Graphic design is a blanket term that applies to any manner of artistic and professional communication media. A graphic designer is responsible for the visual impact of the thing that they are trying to sell, be it a poster or website. To the layperson, graphic design may simply conjure ideas of pictures on a page, but the graphic designer’s job is to organise every component of the visual aesthetic, including (but not limited to) illustrations, photographs, info-graphics and the font, size and placement of text. From book printing to websites, graphic designers have a hand in every creative industry. So if you’re looking for a new direction to take your skills, here’s 5 prospects to think about:
1. Interface design
This area of graphic design includes website design and software design. The graphic designer is responsible for the look of the visual elements that the user navigates through. Often involving many sub-projects within the larger design scope, interface design involves working with the branding of the website or software and creating a pleasing and useful visual aesthetic.
2. Print design
This can involve anything that is print-based, from poster printing to business card printing. In order to compete in a market flooded with competition, the importance of a logo, look and brand for a company is paramount if they want to gain any business. Your job as a graphic designer will be to work with your client and translate their needs and business mission into a two-dimensional representation that is attractive and attention-grabbing.
The placement of text on every page of any book has been painstakingly typeset by a designer. Typesetting involves taking the edited manuscript and fitting it into the constraints of a book according to set typesetting conventions. In short, book designers make the words look pretty. Using powerful programs such as Adobe InDesign or Quark, typesetters control the size of margins from the text to the edge of the page, ensure that there is adequate space between the lines of text, and make subtle changes to spacing to eliminate ‘orphans’ and ‘widows’ – one single line of a paragraph that is carried over to the next page. Typesetting is an involved profession that will bring out the perfectionist in you.
With the enormous range of fonts available online today the market is saturated with choice. However, this very same saturation is due to amateur font makers and has led to a significant loss in quality. Professional font makers still stand to make money from their fonts, and publishing houses will pay handsomely for a good design. There are many programs available in the Internet, but like with anything, the best have to be paid for. Many graphic designers are casual freelance font designers.
In-house graphic designer
Many companies, especially those with a large public image, will have a constant stream of advertising and a dedicated marketing team. This team will involve at least one graphic designer whose job it is to prepare and display the public face of the company by using existing branding, logos and copy.
Prospects for graphic designers are huge, yet there is great competition due to a constantly changing set of conventions and fashions. To keep on top of the game you need to find a niche that works for you and lead the field in that area. Where ever in the world of graphic design you end up, the principles remain the same: aesthetically pleasing and effective communication.