Do you understand Graphic Design?

by Kelly Hobkirk

Say you’ve just started a business, or you’re a marketing manager. You have a unique idea or approach, the inspiration to give your idea wings, and the motivation to make it happen. You know you need to promote, so you will need graphic design and web design. For many business owners, this is the point where things get either complicated, difficult or confusing. But you can keep it simple, armed with just a tiny bit of understanding about graphic design. In fact, knowing too much might make it more complicated than it needs to be.

4 Things to know about graphic design

The first thing you need to know is that business graphic design is never about making things look pretty. If that’s the focus, the design will fail. This might sound like an odd thing to say, but you would be amazed at how often people say that’s why they need a graphic designer– “to make it look pretty.” What you need is graphically rich, smartly-designed strategic communications, the kind a talented graphic designer can deliver.

To put this in a more positive frame, good graphic design is strategically sound. As a graphic designer, it’s my job to discover a complex set of variables and craft a unique, easy-to-understand design that embodies a brand, product or communication need.

The second thing you ought to know is that design is always purposeful. If your graphic design lacks purpose, the final design will appeal to people who lack purpose. That is, it will appeal to no one. Tell me, who do you know that lacks purpose when making a buying decision?

The third thing you need to know is that there are no shortcuts in graphic design. Software does not make you a graphic designer, and in most cases, it simply makes poor design, lacking the aforementioned strategy and purpose, much easier (which is kind of scary, considering the budgets required for graphic design). Skipping any of the preliminary steps in graphic design invariably results in boring or ugly or off-target design. Taking shortcuts will surely lead to failure. Processes exist because they work. A good graphic design process leads to success.

Probably the most important thing to know about graphic design is that good design strikes an almost magical balance between what you like and what appeals to your ideal customers. I’ve heard of graphic design that appeals solely to customers, but I believe that type of design leads people and companies to misery. You must like everything you send out the door because it represents you. If you don’t like it, what does it say about you? On the other hand, if you thoroughly like your brand and all of the graphic design solutions used to embody your brand in your marketing, you can be proud of everything you put out into the world. And that’s really what design does. Graphic design helps people communicate complex ideas in seemingly simple ways.

Posted by Kelly Hobkirk • October 19, 2012 • Tags: