Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term "graphic design" is used synonymously. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages. They use typography, visual arts, and page layout techniques to create visual compositions. Common uses of graphic design include corporate design (logos and branding), editorial design (magazines, newspapers and books), advertising, web design, communication design, product packaging and signage.
- 1 History
- 2 Applications
- 3 Skills
- 4 Tools
- 5 Related Design Fields
- 6 Occupations
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 External links
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While Graphic Design as a discipline has a relatively recent history, it was first coined by William Addison Dwiggins in 1922, graphic design-like activities span the history of humankind: from the caves of Lascaux, to Rome's Trajan's Column to the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, to the dazzling neon lights of Ginza, Tokyo. In "Babylon, artisans pressed cuneiform inscriptions into clay bricks or tablets which were used for construction. The bricks gave information such as the name of the reigning monarch, the builder, or some other dignitary". Arguably, this could have been identified as the first billboard or road sign announcing the name of the governor of a state or mayor of the city today. The Egyptians developed communication by hieroglyphics which used picture symbols dating as far back as 136 B.C. found on the Rosetta Stone. "The Rosetta stone, found by one of Napoleon's engineers was an advertisement for the Egyptian ruler, Ptolemy as the "true Son of the Sun, the Father of the Moon, and the Keeper of the Happiness of Men""  The Egyptians also invented papyrus, paper made from reeds found along the Nile, on which they transcribed advertisements more common among their people at the time. During the "Dark Ages", a period of time spanning from 500 AD to 1450 AD, monks kept symbols and writing alive while much of the citizenry did not engage in progressive learning, reading or writing.
In both its lengthy history and in the relatively recent explosion of visual communication in the 20th and 21st centuries, the distinction between advertising, art, graphic design and fine art is sometimes blurred. After all, they share many of the same elements, theories, principles, practices, languages, and sometimes the same benefactor or client. In advertising, the ultimate objective is the sale of goods and services. In graphic design, "the essence is to give order to information, form to ideas, expression, and feeling to artifacts that document human experience."
The history of graphic design in the United States began with Benjamin Franklin who used his newspaper; The Pennsylvania Gazette, to master the art of publicity. Not only did he promote his own books, he used the paper to influence what he thought the masses should read. "Benjamin Franklin's ingenuity gained in strength as did his cunning and in 1737 he had replaced his counterpart in Pennsylvania, Andrew Bradford as postmaster and printer after a competition he instituted and therefore won. He showed his prowess by running an ad in his General Magazine and the Historical Chronicle of British Plantations in America (the precursor to the Saturday Evening Post) that stressed the benefits offered by a stove he invented, named called the Pennsylvania Fireplace. His invention is still sold today and is known as the Franklin Stove. "
American Advertising was as visually appealing as primitive plumbing, it imitated British newspapers and magazines. Newspapers of that time generally offered 3 blocks of text reporting slaves who had run away from their masters. Advertisements were printed in scrambled type and uneven lines which made it difficult to read. Benjamin Franklin better organized this by adding 14-point type for the first line of the advertisement; although later it was shortened and centered, making a real headlines. Franklin's use of type was masterful; he instinctively knew what "appealed to the eye". It was Franklin who added illustrations, something that not even London printers had attempted and was considered most advanced. Benjamin Franklin was the first to utilize logos, which were early symbols that announced such advertisements as opticians with golden spectacles. Benjamin Franklin taught advertisers that the use of detail was important in telling the story of their products. The idea of storytelling created a monster, as some advertisements ran for 10-20 lines, including color, names, varieties, and sizes of the goods that were offered. Early advertisements reveal a great deal of our culture, the thoughts and conditions that the colonists faced during the establishment of this great nation in its advertising infancy.
Trading cards in the 17th and 18th century
The 17th- and 18th-century, advertising moved into trading cards, which had replaced handwritten announcements pasted on walls. This practice became widespread, and since space was limited, the new posters would be pasted overtop of others that had been pasted up only minutes before. A precursor to today's advertising code of ethics was developed. It started as an agreement that no advertisement would be posted over another if the paste was still damp (this form of paste dried very slowly). At best these ads gained only a few days of exposure. 
