What is Graphic Design?
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 optimize the user experience.
Graphic Designing is a form of art for a specific ‘goal’ or ‘purpose’. Before you begin working on any graphic designing work, you need to have a plan; there is a reason for creating a logo or designing a website. Graphic Designing involves use of words, images, symbols and so on. It is a pictorial representation of concepts, ideas, facts or figures.
Various Elements of Graphic Designing:
Graphic Designing is a very creative field where experts can make use of different elements/ingredients to create interesting and appealing graphics. Let’s look into some of these:
1. Varied Line Forms:
‘Lines” are the lifeline for a graphic designer. An impactful logo, a gorgeous flyer or an online banner, all or some of them will involve some forms of lines (may be straight lines or the curved ones). For instance, a thin curved line can create a beautiful business card, or straight thick lines can be sued to create margins in a catalogue design. A graphic designer can just play with endless permutations and combinations of lines and create splendid designs.
2. Colors and Color Schemes:
Who doesn’t love colors? Ask a graphic designer, and know how colors are close to his/her heart. A good color scheme can make a dead design look alive and attract attention of millions; on the other hand, a bad RGB or CMYK combination can ruin all the efforts of a designer. There is a vast potential to play with colors and create eye catching graphics. Colors and color schemes are what make graphic designing a glamorous field in itself.
3. Shapes and Figures:
A simple circle can donate so many things to so many people. Shapes communicate so much that even words cannot convey. Shapes bring balance and harmony to a design. Use of a combination of shapes conveys the core message in a very aesthetic manner. We can create various patterns and layouts with different types of shapes and figures.
Even letters, numbers and words can form very significant elements of graphic designing. There are various fonts available on the net (many of which can also be freely downloadable) to make your message clear and crisp to the readers. For instance, a big bold font for headings and a neutral font for the body can really bring the message out. Placing the text just anywhere in the design doesn’t convey your message clearly. It is the font type, position of the font, font size, font color and elements like Bold, Underline and Italics that makes words and numbers look meaningful.
You must have picked up magazines or read some books. How did you feel while touching those? Were the papers glossy ones or with matte finish? What we are talking about here is the ‘Texture’ of an object…the surface of an object. Textures play a very important role in Graphic Designing, especially in Print Media. How a graphic designer selects the paper for his next packaging design or gives a stone effect or a brick effect to his/her Ad banner, all these textures give depth and richness to images and graphics.
6. Cliparts, Illustrations and Photographs:
One good photograph or one good illustration can speak much more than a thousand words could. You must have come across many black and white sketches, how simple they may look but convey the right message to the right people in a very humorous way. One relevant photograph can help graphic designers reduce their unnecessary efforts in composing words and letters. This is why photographers are an essential part of graphic designing.
Space refers to the amount of background color (white space, negative space) available in a design. TO make your graphic appealing, you shouldn’t fill the entire space with different elements. Infact, try to keep the shapes, fonts and strokes to the minimum and give some breathing space to your design. This makes your message more noticeable. A neat-looking and clutter-less design can help to achieve your goals than a clutter-some full of elements design.
Tools of Graphic Design:
Just like any other skilled craftsman, whether it is a pottery maker or a painter, a graphic designer also requires certain tools to craft his/her masterpiece. Some of these are mentioned below:
1. Pencils & Sketchpads:
One needn’t be great at drawing or sketching, but this is always an advantage for a graphic designer. One can quickly draw a rough layout or an idea with a paper and pencil. Pencil is one of the simplest but powerful tools for a graphic designer.
2. Computer Systems:
In today’s IT Era, no Graphic designer can think about working without making use of a computer. Infact, just like programmers, computers have become an essential part of designers today. Various combinations of different software, online tools and hardware like graphic tablets are regularly used by graphic designers of today.
3. Books on Graphic Designing:
No matter how advance the technology gets, books will always be the best friends of people. There are some very useful and noteworthy books available on graphic designing, some of which are – User experience design by Gavin Allanwood and Peter Beare, Make your own luck by Kate Moross, Type Rules: The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography by Ilene Strizver, Creative Advertising: An Introduction by Miriam Sorrentino and so on.
How to become a Graphic Designer?
If you are dreaming to become a Graphic Designer, then you have landed up at the right place! Here, we will discuss what all is required to become a Graphic designer – whether you hold a college degree or not. Though a bachelor’s degree in Graphic design is always welcomed, it is not mandatory to enter this exciting and creative field. Your innovative ideas, a sense for design and business knowledge will take you a long way as a Graphic designer.
