The multiple faces of Graphic Design. How important is it, really, in our everyday lives?
“Hello. What do you do for a living?”
“I am a Graphic Designer.”
“Right, and what exactly do you do, design cards?”
This is a short, common dialogue between a person outside the communications field and a graphic designer.
Unfortunately, the Greek term for the word designer (i.e. grafistas=γραφίστας) cannot clearly define the properties and the abilities of the profession. Perhaps it’s preferable to refer to Graphic Design professionals as Graphic Designers or in Greek as “Visual Communication Designers”.
What is Graphic Design?
We could describe Graphic Design as a crossroad where visual arts, communication, psychology, digital technology, etc. meet. “Graphic Design aims at conveying a message from a transmitter to a receiver” (excerpt from the definition from Miltos Fragkopoulos’ “Introduction to the History and Theory of Graphic Design”).
Is it easy or difficult? Can anyone do it?
It requires knowledge and above all talent and skill. A Graphic Designer professional combines different types of art and techniques, such as photography, typography, design. Moreover, it interchanges and combines shapes or colors, it merges or deconstructs forms. A Graphic Designer is not just a designer but a kind of researcher and the final result of his/her work a complete study aiming at communication.
The multiple faces of Graphic Design
Where is it applied? Where do we come across it?
If we think about it in depth, it could be that Graphic Design is everywhere (except for Public Services!). Most of the times, it is applied correctly from professionals with the characteristics mentioned above. However, we do come across plenty of amateur or even bad jobs, which, in essence, is not graphic design.
Let’s take a look at a few examples from our everyday lives, which are the work of a Graphic Designer. We’ll start with our breakfast and the cereal box and continue with the toothpaste, the mobile app, the bottle of perfume, the magazine, the record cover (for vinyl lovers), the ad in the paper, all the packaging in the super market, every company logo, labels and signs and the list goes on…
Surplus value, Aesthetics, Choice
Graphic Design and Graphic Designers are amongst us and we come into daily contact with their work. Without knowing it, many times we choose or reject to consume a product based on its appearance, namely its design.
The reason we reject or accept a product of Graphic Design is simple: we stand across an entity that either expresses us or doesn’t. It satisfies our taste, our aesthetics and by owning the product or service we express ourselves, we send our own message.
Graphic design matters, it adds value to the content: a bottle of oil, a book, a poster, a web page, a post. Without Graphic Design, all we would see is white pages in Word and white or colorful containers.
Why is Graphic Design so important?
This is a common question that we’ll answer by starting from the basics. As humans we are mostly visual creatures. We process images much faster than words. We are influenced by colors and shapes and we are guided by symbols and images.
“…As humans we are mostly visual creatures. We process images much faster than words.”
Graphic design creates a visual identity. You recall a logo more easily than you can recall a name.
The list of importance references can get very long. Perhaps we’ll touch on the issue more extensively in our future articles.
It’s true that Graphic Design neither saves lives nor will save the planet. What it does is that it improves the aesthetics of the small daily things around us (store signs, food packaging, ads). It helps us understand complex information in less time (posters, safety instructions on the plane or the boat, putting together DIY furniture, video animation, websites). It helps us take the right route to catch our flight (symbols and signs) or create a colorful and imaginative library.
Take a look around and you’ll be surprised by how much Graphic design affects you.
At MDesigners we believe in open communication between prospect clients and designers, aiming at creating visual identities and experiences that will move and inspire their audience.