There were clear examples of bias in newspaper classified advertising early on, when many disparaging notices placed by husbands and masters of slaves when their wives or slaves ran away. The advertisers were not bound by codes of ethics but only through society. The truth was in-between the words that were used; however, the ads of the time did give an accurate picture of society and were used as a way to keep people accountable to themselves.[needs copy edit] The habits, practices and principles are engraved in these early advertisements and through viewing them we reunite with ages past. Colonial merchants, like merchants of today, followed to the customer. The trading post was the store and the peddler, a "walking catalog". A quote by Frederic Farrar, historian and newspaper salesman stated in October 1975 that, "Without newspapers there would have been no American Revolution and without advertising there would have been no newspaper".
The advent of printing
During the Tang Dynasty (618–907) between the 7th and 9th century AD, wood blocks were cut to print on textiles and later to reproduce Buddhist texts. A Buddhist scripture printed in 868 is the earliest known printed book. Beginning in the 11th century, longer scrolls and books were produced using movable type printing, making books widely available during the Song dynasty (960–1279).
Printing from movable type had been introduced a few centuries earlier, it was now being heavily relied upon for handbills or trade cards which were printed from wood or copper engravings during the 17th-18th century. These documents announced a business and its location. Hogarth, a famous painter from England also doubled his skill in engraving being one of the first to design for business trade.
A new age dawned in Mainz Germany, in the year 1448, Johann Gutenberg introduced moveable type in a new metal alloy. The invention of the printing press opened up a new era of commerce and trade. Previously, the most common way of advertising was word of mouth. Print expedited advertising methods in an explosive way. In France and London, for example, criers announced products for sale just as ancient Romans had done. This new invention replaced the maddening street noise. Visual representations were on the horizon as tradesmen desired to use this method to convey to the buying public the items they had for sale and their need to persuade the purchasers to use their products.
The printing press made books widely available in Europe. The book design of Aldus Manutius developed the book structure which would become the foundation of western publication design. This era of graphic design is called Humanist or Old Style. Additionally, it was William Caxton, England's first owner of a printing press that printed religious books and had trouble selling them. That brought him to discover the use of the left over pages and utilize them in announcing the sale of the books and post them on the church doors. This particular form of posting to the doors was termed "squis" or "pin up" posters, in approximately 1612 as the first form of print advertising in Europe. The term Siquis actually came from the Roman era when public notices were posted stating "if anybody...", which is Latin for "si quis". These printed announcements were followed by later public registers of wants called want ads and in some areas such as the first periodical in Paris advertising was termed "advices". The "Advices" were what we know today as want ad media or advice columns.
Later in 1638, British North America gets a printing press, from England. The printing press arrived at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. More than 52 years passed before another printing press arrived in Boston to Benjamin Harris, a London Bookseller who had immigrated to Boston. Benjamin Harris tried his hand at publishing a newspaper in serial form. Harris' attempt at publishing resulted in a paper entitled 'Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick'. It was four pages long and suppressed by the government after its first edition.
John Campbell is credited for the first newspaper, the 'Boston News-Letter', which appeared in 1704. The paper was known during the revolution as "Weeklies". It was termed so, as it took 13 hours for the printing ink to dry. Therefore, printing both sides of the paper would have required more than a day of drying time alone, plus the time to set the type, print and distribute. 'The solution was to first, print the ads and then to print the news on the other side the day before publication. The paper was for pages long having ads on at least 20%-30% of the total paper, (pages one and four) the hot news was located on the inside.' The initial use of the Boston News-Letter carried Campbell's own solicitations for advertising from his readers. Campbell's first paid advertisement was in his third edition, May 7 or 8th, 1704. Two of the first ads were for stolen merchandise which were two anvils and the third was for real estate in Long Island Oyster Bay, Owned by William Bradford, a pioneer printer in New York, the first to sell something of value. William Bradford, later publishes his first newspaper in 1725, New York's first, The New-York Gazette. William Bradford's son, preceded him in Philadelphia publishing the American Weekly Mercury, 1719. The Mercury and William Brooker's Massachusetts Gazette, published a day earlier were the 2 newspapers to be published following the Boston News-Letter.