How to become a Graphic Designer? Here we go…
1. Select your Area of Interest:
The field of Graphic Design is as vast as an ocean. The more you go deeper in it, the more you realize you know just the tip of an iceberg! You may not be able to conquer the entire ocean, but specialize in your area of interest. The mere idea of CMYK and printing machines attracts you, plunge into print design and start creating graphics for magazines, business cards, journals, newsletters, logos, etc. Web is what fascinates you, choose web deigning and start learning HTML, CSS, and related topics. UI design is your pathway to success, start learning the nuances of UI designing. Animation is your goal in life, then put your entire effort in it. In Graphic designing, it is important to know something about everything and everything about something. It means, have a basic knowledge of every graphic designing field but expertise in one of them.
2. Learn the Necessary Tools:
Once have decided, which career path to choose, start getting a thorough knowledge of the essential tools required to become a graphic designer. Fall in love with Adobe as you cannot get away with Photoshop, whatever career path you may choose in Graphic Design. In print design apart from Photoshop you also need to learn Illustrator, Indesign, Quark Xpress, etc. For Web Designing, HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver are the pre-requisites besides Photoshop. UI design again requires Photoshop and Illustrator. For animation and Video effects learn Autodesk 3D Maya, 3D Modeling, Flash, Premiere Pro, After Effects and so on. For every Graphic designer, Photoshop is the most essential software one needs to master. You journey as a Graphic designer will become quite smooth and successful, if you can work well with Photoshop and learn how to create attractive looking designs with eye-catching effects.
3. Read Online:
A quick, easy and economical way of learning graphic design is to read a lot on the net. Internet is full of graphic tutorials which show step-by-step method of creating various visual effects. You will find all sort of tutorials, for beginners as well as advanced learners. Start reading and practicing from these tutorials to gain confidence in the software you are learning. Some of the famous graphic design tutorials are:
4. Buy and read Books:
Not only online reading will help you, even good books on graphic designing will give you a thorough knowledge of various softwares. Such books are timeless as they are written by well known authors who have been experts in Graphic design for long. Here are some of these books:
- The Elements of Graphic Design by Alex W. White
- A designer’s art by Paul Rand
- How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul by Adrian Shaughnessy
- The Art of Color by Johannes Itten
- How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman
5. Enroll for a Graphic Designing Course:
All those who are not fully satisfied with self-learning, can enroll for a course or diploma in graphic design. There are various classroom as well as online courses available for graphic design. Joining a course brings in discipline, networking with other students, learning from the experts and many other benefits. There are various institutes running such courses such as:
- Arena Multimedia
- Pearl Academy
- National Institute of design
- Design Institute of India
- National Deisgn centre
- Wigan & Leigh College
- ZEE Institute of Design
6. Plunge into the creative network:
You need to know what is happening in the outside world! Join graphic design communities, discussion forums and start posting your thoughts, questions, answers and have a fruitful discussion on various aspects of graphic design and how to enter the job market. Make good use of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin to update yourself with latest news and trends in graphics. Some of the popular communities and discussion forums on graphic design are:
- HOW Design Forum
- GDF (Graphic Design Forum)
- All Graphic Design Forum
- UCreative Forum
7. Collect good designs you come across:
Start collecting designs that inspire you, make you think out of the box and trigger your creativity. These designs could be online or in print. Refer these designs time and again to get inspired and take your creativity to the next level! Read through design magazines, everyday newspaper, menu card, bottle lables, packaging, even flyers and pamphlets you receive and start concentrating on the design elements which you really like in these. Design is everywhere, the only thing is that now you should start observing instead of just looking at them.
8. A Portfolio is a must:
Once you have learnt the basics and are in the process of getting expert at various tools and softwares, start creating your portfolio. It is better to have a portfolio in print as well as online, as some companies prefer either of the two. Portfolio is a showcase of your skill sets, your creativity, uniqueness and the confidence level you have in design. The portfolio should demonstrate best works you have done so far and bring out clarity in your thoughts and motives behind such designs. A portfolio is what can make or break your chances of getting a job! So, take sufficient time out to build a great looking portfolio.
Graphic Design Careers
In past few years, Graphic Design has emerged as a very popular career option – especially for those who are inclined towards art and creativity. We can find Graphics anywhere and everywhere, whether you are watching a Commercial Ad, or walking through the roadside hoarding or purchasing a product of your favorite brand, you cannot escape the various forms of graphic designs.
Why Graphic Design Careers are so popular?
- Every business requires branding and has advertising needs. Good-looking, attractive Online and Offline Ads add a lot of value to their brand. Every successful business requires a logo, business stationery, website, brochure, newsletter, corporate report, in-house magazine, etc.
- Graphics are much more powerful than mere words. Even simple words can be transformed into eye-catching message using various graphic tools.
- Attractive looking graphics are appealing to people and helps in ‘selling’. Don’t we notice a big hoarding with a good image on it or a funny text written in bold in a magazine or an online banner offering a promo discount?
