So, my Grandmother doesn’t understand what I do. I find this to be a common situation when people ask me what it is I actually do. The fact that my field is called by so many names doesn’t help: Graphic design, visual arts, digital media, communication design, design communication, communication arts, and so on. So what is graphic design? What does a graphic designer actually do? A designer creates visual communication. I help people develop ways to communicate through imagery and express intent to convey meaning to an audience.
Graphic design is about framing ideas, projecting attitudes, promulgating styles, and managing information, but not always at the same time. The idea is to be a problem solver and the first step is the most important. A designer must initially question for whom the message is intended. Who is the target audience, the end user? Once this is established (and understood), a designer is able to determine a tone and concept. Only then are text and imagery combined to create substantive graphics.
For me design communication is not about personal expression. My job is to inform and educate an audience on behalf of my client. Graphic design is part of the culture and economy and too often, designers rely on gimmicks or “pretty” images instead of actually communicating to the audience. Design must have substance in order to have a lasting impact. Mimicking the latest trend may be splashy, but a designer needs to question the longevity of his or her design decisions. Style must also have substance. Design theory and technique with an emphasis on establishing a strong concept are the basis of my design work – along with having a bit of fun.