Through typography, imagery, color, and form, graphic design solves problems and communicates ideas. That’s why graphic design comes in so many different forms, each specializing in different things.
While there are often overlaps between types of graphic production, each requires a specific set of skills and design techniques. There are many designers who specialize in a specific type; others specialize in a set of related, similar types. Designers must, however, be able to adapt to a constantly changing field as well as lifelong learners in order to change and add specialized knowledge throughout their careers.
Understanding the 5 types of graphic design is essential to finding the right skill set, whether you are an aspiring designer or you need design services for your business.
1. Designing a visual identity:
Businesses and organizations form relationships with their audiences through what is called a brand. As well as communicating its personality, essence, and memories, a brand’s identity communicates experiences, emotions, and experiences. A visual identity graphic design communicates a brand’s intangible qualities through images, shapes, and colors as the face of that brand.
Those who specialize in brand identity graphic design collaborate with stakeholders to develop assets such as logos, typography, color palettes, and images which represent the personality of a brand. A visual brand guidelines (style guide) that describes best practices and provides examples of visual branding applied across various media is created in addition to standard business cards and corporate stationary. The guidelines ensure that branding is consistent throughout various media.
A good example of this is the design of a company’s identity. For creating design elements that can be used across all visual media, graphic designers of visual identity should possess a general knowledge of all types of graphic design. In addition, they should be excellent communicators and creative thinkers, as well as passionate about researching industries, organizations, trends, and competitors.
2. Advertising and marketing graphics:
In most cases, graphic designers are associated with marketing and advertising designs. It is essential for companies to tap into the decision-making process of their target audience through successful marketing efforts. Engaging marketing focuses on what people want, need, know, and are satisfied with about a product, service, or brand. In addition to helping organizations communicate and promote more effectively, graphic design allows them to provide people with more engaging content.
Marketing designers create assets for marketing strategies in conjunction with business owners, directors, managers or marketing professionals. Usually, they are employed to work alone, but they may also be part of an in-house creative team. A graphic designer can specialize in a specific medium (vehicle wraps or magazine ads, say) or create a wide range of collateral for print, digital, and beyond. Although traditionally centered on print, this type of design has evolved to include additional digital assets, including those used in digital marketing and advertising.
3. User interface graphic design:
An application or device’s user interface determines the way users interact with it. A user interface (UI) is a way to design an interface that makes it easy to use and provides a pleasant user experience. User interfaces include all the elements that users interact with, such as the screen, keyboard, and mouse, but in terms of graphic design, UI design concentrates on the visual design of on-screen graphics, such as buttons, menus, micro-interactions, and more. It’s the designer’s job to achieve a balance between aesthetic appeal and technical accuracy.
Designers specialize in app development for desktop applications, mobile applications, web applications, and games. UX (user experience) designers (those responsible for determining how an app operates) and UI developers (those responsible for writing the code that makes it work) work closely together.
4. Publication graphic design
Through public distribution, publications are long-form communications that reach out to an audience. In the past, they were often printed. Book, newspaper, magazine, catalog and other types of publications are examples of publication design. Digital publishing has become increasingly popular in recent years.
A graphic designer specializing in publications creates layouts accompanied by carefully selected typography and accompanying artwork, which can include photography, graphics, and illustrations. Publication designers may work as freelancers, as creative agency members or in-house as part of a publishing company.
Graphic art and illustration are often seen as being the same as graphic design, however they’re each very different. Designers create compositions to communicate and solve problems, graphic artists and illustrators create original artwork. Their art takes a number of forms, from fine art to decoration to storytelling illustrations. Even though graphic art and illustration are not technically types of graphic design, so much is created for commercial use within the context of graphic design that you can’t talk about one without the others.
5. Packaging graphic design
Most products require some form of packaging to protect and prepare them for storage, distribution, and sale. But packaging design can also communicate directly to consumers, which makes it an extremely valuable marketing tool. Every box, bottle and bag, every can, container, or canister is a chance tell the story of a brand.
Packaging designers create concepts, develop mock ups and create the print-ready files for a product. This requires expert knowledge of print processes and a keen understanding of industrial design and manufacturing. Because packaging design touches so many disciplines, it’s not uncommon for designers to find themselves creating other assets for a product such as photography, illustrations and visual identity.
Packaging designers may be a jack-of-all-trades or specialize in a specific type of packaging (like labels or beverage cans) or a specific industry (like food or children’s toys). Their work requires top-notch conceptual and problem-solving skills in addition to a strong working knowledge of print and industrial design. They must be flexible to meet the demands of clients, marketers and manufacturers and be aware of current trends.