Emergence of the design industry
In late 19th-century Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, the first official publication of a printed design was released which marked the separation of graphic design from fine art.
In 1849, Henry Cole became one of the major forces in design education in Great Britain, informing the government of the importance of design in his Journal of Design and Manufactures. He organized the Great Exhibition as a celebration of modern industrial technology and Victorian design.
From 1891 to 1896, William Morris' Kelmscott Press published books that are some of the most significant of the graphic design products of the Arts and Crafts movement, and made a very lucrative business of creating books of great stylistic refinement and selling them to the public. Morris created a market for works of graphic design in their own right to create a profession for this new type of art for aspiring individuals who wish to earn a living through these skills. The work of the Kelmscott Press is characterized by its obsession with historical styles. This historicism was, however, important as it amounted to the first significant reaction to the stale state of nineteenth-century graphic design. Morris' work, along with the rest of the Private Press movement, directly influenced Art Nouveau and is indirectly responsible for developments in early twentieth century graphic design in general.
Twentieth century design
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The term "graphic design" first appeared in print in the 1922 essay "New Kind of Printing Calls for New Design" by William Addison Dwiggins, an American book designer in the early 20th century. Raffe's Graphic Design, published in 1927, is considered to be the first book to use "Graphic Design" in its title.
In the 1920s, Soviet constructivism applied 'intellectual production' in different spheres of production. The movement saw individualistic art as useless in revolutionary Russia and thus moved towards creating objects for utilitarian purposes. They designed buildings, theater sets, posters, fabrics, clothing, furniture, logos, menus, etc.
Jan Tschichold codified the principles of modern typography in his 1928 book, New Typography. He later repudiated the philosophy he espoused in this book as being fascistic, but it remained very influential. Tschichold, Bauhaus typographers such as Herbert Bayer and László Moholy-Nagy, and El Lissitzky have greatly influenced graphic design as we know it today. They pioneered production techniques and stylistic devices used throughout the twentieth century. The following years saw graphic design in the modern style gain widespread acceptance and application. A booming post-World War II American economy established a greater need for graphic design, mainly advertising and packaging. The emigration of the German Bauhaus school of design to Chicago in 1937 brought a "mass-produced" minimalism to America; sparking a wild fire of "modern" architecture and design. Notable names in mid-century modern design include Adrian Frutiger, designer of the typefaces Univers and Frutiger; Paul Rand, who, from the late 1930s until his death in 1996, took the principles of the Bauhaus and applied them to popular advertising and logo design, helping to create a uniquely American approach to European minimalism while becoming one of the principal pioneers of the subset of graphic design known as corporate identity; and Josef Müller-Brockmann, who designed posters in a severe yet accessible manner typical of the 1950s and 1970s era.
The growth of the professional graphic design industry has grown in parallel with the rise of consumerism. This has raised some concerns and criticisms, notably from within the graphic design community with the First Things First manifesto. First launched by Ken Garland in 1964, it was re-published as the First Things First 2000 manifesto in 1999 in the magazine Emigre 51 stating "We propose a reversal of priorities in favor of more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication - a mindshift away from product marketing and toward the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning. The scope of debate is shrinking; it must expand. Consumerism is running uncontested; it must be challenged by other perspectives expressed, in part, through the visual languages and resources of design." Both editions attracted signatures from respected design practitioners and thinkers, for example; Rudy VanderLans, Erik Spiekermann, Ellen Lupton and Rick Poynor. The 2000 manifesto was also notably published in Adbusters, known for its strong critiques of visual culture.
