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What is Graphic Design - The Full Picture for Beginners

The Basics of Graphic Design

The world of graphic design is a visually intriguing place, where once you enter you can’t help but wonder what is graphic design. The easiest way to understand this is to consider a graphic designer as a visual communicator. They create various visual concepts such as illustrations, images, and videos, to communicate ideas to inspire, inform or captivate customers. 

Graphic design involves understanding the basics of design and colour theory to create visuals that effectively communicate key messages to consumers. Proper graphic elements come into play when creating something that appeals to customers in the right way. 

Graphic designers create keeping in mind the elements and principles of design and a good designer will also understand how to break the rules when needed. Creativity is the backbone of this industry, and when combined with problem solving skills, results in successful design projects. 

Elements of Design

There are six elements of design that are used across the board in all types of design. These are as follows:

  1. Line
    This is one of the most important elements of design, and determines where the focus of the viewer will go. There can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or curved lines which can be short, tall, and thick or thin. 
  2. Colour
    Colour can also help determine the mood of the design, and how the consumer will feel when looking at the finished product. This involves understanding the colour wheel and the basis of colour theory.
  3. Shape
    This can include geometric shapes like the goold old squares and circles, or organic shapes like speech bubbles or a blob.
  4. Texture
    Texture is the way a surface would feel to the touch, this can be illustrated visually and is important when creating any sort of design.
  5. Typography
    The way the text appears is an important element of design, and the type of font used will determine the emotions a user will feel when exposed to the design. 
  6. Framing
    This creates a sort of hierarchy for the views, and guides the eyes to the most important information first. 

Principles of Design

There are seven principles of design that are applied to the elements. These are as follows:

  1. Emphasis
    The most important information is highlighted first in the design.
  2. Balance and Alignment
    It is important to balance out and align the space within your design, as all elements have weight. 
  3. Contrast
    This creates some space and difference within the design between the various elements used. 
  4. Repetition
    The brain likes patterns, and using repetition effectively is important in creating designs. 
  5. Proportion
    This is the visual size and weight of the elements used within the design.
  6. Movement
    The eye of the viewer is led from one element to the next within the composition.
  7. White space
    The blank space within the design that erases clutter to properly communicate the brand message.

How to Become a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers have some form of education, usually a college Graphic Design diploma, that reflects their understanding of communication design, as well as, a portfolio to illustrate their work for potential employers and clients. They can work as art directors, graphic artists, web designers, creative designers, and much more. There are opportunities to freelance in the industry, as well as, work for a company. It can be a rewarding career full of numerous creative opportunities and unlimited room to grow.

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