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Thread: What is Graphic Design

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    What is Graphic Design

    I am not sure what graphic design other then just what the name means. What sets it apart from the arts?
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    Great question. My interpretation is organized "graphic" communication. It's about clarity and readability. A logo is like a new letter in the alphabet. Good type determines how the reader reads it. Layout instructs the reader what to read and in what order.
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    Graphic Design is about communication. It's about arranging elements in ways that are pleasing to look at and practical to use. Every logo you see, every package design, every book cover, even every type font; they are all graphic designs that are intended to communicate with you in different ways. The color of the logo, the curve of the letters, the type on the package; each should give you little clues about the product or idea that they represent. For example: did you know that the colors red and yellow make you hungry? Jim Schindler sure did when he created McDonald's Golden Arches! While graphic design tends to be associated with commercialization and promoting products, it is an enjoyable, in depth art form as well.

    Often times the line between Graphic Design and Illustration becomes very blurred. Is this a graphic design or an illustration?

    What is Graphic Design

    Answer: it's both, and the intelligent combination is part of what makes it so pleasing. Even if your focus is in illustration, you would do well to keep an eye on the world of graphic design.
    Last edited by Ian Barker; July 6th, 2010 at 11:16 PM.
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    Using my own definition, I'd say it is the targeted communication of identity, message and status achieved by a manipulation of diverse visual and typographic elements through a variety of media and visual suggestion.

    i hope that makes sense, the heat here in Ontario is making me slow(er) tonight.
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    and as to the question about the dylan poster.

    There is placement of some kind of logo or text in the top right corner of the image.

    that's graphic design.

    The illustrative typeface, is both an illustration and typographic design. The combination of illustration and text to communicate the identity of the subject is also graphic design.
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    Liffey hit the nail on the head. Graphic design gets into the idea of art for communication. Art for selling. It's less focused on creating original art (most of the time) and more on arranging art and type to communicate an idea. More often than not, the idea is directly linked to selling.

    To me, there are 2 big parts of graphic design. 1) getting attention / being a visual "hook" and 2) arranging content so it's easier for readers to approach.
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    Out of curiosity, why is GD associated so much with "commercialization and promoting products" these days, anyway? I keep seeing that association crop up, but that was never the focus when I was learning, so I wonder is it a recent thing or was I taught by a different school of thought?

    As I've generally understood it, graphic design is all the things that have been mentioned so far, but chiefly communication - and usability and functionality. Designing things so that they'll work properly - in other words, good graphic design ensures something can be published easily and end up looking the way it's meant to look, and that something can be read/used/understood easily.

    For instance, designing a book so that it will be easy to read and also making sure the content will fit within a standard page size and count so the printers don't have conniptions. Or designing a web application so it's easy to use, looks consistent across browsers, and works with the code so the programmers won't have conniptions.
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    Fom this thread, my take on the relationship between illustration, graphic design, and (for lack of a better term) fine art:

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Out of curiosity, why is GD associated so much with "commercialization and promoting products" .
    Because GD is fundamental to marketing, and marketing is everywhere. Most graphic designers will at some point, if not most points, end up working on promoting commercial products and trying to communicate the value of the product to a target demographic.

    GD is also associated with public services, information, and helpful signage

    What is Graphic Design

    its not just the creation of the pictogram, and the accompanying typography. Its where you put the sign on the wall to most effectively communicate where the washrooms actually are, how visible you make it in relation to the space that it exists in (no point being huge if its on the wall of a small corridor, but hanging from the ceiling at Wal-Mart, it needs to be larger)

    This particular sign uses braille also, although im not sure how the blind person is supposed to know there is a sign to read there in the first place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExiledRed View Post
    Because GD is fundamental to marketing, and marketing is everywhere. Most graphic designers will at some point, if not most points, end up working on promoting commercial products and trying to communicate the value of the product to a target demographic.
    I take it this means most GD work these days is in advertising and marketing...

    I guess that makes sense, considering the publishing industry ain't what it used to be. It's funny, because in school the design classes I took focused on book and magazine design, and for work I've mostly done web design and application design. So marketing usually ends up being a lesser consideration for me, but I'm assuming that's totally not typical.
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    I wouldn't say GD is limited to just advertising and marketing. There is certainly work out there that fits in an 'art' category that has no commercial purpose.

    I do agree with the infographic Elwell presented. I originally was a film student in school but, felt like the program was focused too much on software and hardware - training technicians. Instead, I pursued GD in school because it was the program that felt like it focused the most on the elements & principles of design. I still have a passion for filmmaking but, design is the vehicle that informs my visual approach.

    -gl
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    I'm writing a LOOOONG explanation of graphic design, where it falls in relation to other related fields and why, and the typical work of graphic designers in the various visual fields. I'm also trying to put a massive flow chart together that might help explain away the confusion so many of us have about the term "graphic design." It's going to take at least a week, so keep cool and don't argue or get stupid.
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    The whole DADA movement would hate you all...

    =[

    The term "Graphic Design", as far as i'm concern, is an outdated term that completely ignores the state of the commercial world of visual communication.

    In a lot of respects things are similar, but also in a lot of ways the industry has melded into other groups.

    I would say that "Design" is the more appropriate term, in which case you are talking about presenting information, ideas, and images in a meaningful way (through any sort of external medium).

    Graphic design's goal is to produce work that defines itself based on the innate visual language of the society it reflects.

    Design, in practice is based on about 11 core points:
    Form
    Repetition of elements
    Structure/architecture of elements
    Similarity of elements
    Gradation of elements
    Radiation of elements
    Anomaly within the elements
    Contrast of elements
    Concentration (focal point)
    Visual Texture
    Use of Space

    Elements of Design are either conceptual, visual, relational, practical, or typographic.

    These concepts of design are not unique to the field, but they are the basis of all art...which is why i believe that the essence of design is at the heart of any sort of art.

    But honestly trying to define design is like trying to determine a roach from a waterbug....both of them get squished if i see them in my apartment...so i dont care.

    Last edited by JakehC; July 8th, 2010 at 11:47 PM.
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