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The Role of the Graphic Designer

September 11, 2013 - Design

With communications turning ever more digital, the landscape of marketing has changed.  It used to be that we relied heavily on television, radio and print…and we still do, but computer technology is a strong force within that mix as well.  As such, marketing not only incorporates commercials, print ads and billboards; it also involves heavily visual, digital efforts.  That’s where professionals known as graphic designers come in, ready to make things come alive for prospective customers of companies and products. 

What Graphic Designers Do

In today’s marketplace, graphic designers can wear many hats.  These professionals may work in web design, constructing websites with their web scripting knowledge; film design, creating credit sequences with specialized software; publications, designing flyers, brochures and ads for print or in the mainstream role of graphic designfor marketing.  No matter the specific function, each graphic designer’s overarching goal is the same: to help create and communicate messages through visual means.

More often than not, today’s designers have at least an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design and work with some marketing objective, producing projects for clients wishing to enhance their visibility and increase product sales.  Common brand strategies include infographics, which are visual representations of complex pieces of data in the form of images, graphs and charts; slideshows, or page-by-page digital renderings of information and imagery (think PowerPoint); and even short videos, created with a combination of digital animation, text, voiceover and sometimes actual actors (think YouTube). 

How the Designers Do It

Before a graphic designer does anything, be it creating a print ad or producing a stunning infographic for the web, he/she must coordinate heavily with each individual client.  In doing so, the designer understands the client’s needs and goals as well as creative directions that the client wants to take.  Throughout this process, both the client and the designer factor in aspects of their target audience—such as cultural and social considerations—so as to create the most effective message.

From here, the creative work begins.  With a clear direction for the project in mind, a graphic designer will begin drafting ideas, creating sketches either by hand or with the assistance of specialized computer programs.  Along the way, he/she will manipulate aspects like text fonts and design layouts, consulting with the client in the process.  The working sketch of any given project is presented to the client for their go-ahead, the approval of which gives the designer creative license to move forward.  If needed, these professionals will also conduct market research to isolate trends, and then provide insight to clients which will help them reach consumers more effectively.

Graphic designers rely heavily on their skills relating to design fundamentals.  There are some fundamentals that a designer should know.  These include understanding of color, structure of type, utilizing space and shape. In addition to the fundamentals of design  it is also important to understand digital tools such as:

·         Photoshop®  

·         Illustrator®

·         InDesign®

·         QuarkXPress®

These designers must make the best use of the space they’re given throughout the creative process.  They are charged with finding the correct balance of graphics and white space—the space left untouched by graphics to eliminate clutter.  Indeed, well-balanced visual marketing can become more appealing to consumers, and throughout the process, designers may solicit input and contributions from professionals like copywriters and marketers to enhance the project and other elements like text.

Any given project will involve revision, necessitating that the designer retrace their steps and tweak the project to the client’s satisfaction.  Once all edits are made, these pros can sit back and watch the effects of their hard work.  Graphic design can be a tremendously rewarding field, one that allows the designer to witness the measurable impacts of their efforts.  If done well, a project will aid a client in improving business.  Sound like a good plan?  These designers attain a high level of skill through a combination of practice and training to attain an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design.  An exciting career in this field could be just what you’re looking for.  Give it a try!

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