Let’s get back to basics.
It sounds like a very simple question but, as designers, we often get asked “so what does that involve?” or “what do you actually do?” because graphic design is quite a specialist vocation that many ‘non-creatives’ are unfamiliar with. According to the Interaction Design Foundation, Graphic Design is:
“… the craft of creating visual content to communicate messages. Applying visual hierarchy and page layout techniques, graphic designers use typography and pictures to meet users’ specific needs and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs to optimise the user experience.”
This is comprehensive explanation and touches on some very valid points, but let’s explore it a little further.
With the growth of social media and new business, we are constantly exposed and bombarded with images, adverts, videos and visual content. It is our job as designers to find ways to craft your content in a way that appeals to the right people in the right way for your desired outcome. We know that people respond differently to different colours, fonts, shapes and textures etc so we take all of this into consideration when developing content for your brand.
If nobody understands your message, a lot of time (and money) can be wasted on a campaign that doesn’t generate the desired interest or leads. Not only can we make your business brand look good but we also make sure it communicates the right message through clever and concise copywriting, a suitable tone of voice and cues that pass on certain connotations to the audience. For example, when designing for a holistic massage company we would use content that communicates a sense of care, well-being and calm; blues, light tints, soft rounded fonts and minimal jargon.
In order to get your most important message to your audience effectively, hierarchy is something designers need to consider when creating artwork. We arrange and present the information provided in blocks according to its importance and significance in relation to your end goal. This is because visual hierarchy heavily influences how your audience perceives information and therefore, how they react to the design.
This is probably the skill most people think about when they want to approach a graphic designer. We understand certain principles and can manipulate text and images to create stunning pages for magazines, flyers, white papers and more. We know the rules, so we know how to break them with style!
Understanding how to choose the most suitable typeface for a particular brand or even creative your own from scratch is an artform. The way characters are formed down to the spacing between the letters (tracking) and lines (leading) are all considered when a graphic designer is involved! Choosing the best font for different messages is also considered, for example, we would never choose a highly complex, script font for very small T&Cs at the bottom of a form, but this font could be attractive and legible as a large header with only two or three words.
Choosing complimentary imagery isn’t always as easy as it looks. Not only does it need to support the written content but it also has other requirements:
- Portray the correct feel of the brand. For example, you may require an image of a group of people, but do they need to be dressed formally? Should the colour tones of the image be warm or cold? Does the image represent the diversity you want portray?
- Is the image large enough to print well? Does it work for digital platforms or does it need to be cropped and down-sized?
- Does it fit the space left by the copy without cropping out important parts?
- At times photography can be manipulated to make it look cleaner or more dynamic, for example, removing clutter from the background of the image or cutting out the main points of interest from a background.
User experience is often linked to web design but it also needs to be considered in graphic design to a certain extent. When presented with a brochure, for example, readers don’t want to feel bombarded with information or hit with ‘hard sell’ from the very beginning. Your customers would often prefer to know what they are about to read and why and feel comfortable with the general flow of the content. The users experience should be positive, engaging and informative and all of the above techniques, when used well, can make this happen.
Graphic design is a high-skilled and specialist vocation and, of course, we love it! Our designers have spent many years studying and improving their skills in this field in order to be the best creatives they can be. We hope that this post gives you a better understanding of what we do and inspires you to start a project with us…