From road signs to technical schematics, from interoffice memorandums to reference manuals, graphic design enhances transfer of knowledge and visual messages. Readability and legibility is enhanced by improving the visual presentation and layout of text.
Design can also aid in selling a product or idea through effective visual communication. It is applied to products and elements of company identity like logos, colors, packaging, and text. Together these are defined as branding (see also advertising). Branding has increasingly become important in the range of services offered by many graphic designers, alongside corporate identity. Whilst the terms are often used interchangeably, branding is more strictly related to the identifying mark or trade name for a product or service, whereas corporate identity can have a broader meaning relating to the structure and ethos of a company, as well as to the company's external image. Graphic designers will often form part of a team working on corporate identity and branding projects. Other members of that team can include marketing professionals, communications consultants and commercial writers.
Textbooks are designed to present subjects such as geography, science, and math. These publications have layouts which illustrate theories and diagrams. A common example of graphics in use to educate is diagrams of human anatomy. Graphic design is also applied to layout and formatting of educational material to make the information more accessible and more readily understandable.
Graphic wayfinding signage systems have become important for large public spaces such as airports and convention centers. These systems often depend on graphic design to communicate information quickly and economically through a color or symbol that can be read and followed from a distance (as opposed to large amounts of text). Such environmental graphic design systems allow people to navigate unfamiliar spaces. The term "architectural graphics" was coined by Jane Davis Doggett, pioneer designer of airport wayfinding systems, but the term more commonly used in 2014 is environmental graphics.
Graphic design is applied in the entertainment industry in decoration, scenery, and, visual story telling. Other examples of design for entertainment purposes include novels, comic books, DVD covers, opening credits and closing credits in filmmaking, and programs and props on stage. This could also include artwork used for T-shirts and other items screenprinted for sale.
From scientific journals to news reporting, the presentation of opinion and facts is often improved with graphics and thoughtful compositions of visual information - known as information design. Newspapers, magazines, blogs, television and film documentaries may use graphic design to inform and entertain. With the advent of the web, information designers with experience in interactive tools such as Adobe Flash are increasingly being used to illustrate the background to news stories.
A graphic design project may involve the stylization and presentation of existing text and either preexisting imagery or images developed by the graphic designer. Artistic pieces can be incorporated in both traditional and digital form, which involves the use of visual arts, typography, and page layout techniques for publications and marketing. For example, a newspaper story begins with the journalists and photojournalists and then becomes the graphic designer's job to organize the page into a reasonable layout and determine if any other graphic elements should be required. In a magazine article or advertisement, often the graphic designer or art director will commission photographers or illustrators to create original pieces just to be incorporated into the design layout. Or the designer may utilize stock imagery or photography. Contemporary design practice has been extended to the modern computer, for example in the use of WYSIWYG user interfaces, often referred to as interactive design, or multimedia design. Another aspect of graphic design is to have good research skills, analyzing a work of art and simultaneously seeing it in new ways. Graphic Design need skills such as power to convince the audience and selling the design. Communication is a key part in graphic design. The process of graphic design include the "process school" which is an approach to the subject that is concerned with the actual process of communication; it especially highlights the channels and media through which messages are transmitted and by which senders and receivers encode and decode. Semiotic School on the other hand, is message as a construction of signs which through interaction with receivers, produces meaning; communication as an agent. The process school is like the way in which a message is brought out to society.
Typography is the art, craft, and techniques of type design, modifying type glyphs, and arranging type. Type glyphs (characters) are created and modified using a variety of illustration techniques. The arrangement of type is the selection of typefaces, point size, tracking (the space between all characters used), kerning (the space between two specific characters), and leading (line spacing).
Typography is performed by typesetters, compositors, typographers, graphic artists, art directors, and clerical workers. Until the Digital Age, typography was a specialized occupation. Digitization opened up typography to new generations of visual designers and lay users.
