Learn what a graphic designer does.
- It would easy to say a graphic designer is someone who works with words, images, color, and shape to communicate a message. But that's what a child can do on a first grade drawing. The graphic designer does more than this. He or she creates order from chaos, makes the confused understandable, communicates a clear vision, and does these things with beauty and a sense of joy. Graphic design as a term is fairly new. 50 years ago people practicing this were called commercial or graphic artists, illustrators, and art directors.
Today a graphic designer may refer to him or herself as a brand strategist, visual communicator, or creative director. But in the end we are simply graphic designers. Some graphic designers define themselves by the media they use. There are web designers, book designers, logo designers, and environmental designers. The best designers, however, are the professionals who use all media to communicate an idea.
They are as adept with screen-based solutions, such as motion graphics, as printed matter. A graphic designer is not someone who codes websites only. That is a developer. There are some designers who do both, but the difference is the skill to communicate a clear message using the technology. A graphic designer is not an architect. Some graphic designers work environmentally with signage and experiences in collaboration with an architect.
But I trust the architect and structural engineer to make sure a building won't collapse. And the guy down the road that learned how to use Photoshop and has no other education or training is not a professional graphic designer. It's a hard job that requires craft, talent, and the ability to communicate with clients and the audience. Like many professions, graphic designers redefine their role, invent new terminology to explain what they do, and evolve over time.
Mix in the designer's desire to be taken seriously as more than the person who makes pretty things, and you find all types of lengthy names, such as experience and brand strategy communicator. I prefer graphic designer. We use words, typography, imagery, color, shape and form to convey a concept. Unlike the five year old and her drawing of a house, the professional designer takes advantage of all media available, the web, print, environment, social media, and objects to communicate a vision clearly.
He or she does this in a public venue, collaborating with the client to create value.
Sean Adams champions design internationally on behalf of his work with AIGA. Here he breaks down the walls between designers and clients so they can have a more collaborative and successful experience. There are whys and hows, dos and don'ts, and simple strategies for finding good partnerships, cooperating on designs, and negotiating fees, from both sides of the table. Plus, learn ways to gauge the return on investment and provide proof the design is working.
- Why hire a graphic designer?
- How do you find a graphic designer?
- How much do graphic design projects cost?
- How much should graphic designers charge?
- What are a graphic designer's responsibilities?
- How can a graphic designer prove a design is successful?