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Define Graphic Design?


Purplegurl

Senior Member
#1
Merriam-Webster defines “graphic design” as:

"The art or profession of using design elements (as typography and images) to convey information or create an effect"

Surely Graphic Design is much much more than this? This seems very dull !

Personally I feel graphic design is a way for me to convey my Ideas, emotions and provoke reactions. Its a way of communicating an Idea quickly, simply and effectively after all a 'picture paints a thousand words'. Its a style of creativity that allows me to expresses myself in ways that no other form of art can. But that's just me and I am constantly re-defining these views ..... how would you define Graphic Design?

Kate
 
#5
There was an interesting essay on this very subject on Design Observer about a year ago, I can't remember if it came to any such conclusion (so I'm not sure why I mentioned it).

To put it simply it's just visual communication, much like the dictionary definition you quoted. We all know there's more to it than that and that there's a plethora of different facets to the profession, but as distilled definitions go, that's it—visual communication. I would argue your description (and any other) is just a more human and emotional way of saying the same thing.

I can't be bothered to look it up, but the definition of sport is probably as succinct and mechanical sounding. But we all know there's more to sport than 'competitive physical activity' or whatever.
 

philjohns

Senior Member
#6
Graphic Design...in my words....is the design of any graphics

Sorry if thats too short but its actually what I thought of straight off
 

berry

Active Member
#8
In my very first interview, before the Boar War. My future boss and mentor asked me; "What does a Graphic Designer do?" After the longest 5 minutes ever searching the ceiling for answers I replied meekly "designs graphics?" I didn't have a clue. ( Still got the job tho)
This is the first question I ask every time I guest lecture at Uni's or Colleges. 'What does an Art Director, Copywriter or Designer do?" Nobody ever gets it right. The answer is Sell. Our ultimate aim is to get someone to do something by the persuasion of design or advertising. Through pleasing and strategic thinking and design we engage and persuade to create a response.
 

Panasit

Junior Member
#9
visual communication. nothing more, nothing less.
fine art can communicate but it doesn't have to. Graphic Design always communicate.
Effectively or not is another story.
 

LankyDan

Junior Member
#11
A visual presentation to communicate a message, whether it be commercial or non-commercial... ??

Who knows.... There is no definitive answer... only opinions and there are as many opinions as there are people...

Sorry for not being more specific :)

D
 

br3n

Senior Member
#12
Berry said:
This is the first question I ask every time I guest lecture at Uni's or Colleges. 'What does an Art Director, Copywriter or Designer do?" Nobody ever gets it right. The answer is Sell. Our ultimate aim is to get someone to do something by the persuasion of design or advertising. Through pleasing and strategic thinking and design we engage and persuade to create a response.
Thats an interesting way of thinking about it, I like it.
 

berry

Active Member
#13
br3n said:
Thats an interesting way of thinking about it, I like it.
I wasted 15 years in this business before the penny dropped and I truly understood what my first boss ( who told me this at my first interview 30 years ago!) meant. I have been on a mission ever since to stop designers wasting precious time like I did. I can never get my 15 years of being a "designer' back. If I was a 'salesman' then I would have earned a lot more commission and would be in Barbados now.
Look at this way... why do you think the Account Director has the big company car, the luncheons and the expense account? and creatives sit with a sandwich and a tube pass?
 

mr_sharpe

Junior Member
#14
Purplegurl said:
Merriam-Webster defines “graphic design” as:

"The art or profession of using design elements (as typography and images) to convey information or create an effect"

Surely Graphic Design is much much more than this? This seems very dull !


Kate
The above definition is about right for me, but also remember it's one of the earliest forms of Human communication pre dating written language by thousands of years.
 

mr_sharpe

Junior Member
#15
Berry said:
In my very first interview, before the Boar War. My future boss and mentor asked me; "What does a Graphic Designer do?" After the longest 5 minutes ever searching the ceiling for answers I replied meekly "designs graphics?" I didn't have a clue. ( Still got the job tho)
This is the first question I ask every time I guest lecture at Uni's or Colleges. 'What does an Art Director, Copywriter or Designer do?" Nobody ever gets it right. The answer is Sell. Our ultimate aim is to get someone to do something by the persuasion of design or advertising. Through pleasing and strategic thinking and design we engage and persuade to create a response.
Influence might be a better term?
 

mr_sharpe

Junior Member
#17
Berry said:
Na! that's too soft.... We infuence people to create a sale. Therefore we Sell. Always go for the lowest common demoninator.
Influence through visual communication is the objective of the designer sales benefit from this.

I disagree about going for the lowest common denominator that's why there's so much trite, safe and boring design in the world.
 

berry

Active Member
#18
mr_sharpe said:
I disagree about going for the lowest common denominator that's why there's so much trite, safe and boring design in the world.
I disagree, there's is so much trite and safe and boring design in the world. But if it shifts products the it has achieved it's objective. That is what the client is paying us to do. Sell his goods, not create good design that leaves his product still sitting on the shelf. Selling and Design are two different principles that have to work hand in glove. This is business not art.
 

mr_sharpe

Junior Member
#19
Berry said:
I disagree, there's is so much trite and safe and boring design in the world. But if it shifts products the it has achieved it's objective. That is what the client is paying us to do. Sell his goods, not create good design that leaves his product still sitting on the shelf. Selling and Design are two different principles that have to work hand in glove. This is business not art.
Graphic design is neither business nor art - it is communication at it's most fundamental, it is about information first and foremost, not profit.

Advertising uses graphic design to sell things but that doesn't define what graphic design is.
What goods are sold by well designed signage and wayfinding? What profit is there on warnings on medicine? Maps? Books?

Sorry but I cannot agree that the purpose of graphic design is to create profit.
 
#20
I'm not sure where I picked this up, but I've always believed that Graphic Designers, visually, solve communication problems.

Works for me.

Edit: As mentioned above...