Once upon a time I wrote an essay on my interpretation of graphic design. Who knew at the time that the essay would take me down some pretty dark paths in the weeks that followed, learning much about myself and facing some hard truths along the way. One thing gleaned was that if there is a less complex route, you won’t find me taking it. In the months that follow I will aim for clarity and less complication in my thinking and methodology.
This is a simplified version of my thoughts on graphic design.
Graphic design is a term for a much larger field of jobs and skill sets. These jobs and skill sets depend on the outcome desired or the talent of the individual. This leads me to the statement that graphic design is a field in which a variety of creative types visually communicate a message. Designers provide a service.
Many factors plague and bless the field today which is causing great change. We are emerging and colliding through technology and a shared global voice. The field of graphic design is evolving in exciting new ways which include a return to traditional methods, embracing new technologies, clear communication and design ethos.
As an educator, this conversation has great meaning and depth. As someone also learning and growing in the field I am in the thick of design. It is more than a job, it is a passion that most of us share. We get off on creating.
Graphic designers might build web pages, create and animate characters, speed paint scenery for a movie, render a 3D walk through, edit and create videos, write blogs, draw out story boards, layout publications, design typefaces, run a press – if lucky a tabletop platen, design packaging, create illustrations, develop environmental signage, shoot pictures, or develop a new game or app. Sometimes courses are under communications and new media or multimedia. Emergent design and conversion are often words spouted in a conversation.
Essentially a designer is someone who likes to create, who adapts to changing technologies and keeps an eye on trends. This person has a level of talent based on the ability to use the fundamentals of design to create an aesthetic output. The field is wide open and we as an industry are only breaking the surface.
However this field is also evolving beyond what has been traditional thought to be design. It is becoming a new field that takes design and blends it with thinking. The process of design is developing to consider all aspects of the intended artifact. It will become about what happens, before, what happens when, and is this really the best way to approach the solution. We will be called on to educate the client in the decision process and lead the discussion on being responsible, socially, environmentally and ethically.