Graphic design is a creative process – most often involving a client and a designer and usually completed in conjunction with producers of form (i.e., printers, programmers, signmakers, etc.) – undertaken in order to convey a specific message (or messages) to a targeted audience. The term “graphic design” can also refer to a number of artistic and professional disciplines that focus on visual communication and presentation. The field as a whole is also often referred to as Visual Communication or Communication Design. Various methods are used to create and combine words, symbols, and images to create a visual representation of ideas and messages. A graphic designer may use a combination of typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to produce the final result. Graphic design often refers to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated.Common uses of graphic design include identity (logos and branding), web sites, publications (magazines, newspapers, and books), advertisements and product packaging. For example, a product package might include a logo or other artwork, organized text and pure design elements such as shapes and color which unify the piece. Composition is one of the most important features of graphic design, especially when using pre-existing materials or diverse elements.
From road signs to technical schematics, from interoffice memorandums to reference manuals, graphic design enhances transfer of knowledge and visual messages. Readability and legibility is enhanced by improving the visual presentation and layout of text.
Design can also aid in selling a product or idea through effective visual communication. It is applied to products and elements of company identity like logos, colors, packaging, and text. Together these are defined as branding (see also advertising). Branding has increasingly become important in the range of services offered by many graphic designers, alongside corporate identity. Whilst the terms are often used interchangeably, branding is more strictly related to the identifying mark or trade name for a product or service, whereas corporate identity can have a broader meaning relating to the structure and ethos of a company, as well as to the company’s external image. Graphic designers will often form part of a team working on corporate identity and branding projects. Other members of that team can include marketing professionals, communications consultants and commercial writers.
Textbooks are designed to present subjects such as geography, science, and math. These publications have layouts which illustrate theories and diagrams. A common example of graphics in use to educate is diagrams of human anatomy. Graphic design is also applied to layout and formatting of educational material to make the information more accessible and more readily understandable.
Graphic design is applied in the entertainment industry in decoration, scenery, and visual story telling. Other examples of design for entertainment purposes include novels, comic books, DVD covers, opening credits and closing credits in filmmaking, and programs and props on stage. This could also include artwork used for t-shirts and other items screenprinted for sale.
From scientific journals to news reporting, the presentation of opinion and facts is often improved with graphics and thoughtful compositions of visual information – known as information design. Newspapers, magazines, blogs, television and film documentaries may use graphic design to inform and entertain. With the advent of the web, information designers with experience in interactive tools such as Adobe Flash are increasingly being used to illustrate the background to news stories.