Knowing the types of graphic design can greatly help your success. Some terminology associated with graphic design are visual communications, commercial artist and graphic artist. All these terms are used interchangeably. When you think of a graphic designer you may think of someone who designs brochures, logos and posters. The trend by some organizations has been to get rid of the graphic part altogether, and call their staff in the occupation designers. No matter what the term, like other occupations there are many different types of graphic designers and specializations. If you needed surgery you wouldn’t go to your general doctor.
In fact, Most designers have a few design types under their belt. I have never seen just a designer who had only one specific type of experience. If, for example, you hired a brand designer they usually would have experience in both print and digital, or they may be additionally experienced in package design. Understanding the types of designers is a good start to helping you obtain the content you need. Below are 10 different graphic design types to help create the content you need.
1. Branding and Visual Identity
Branding is very important part of a companies Identity. Graphic designers can specialize in visual assets and guidelines that characterize a brand. Many corporate companies like, Pepsi, Apple, McDonalds depend on branding to define who they are, so an audience can quickly associate with their products. Colors, fonts and logos are a big part of design. Branding needs plenty of input from those in charge of a company’s vision, values, and culture. Graphic designers alike need to have a competent understanding of how a company’s visuals relate to its business strategy.
Design Examples of Branding and Visual Identity Are:
- Logo Design
- Business Cards
- Brand Guidelines
- Office Stationary
2. Marketing, Promotion, and Advertising Design
Marketing, Promotion, and Advertising Design is one of the most popular graphic design disciplines, since not only does it overlap with many other types of disciplines, but companies widely use it to market their products and services. When your marketing materials are concise, imaginative, and eye-catching, you’re bound to see a profit. Frequent companies use advertising agencies to help them promote their products.
Designers work is with various mediums such as digital, print, video and social media. Aspects of designs are to keep a visual consistency across campaign materials, and creative concepts.
Examples of Marketing, Promotion, and Advertising Design are:
- Magazine, newspaper ads
- Social media and banner ads
- Posters, banners, billboards and displays
- Email Marketing visuals
- Promotional branding items
3. UX/UI (User Experience and User Interface)
User experience design or user interface[link to out other blog] is the process of designing the look, feel, and interactivity of a digital product. It focuses on the user, and gathers this information to create buttons, icons, scrollbars, pop-ups and more, for apps and online applications. It is based in the digital world and can overlap with web design. Where as web design focuses on everything of a website, UX designers focus on functional applications like, Microsoft excel, SaaS applications like booking an airline or hotel, mobile games, or an app on your phone. UX/UI designers are concerned with micro layouts and mobile specifications for button sizes, interactions and how to make the most out of small spaces..
Examples of UX/UI Design are:
- Mobile apps
- Game apps
- Online apps
- Computer applications
- E-commerce website
4. Web/Digital Design
Web design ties closely with UX/UI design, which aims to create an interface that balances aesthetic appeal on the front end page with optimal usability. Page layout, typography and choosing images are a big part of web design. Designers have to be concerned with how a layout looks on different devices. Digital designers have to be knowledgeable about the mechanics of responsive design, the elements of what make a good website, be familiar with HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), digital image formats, and pixel size dimensions.
Examples Web/Digital Design are:
- Landing Pages
- Social Media Banners and ads
- HTML Email Designs
- Banner Ads
- Online Motion Graphics
Some people say that print design is worlds away from digital design. As a designer I would greatly disagree. The Design principals are all the same, and the only difference is technical. These technical differences include such things as, color profiles like CMYK vs RGB and 72 Pixels for screen sizes vs 300 pixels for print. There are different technical things to know about print, like paper selection, Pantone inks, the 4 color ink process, foil stamping and netting. Along with this knowledge, designers also need to know about large format printing, printer specifications, and mass production methods.
Examples of print include:
- Newspaper, Magazine, books
- Posters, light boxes, banners, billboards
- Point of Purchase (POPs) displays
- Promotional materials (matchbooks, t-shirts, table-tents)
- Flyers, brochures, business cards
6. Package Design
Attractive packaging can set your product apart from the competition. Through creative application of color, shape, and typography, packaging becomes another way for companies to promote their brand directly to their consumers. Package designers have be knowledgeable in container mechanics, folding, glueing and printing processes. It is also important for designers to have experience with understanding product marketing strategy.
Examples of Package Design include:
- Food and beverages
- Toys, games
- boxes, canisters, bags
7. Publication Design
Publication design involves creating designs for books, magazines, newspapers and catalogs. Both print and online digital skills are needed. Graphic designers should have experience with the printing processes, book and magazine layouts, cover designs, and typography.
Examples of Publication Design includes:
- Books and e-books
- Magazines and catalogs (print and online)
- Newspapers and Newsletters
8. Motion Animation Graphics
Motion graphics is the type of graphic design that can be anything from simple animated text to full blown out graphic effects used in movies. There is a broad range of skill when it comes to motion graphics and further specializations. Motion designers can specialize in character animation, 2D or 3D motion graphics, modeling, gaming, visual effects or web coded animation. Your project will determine what kind of motion designer you will need.
In addition to knowing good design principles, designers need to be skilled in the art of timing, and drawings skills are a big beneficial skill.
Examples of Motion Graphics include:
- Video Games
- Video Title sequences, graphics and credits
- Animated cartoons
- Animated charts and infographics
9. Presentation Design
Presentation design is the method of creating ideas, stories, words, and images into a set of slides that are meant to inform, inspire, and persuade audiences. Presentations are common in our professional careers, but to often are done by the presenter who is inexperienced with graphic design principles. Presentations can be crucial to your companies sales and capital needs. When this is needed, creating engaging content and clear messages are often created by presentation design specialist. The most popular software for creating presentations is PowerPoint. However, other programs are available. Designers need to be proficient in PowerPoint, Adobe software and other presentation programs. They need to be strong in composition and knowledgeable about Gestalt design principles.
Examples Presentation Design include:
- Pitch Deck (capital, sales)
- Educational presentation
- Motivational presentation
10. Illustration for Graphic Design.
Even though Illustration is of its own type, it is mentioned here, since it is an integral part of design. Illustration for Graphic Design mostly deals with computer generated illustrations that contain elements, known as vectors. These vectors can be manipulated into different shapes, sizes and colors. Buying stock illustrations is common by designers who use these illustrations in their designs. Clients sometimes do not realize that a designer with good drawing skills can enhance and change these illustrations to suite their needs. Many of these vector illustrations appear in icons, logos and informational graphics. Other non vector illustrations are created with traditional methods such as paint, pen and ink, and colored pencil. Ultimately, creating unique illustrations enhances the value of your brand.
Examples of Illustration for Design include:
- Informational Graphics
- Book and Magazine Covers
- T-shirt Designs
Equally important of knowing the types of graphic designers, there are other significant considerations to think about when hiring. Good design is good design no matter how you slice it. A designer having the knowledge of good design principals may be more important than what types of specialties they have experience with. The amount of experience could be the deciding factor. Certainly in either case, it helps to know about the different kinds of design disciplines that can benefit your goals.
Article Written by: Michael Gugliotto