an emotional bond with customers, which is exactly the reason the graphic design and its derivatives are considered one of the best marketing tools to promote certain products or services.

Be it static or moving graphics, the best way to put your products into customers’ mind are through attractive audiovisual elements.

Graphic design has an extensive effect to influence consumption patterns. Most customers prefer to repurchase products from a brand they have been familiar with rather than one they never heard of.

3. It is a Medium of Art Appreciation

The function refers to the sense of art that graphic designers use while creating a piece of the design itself. Through art and creative thinking, graphic design is not just a way to communicate messages, but it also emphasizes the meaning through beautiful artistic touch.

With the growing number of community-based art appreciation platforms and competitions, both conventional and digital artist can display their original artwork, as the public can also admire its beauty of it.

4. It Amplifies the Beauty of Existing Pieces

Whether it is a blank canvas or visual items that have been produced, the addition of graphic design helps to improve its sense of beauty.

Imagine a previously taken marketing asset in the form of a photo or video. With the addition of visually appealing graphics, the asset was transformed from just simple campaign material to a gorgeously eye-catching communicative medium.

Types of Graphic Design

In the phase of initiating a design for the first time, you might wonder what kind of specialization suits the result you have imagined. Indeed, the world of graphic design is extensively wide, and the sets of skills and techniques are limitless.

That being the case, one must determine what kind of graphic design job characteristics that they are into. Understanding the 9 types of graphic design will help you find the right skills for the job.

1. Brand Identity Design

A brand is a bridge that connects a business or organization with its audience. A brand identity is described as a way that a certain organization uses to communicate their values and experiences.

Hence, brand identity design or sometimes described as visual identity design is considered the most essential type of graphic design. This specialization of design focuses to deliver intangible features of a brand through appealing visual elements.

Visual identity designers collaborate with brand stakeholders to create visual assets, such as logo design, typography, colour pallets, image libraries, and many other elements that constitute a brand’s personality. In addition, to help ensure brand consistency in future applications, visual identity designers often develop a set of visual brand guidelines.

To manufacture assets that satisfy an organization’s need to put ideas about a brand in their mind, a visual identity designer must possess the ability to do research related to a certain industry, and trends that resonate with their target audience, as well as their competitors.

Moreover, it’s also necessary for a designer with that specialization to master the basics of all types of graphic design, which would allow them to produce design elements that apply to various visual platforms.

2. Marketing & Advertising Graphic Design

It’s the kind of graphic design that we often see on social media, websites, and advertisements, both online and offline.

Lots of companies indeed rely on successful marketing efforts in infiltrating their target audience’s decision-making process. People are easily engaged with a product, service, or brand only when it met their wants, needs, awareness, and satisfaction.

Since people will always find visual content more engaging, graphic design helps organizations promote and communicate more effectively. Graphic designers specializing in advertising and marketing work with company owners, directors, managers, or marketing professionals to create assets for marketing strategies.

While it initially resulted in a print-based marketing platform, this branch of graphic design has broadened to develop more digital assets, which are now widely used in digital marketing and online advertising. A quick example of digital marketing products is social media graphics, email marketing templates, and electronic brochures.

Also read: Social Media Animation: Your Best Social Media Strategy

3. User Interface Design

User Interface (UI) design is a process of designing interfaces to help user interacts easily with a certain device or application. It creates the user’s visual experience and the design of on-screen graphic elements like buttons, menus, micro-interactions, and more.

To meet the easy-to-use circumstances, UI designers have to balance aesthetic appeal with technical functionality. Some of their area of expertise are designing games, desktops, mobile apps, and web apps. Moreover, web design is also part of their specialization—which often allows them to work with a group of web designers.

Graphic designers specializing in user interfaces must be team player who understands both graphic design skills and UI/UX design principles, as they would work closely with UX designers and UI developers.

