Have you ever experienced driving your car and being distracted by an eye-catching advertisement or road sign? If for even a few seconds this made you take your focus off the road, this means that the graphic designer of what you have seen has done his/her job perfectly.
Completed traditionally in conjunction with producers of form such as sign makers, printers or programmers, graphic design is a process between a designer and his/her client. Also referred to as “Communication Design” or “Visual Communication”, its main purpose is to communicate and convey a certain message to a targeted audience and to accomplish this purpose, graphic designers use several methods in creating and combining words, images and symbols. They may also use and combine several techniques like visual arts, typography and page layout. Graphic design may refer to both the process of communicating messages or to the product itself.
Graphic design may be in the form of a road sign, logo, manual, or even memorandums. One of the goals of graphic design is to make knowledge transfer easier by optimizing the use of color, symbols, words or images. This type of visual communication can help as well in selling an idea or product or in other words, to advertise effectively. For businesses, graphic design is used not just to avoid making their business look dull, but also to gain more of people’s attention to increase patronage and make the business stand out amongst its competitors. It may also be applied in entertainment such as filmmaking, making covers of novels or DVDs, or even props for stage plays. Another part of graphic design is information design, which is made to show information in a well-organized and creative manner. This part is used mostly for newspapers, magazines, documentaries or scientific journals.
One important technique in graphic design is typography. It is the art of arranging, modifying and designing type glyphs, which is crucial to almost all forms of graphic design. The arrangement of type glyphs may use the selection of point size, typefaces, leading or line spacing, line length, tracking or space adjustment between groups of letters and kerning or space adjustment between pairs of letters. Typography is performed not just by typographers and graphic designers but also art directors, typesetters, compositors, comic book artists, graffiti artists and anyone who does arrangement of types for a certain product. These people, in order to use typography efficiently, should understand and optimize the principles, terms and application behind this unique art.
A certain graphic design usually needs a certain type of font. A tip here is to be able to identify the best font that will most suit the purpose of the product you are working on. The designer needs to know about type families or options available in a typeface. Some examples of type families include italic, bold, roman, dense, light, combined and extended. Bold has higher weight than roman and may be either medium or black depending on the typeface weight. Italic is a font slanting to the right. Roman is a standard typeface mostly used in books. A thinner version of this is called Light. Extended is somehow wider than the standard typeface and can provide a better flexibility. Opposite of this is the condensed typeface and is used for narrow spaces. Today, Times New Roman, Arial, Courier and Helvetica are examples of common type families used.
If the product is difficult to read, the readers or audience may easily be turned off and ignore your hard work. This is one of the reasons why font selection is crucial. Graphic designers should make sure it is completely legible or else he/she fails graphic design’s main purpose. A more simple font is better than sophisticated ones unless the designer is working on headlines that should be bold, eye-catching and interesting.
Fonts also set the mood of the product. An example is the use of playful and light font for a children’s book or a children’s clothing line. Trying to use harsh and strong, or clean and serious fonts may give a different impression to customers.
Font metrics are also crucial to a successful graphic design. If the height, spacing, or the way the font flows are not that effective, the product would look indecent and would fail to stand out.
A high quality graphic design, no matter what its purpose is, makes use of varied techniques and elements in a tactful, creative and unique way. This means it requires hard work and creativity.