- Graphic designers love their jobs, because it involves a lot of creativity, openness to new and innovative ideas, flexible working schedule and a lot of learning along the way.
- Graphic design is a very vast field. There are various job titles available for a graphic designer to make his/her career, it could be an illustrator, image editor, animator, web designer, etc.
- Graphic Designing is a suitable field for those who want to do freelancing or want to work part-time or work from home. You needn’t be present every time in office to take inputs and work on those.
- A graphic designer can work anywhere. What you need is a computer with necessary software in it and an internet connection.
- One doesn’t need a college degree (though it is always good to have one) to become a graphic designer. One can also be a self-made graphic designer and learn the tools online. With a little mentoring, one can grow in his/her career.
Tasks and Responsibilities of a Graphic Designer:
- Understanding the project requirements.
- Estimating time requirements and costs for the project.
- Analyzing the competitors and their strategies.
- Building design concepts as per the client’s requirements.
- Developing and revising designs through research.
- Working collaboratively with other professionals, such as software programmers, photographers and other designers.
- Proofreading and finalizing designs to be sent for printing and publishing.
- Although a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a diploma in Visual Communication is undoubtedly preferred, your experience and skill set is most important. You can begin without a degree.
- Certifications in graphical tools such as Quark Xpress, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Corel Draw, Acrobat, 3D Studio, Dreamweaver, Flash or Flex can give you an advantage while being hired by a company. Some of them might even enlist this as pre-requisites.
Requisites for becoming a Graphic Designer:
The prime requisite is Creativity. The candidate must possess an instinctive ability to have an excellent understanding about playing with the elements of visual communication such as colors, brightness, contrast, scale and typography. He/she must know how to best use the elements for developing desirable visual designs.
2. Technical Skills:
The second important requisite is Technical Knowledge. By technical knowledge we mean knowledge of the latest tools which are needed to develop and implement the designs. Some latest tools are Adobe’s InDesign, Dreamweaver, Acrobat, Photoshop, Flash etc. Others are QuarkXpress, Illustrator, etc.
3. Business Skills:
The third essential skill for a graphic designer is business knowledge. For making recommendations to clients, a clear understanding of their business trends and challenges in very important. The candidate should thus possess business skills to excel in this domain.
4. Interpersonal Skills:
The 4th essential skill is people skills. Graphic designers have to work with teams and might also have to deal directly with the clients. Interpersonal skills are thus an essential requirement for this role. In overall, people skills mean decent listening skills, flexibility, ability to work collaboratively and strong verbal communication.
Graphic Design Careers:
Though the main objective of any graphic designer is to combine different elements such as shapes, lines, colors, fonts to create beautiful looking and meaningful artworks, a graphic designer can work in totally different mediums and have distinct career paths.
Let’s look into some of the Graphic Design Careers:
1. Print Design:
It is a distinct and one of the oldest fields of Graphic Design. Print design means a visual communication printed in a newspaper, magazine, packaging, logo, business cards, brochure, newsletter or any other form of print. A graphic designer in print media needs to create all the above. He/she either work in ad agencies or companies that hire in-house designers. A thorough knowledge of printing is required while creating print graphics.
Web designing has emerged as one of the hottest career options today. Every company needs a good website to succeed today. A web designer needs to know HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver, and other web development tools and languages in order to create beautiful and user-friendly websites. Web graphics also involve e-brochures, e-newsletter, web banners, etc. Clean navigation buttons, crisp icons and neat design is what makes a website attractive.
3. UI Designers:
A recent field added to graphic design is UI (User Interface) design. UI designer looks after the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of a software interface which could be a website, application for a mobile or for gaming. UI designers aim at creating user-friendly interactions by using minimum no. of visual elements and eliminating unnecessary objects from the design.
We all are mesmerized by Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Ice Age, Winnie the Pooh, and all such animation movies which have not only attracted kids but adults too. 2D as well as 3D animations in the form of movies, ad films as well as cartoon serials have entertained us like anything. Irrespective of slow economic growth, animation industry is doing quite well and is short in supply of talented animators. A graphic designer interested in creating animated characters and giving special effects, can make a lucrative career in animation.
Job Opportunities for Graphic Designers:
Payscale of Graphic Designers:
There are around 42,000 enterprises working in graphic designing, ranging from big companies to freelancers. The graphic design domain is incurring a tremendous growth and gaining early experience in this field could be a great advantage to interested candidates.
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics in India, the job opportunities for graphic designers are expected to increase by 13 percent from 2013 to 2018, due to the rise in demand for graphic designers from commercial and IT firms.
Moreover, there would be a great need for Graphic Designers due to the increase in projects for media such as websites, smart phones and other technologies. The growth of Internet advertising domain, particularly, is expected to generate a big need for graphic designers.