The page layout aspect of graphic design deals with the arrangement of elements (content) on a page, such as image placement, and text layout and style. Beginning from early illuminated pages in hand-copied books of the Middle Ages and proceeding down to intricate modern magazine and catalogue layouts, structured page design has long been a consideration in printed material and more recently in electronic displays such as web pages. Elements usually consist of type (text), images (pictures), and (with print media) occasionally place-holder graphics for elements that are not printed with ink such as die/laser cutting, foil stamping or blind embossing.
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing on paper and other materials or surfaces. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each piece is not a copy but an original since it is not a reproduction of another work of art and is technically known as an impression. Painting or drawing, on the other hand, creates a unique original piece of artwork. Prints are created from a single original surface, known technically as a matrix. Common types of matrices include: plates of metal, usually copper or zinc for engraving or etching; stone, used for lithography; blocks of wood for woodcuts, linoleum for linocuts and fabric plates for screen-printing. But there are many other kinds, discussed below. Works printed from a single plate create an edition, in modern times usually each signed and numbered to form a limited edition. Prints may also be published in book form, as artist's books. A single print could be the product of one or multiple techniques.
Aside from technology, graphic design requires judgment and creativity. Critical, observational, quantitative and analytic thinking are required for design layouts and rendering. If the executor is merely following a solution (e.g. sketch, script or instructions) provided by another designer (such as an art director), then the executor is not usually considered the designer.
The method of presentation (e.g. arrangement, style, medium) may be equally important to the design. The appropriate development and presentation tools can substantially change how an audience perceives a project. The image or layout is produced using external traditional media and guides, or digital image editing tools on computers. Tools in computer graphics often take on traditional names such as "scissors" or "pen". Some graphic design tools such as a grid are used in both traditional and digital form.
In the mid-1980s, the arrival of desktop publishing and graphic art software applications introduced a generation of designers to computer image manipulation and creation that had previously been manually executed. Computer graphic design enabled designers to instantly see the effects of layout or typographic changes, and to simulate the effects of traditional media without requiring a lot of space. However, traditional tools such as pencils or markers are useful even when computers are used for finalization; a designer or art director may hand sketch numerous concepts as part of the creative process. Some of these sketches may even be shown to a client for early stage approval, before the designer develops the idea further using a computer and graphic design software tools.
Computers are considered an indispensable tool in the graphic design industry. Computers and software applications are generally seen by creative professionals as more effective production tools than traditional methods. However, some designers continue to use manual and traditional tools for production, such as Milton Glaser.
New ideas can come by way of experimenting with tools and methods and some designers explore ideas using pencil and paper. Others use many different mark-making tools and resources from computers to sculpture as a means of inspiring creativity. One of the key features of graphic design is that it makes a tool out of appropriate image selection in order to possibly convey meaning.
Computers and the creative process
There is some debate whether computers enhance the creative process of graphic design. Rapid production from the computer allows many designers to explore multiple ideas quickly with more detail than what could be achieved by traditional hand-rendering or paste-up on paper, moving the designer through the creative process more quickly. However, being faced with limitless choices does not help isolate the best design solution and can lead to endless iterations with no clear design outcome.
A graphic designer may use sketches to explore multiple or complex ideas quickly without the distractions and complications of software. Hand-rendered comps are often used to get approval for an idea execution before a designer invests time to produce finished visuals on a computer or in paste-up. The same thumbnail sketches or rough drafts on paper may be used to rapidly refine and produce the idea on the computer in a hybrid process. This hybrid process is especially useful in logo design where a software learning curve may detract from a creative thought process. The traditional-design/computer-production hybrid process may be used for freeing one's creativity in page layout or image development as well. In the early days of computer publishing, many "traditional" graphic designers relied on computer-savvy production artists to produce their ideas from sketches, without needing to learn the computer skills themselves. However, this practice has been increasingly less common since the advent of desktop publishing over 30 years ago. The use of computers and graphics software is now taught in most graphic design courses.
