What is graphic design and what does it take to be a graphic designer? Basically, graphic design is way to visually communicate and present information in a clear and organized manner. In this training video, you'll be introduced to the art of visual communication using text, images, and symbols. You'll learn the basics of using Illustrator to create vivid graphic designs, including the arrangement of visual elements on a printed page.
This course is all about learning graphic design and becoming a graphic designer. But in order to do that, I think it's important for you to know a little bit about the art form before you actually start doing it. So, what is graphic design anyway? Well, the technical definition for design states that it's the art of visual communication through the use of text, images, symbols, and artwork. But we're going to distill that down into three main skill areas, which we're going to talk about throughout this entire course.
Visual arts, which includes things like photography and illustration. Typography, which is the art or process of setting, arranging, and designing type. And page layout, which refers to the arrangement of visual elements on a printed page. All three of these skills have been used for hundreds of years. In fact, graphic design dates back probably a lot further than you even think. The first use of visual communication to convey ideas was done through cave paintings as far back as 15,000 B.C. While they didn't actually call it graphic design back then, it still had the same basic idea.
Pictograms, symbols, and ancient writing styles were all combined to tell stories and deliver messages that we're still captivated by today. Fast forward to 105 AD, where a Chinese political official named Ts'ai Lun was credited with inventing the first iteration of paper, which led to some of the earliest forms of printing making it much easier to produce artwork and written compositions as well. The next major milestone for the world of design came from Johannes Gutenberg in 1450's AD. Gutenberg was credited with inventing the movable type press, which eliminated the need for handwritten reproduction and ushered in a new era of printed books and manuscripts.
Design continued to evolve over the next several centuries, but in the early 1920s, the actual term graphic designer was coined by calligrapher and illustrator William Addison Dwiggins, whose essays on graphic arts really helped shape the era of modern design as we know it today. In 1969, engineer Douglas Engelbart invented a small piece of equipment known simply as a mouse, which would set the stage for one of the biggest leaps forward in design history. That leap would come in 1984, when Apple invented a small machine, known as the Macintosh, which would change the way creatives worked from then on out and ushered in the era of modern computer based graphic design.
Over the next several decades, design would evolve tremendously. And as technology became more accessible, so grew the amount of people who are interested in this new art form. Which led us to where we are today, surrounded by advertisements, posters, packaging designs and iconic symbols which evoke emotion, spark recognition and drive our purchasing desires on a daily basis. To truly be a graphic designer, you must be a good communicator, capable of taking ordinary words and images and translating them into messages that are as accessible as they are meaningful and inviting.
Your goal as a designer should be to bring order and clarity to the visual representation of information and make that information easier for your viewer to understand. However, it's not just the principles that make you a good designer. As technology continues to evolve, so must you as a graphic designer. It's imperative that you stay atop trends and learn new technologies as they become available and adapt as your clients need you to do so. Designers who don't evolve won't make it. It's that simple. What is graphic design? Ultimately, it's whatever you want it to be.
That's the beauty of it. Everyone has their own unique interpretation of what it is and how it's supposed to be.
- Understanding the impact of color
- Sketching your ideas
- Removing unwanted objects from images
- Cropping photos
- Resizing and saving images for print
- Drawing basic shapes
- Creating a custom color theme with swatches
- Applying styles
- Creating tables
- Preflighting documents
- Packaging files for print
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 09/01/2016. What changed?
A: We revised the first four chapters with new graphics and examples.