Skill Level Intermediate
- [Man] At it's core, graphic design is really combining words, shapes, form, and color to communicate an idea. When I started out in school, I thought graphic design was about layout, and I thought great, I get to put some nice typography with some nice images and move them around on a page, and I love doing that, but the turning point with me, was when I first got into art school and one of our teachers, Lou Danziger showed us a piece that he had done, it was an American flag on a paintbrush, and all of a sudden it made sense, graphic design was about combining forms and ideas and images to make a new concept.
That was the part that made it exciting, all of sudden, it wasn't about layout anymore, it was about ideas. Now one thing I like to think about graphic design, when people say, "Well can it change the world?" is yes, it can, and it doesn't change it like working for Green Peace and saving whales, but it does change it in terms of you do a good job and it makes a company more successful, that's the real point of this, is to help others succeed, that's the core of graphic design, we work other individuals and companies and help them along a little bit, kind of make their lives easier to sell a product or communicate an idea.
Now that idea can be in the service of a branding exercise, a poster, information graphics, television, broadcast graphics, title sequences, you can do interactive design, experience design and figure out the way someone actually moves through the space and how they interpret that information. The media isn't as important as the concept itself and that's where good graphic design really takes hold, smart ideas that communicate a clear message and do it with skill and craft.
It's important to understand there is an actual process and take it step by step. You've gotta learn how to sketch, how to come up with ideas, how to draw, how to use typography, how to work with color in new ways, and those are all basic skills. The first thing I do on any project is sit down and start sketching. I can't jump into something without a good idea, and that's the process that we all learn. From there, you can move on to more complex ideas and more high-end tools, that basic part is something you're always gonna return to.
And be patient. It takes time, and it takes practice.