Nearly all of the popular and "industry standard" software programs used for graphic design since the early 1990s are products of Adobe Systems Incorporated. Adobe Photoshop (a raster-based program for photo editing) and Adobe Illustrator (a vector-based program for drawing) are often used in the final stage of the electronic design process. Designers often use pre-designed raster images and vector graphics in their work from online design databases. Raster images may be edited in Adobe Photoshop, logos and illustrations in Adobe Illustrator, and the final product assembled in one of the major page layout programs, including Adobe InDesign. Most graphic designers entering the field since about 1990 are expected to be proficient in at least one or two of these programs.
Related Design Fields
Since the advent of the World Wide Web and computer software development, many graphic designers have become involved in interface design, in an environment commonly referred to as a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This has included web design and software design, when end user interactivity is a design consideration of the layout or interface. Combining visual communication skills with the interactive communication skills of user interaction and online branding, graphic designers often work with software developers and web developers to create both the look and feel of a web site or software application and enhance the interactive experience of the user or web site visitor. An important aspect of interface design is icon design.
User experience design
User experience design considers how a user interacts with and responds to an interface, service or product and adjusts it accordingly.
Experiential graphic design
Experiential graphic design is the application of communication skills to the build environment. This area of graphic design requires practitioners to possess knowledge of creating large scale physical installations which have to be manufactured and withstand the same sort of environmental conditions as buildings. As such, it is a cross-disciplinary collaborative process involving designers, fabricators, city planners, architects, manufacturers and large project building teams.
Experiential graphic designers try to solve problems that people encounter while interacting with buildings and space. Examples of practice areas for environmental graphic designers are wayfinding, placemaking, branded environments, exhibitions and museum displays, public installations and digital environments.
Graphic design career paths cover all ends of the creative spectrum and often overlap. Employment within Graphic Design involves workers performing specialized tasks, such as design services, publishing, advertising, and public relations, while receiving a median pay of $53,026.00 per year. The main job responsibility of a Graphic Designer is the arrangement of visual elements in some type of media. The main job titles within the industry can vary and are often country specific. They can include graphic designer, art director, creative director, animator and the entry level production artist. Depending on the industry served, the responsibilities may have different titles such as "DTP Associate" or "Graphic Artist", but despite changes in title, graphic design principles remain consistent. The responsibilities may come from, or lead to, specialized skills such as illustration, photography, animation or interactive design. Today's graduating graphic design students are normally exposed to all of these areas of graphic design and urged to become familiar with all of them as well in order to be competitive. Graphic designers will face strong competition when applying for positions, in which organizations are looking for candidates with convincing talents and a college-level education; field requirements consist of having strong portfolio and a bachelor's degree. Due to the increase in technology, employment rates within computer systems design are expecting a 35% increase, while traditional designs, such as publications, are facing slower rates of 16% or less.
Graphic designers can work in a variety of environments. Whilst many will work within companies devoted specifically to the industry, such as design consultancies or branding agencies, others may work within publishing, marketing or other communications companies. Increasingly, especially since the introduction of personal computers to the industry, many graphic designers have found themselves working within non-design oriented organizations, as in-house designers. Graphic designers may also work as freelance designers, working on their own terms, prices, ideas, etc.
A graphic designer reports to the art director, creative director or senior media creative. As a designer becomes more senior, they may spend less time designing media and more time leading and directing other designers on broader creative activities, such as brand development and corporate identity development. They are often expected to interact more directly with clients, for example taking and interpreting briefs.
Crowdsourcing in graphic design
Jeff Howe of Wired Magazine first used the term "crowdsourcing" in his 2006 article, "The Rise of Crowdsourcing." It spans such creative domains as graphic design, architecture, apparel design, writing, illustration etc.; Tasks may be assigned to individuals or a group and may be categorized as convergent or divergent. An example of a divergent task is generating a large number of designs for a poster. An example of a convergent task is selecting one poster design.
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|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Graphic Design|
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