In addition, UI designers also must be familiar with programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

4. Product and Packaging Graphic Design

This type of design involves manufacturing the overall design for every aspect of products and how they will appear to their customers. Product designers need to ensure that the products they create work and are convenient for their end users.

The product designing process typically works simultaneously with packaging design. In terms of functionality, the packaging is used to protect and prepare products at the storage, distribution, and market display. However, it also has the power to tell a story about your brand, as well as to make the product stand out from the other competitors.

To be a good packaging designer, one has to master the knowledge of print processes and understand the world of manufacturing and industrial design concepts.

5. Publication Design

The publication and/or editorial design typically uses the print medium — e.g. a book, magazine, or newspaper. However, the development of technology causes a significant rise in digital publishing and the use of digital platforms.

Publication designers may work as part of an in-house creative team in a publishing company or as a freelancer, as they have the role to amplify the textual content of publication through appealing visual features, as well as amplifying the tone of written words.

Hence, graphic designers working in the area of publications must have the ability to deliver easy-to-follow information flows accompanied by design elements, such as photography, graphics, and illustrations.

6. Environmental Graphic Design

Environmental graphic design connects people to places with the use of visual elements. It enhances people’s experience in certain places in a particular strategy to make it more memorable and informative.

Some examples of environmental design are architecture, road signs, murals, and also event spaces. Aside from those examples, there are also navigation features which consist of signage, landmarks, and visual cues to help people identify their location and where they should be heading next.

Environmental graphic designers need to master graphic design techniques and basic architecture, as they would collaborate with people that not only came from the graphic designing field but also the relevant background, such as architects and interior designers.

At the very first of its development, the environmental graphic design relies on physical static assets. However, the existence of modern technology helps to establish digital graphics and interactivity in this field of design.

7. Typeface Design

Humans rely on words to communicate messages, and a variety of designs can help to amplify those meanings and emotions. To acquire those needs, some graphic designers specialize in manufacturing typography, typeface, or fonts.

In the world of graphic design, type designers often contribute to the brand designing process by selecting or pairing textual elements of a logo or digital assets applicable to a web, marketing tools, product, or package. In some cases, major companies tend to have their customized typography as part of their brand identity.

8. Motion Graphic Design

The definition of motion graphics relies on itself. It’s a graphic that has movement in it. Be it animation, audio, typography, imagery, video, and other effects that are used in online media, television, and film, motion graphic design has skyrocketed in the digital age, where video content became very popular with audiences.

To create such visually appealing features, motion graphic designers should have the ability to bring ideas developed in a storyboard to life, through animation, video, and many others.

Also read: Get to Know What is Motion Design and the Use of It

9. Illustration Graphic Design

You may think that both graphic design and illustration are just the same visually appealing elements. However, they are not. While designers tend to create visual structures to interact with audiences, graphic artists and illustrators aim to construct original artworks.

Even though they are considered to be different, graphic art and illustration manufactured in a graphic design context can also be very helpful for commercial use. Its unique and alluring elements are often featured on a brand design or campaign assets to help a brand to stand out among the others through its customized features.

Graphic artists and illustrators collaborate with writers, editors, marketers, and art directors to manufacture tailored artwork for a certain project. They often begin with physical media, which later are mixed with the use of digital tools or graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator (software programs to create vector graphics) and Adobe Photoshop (software programs for photo editing) to improve the result.

Also read: Production Design: Definition, Importance, and Process

Finding the Best Partner as an Easy Solution For Your Design

Now that you understand that graphic design is not just a process consisting of image editing or video editing using design software, it’s rather a complex procedure that requires extensive knowledge of procedures and particular specializations in each type of graphic design.

Have a hard time deciding which type of graphic design suits the need of your marketing strategies, or simply doesn’t want to be mediocre by doing this all by yourself?

Superpixel can be your solution to enhance your business through developing graphic-based assets to help the brand association with your customers, as well as promoting products and/or services. To effectively actualize your thoughts, we start by learning your values. Visit us!