Graphic design is the art of choosing and composing visual elements like typography, images, symbols and colours to communicate the message. It is a combination of art, technology and Communication. The product of graphic design is where beauty and usability go hand in hand. It is one of the top 10 professions in the world with high pay. The profession sees a growth of 13% every year.
A Graphic designer works in various platforms like user interface design, user experience design, visual identity design, motion graphic design, advertising and marketing design, packaging design, publication design, multimedia and animation design, web design and so on.
History and Evolution of Graphic Design as a Field
Graphic design is a means of visual communication with a long journey from stone tools to digital tablets. History has spanned throughout the entire human existence. It is important to know the history as the trains are cyclical and can be inspired from the past. The history of graphic design dates back to manuscripts in ancient China, Egypt and Greece.
The evidence of early cave paintings ~38,000 BCE shows humans’ inherent drive towards art. One of the earliest written languages, the Sumerian written language 3300-3000 BCE, was logographic. Chinese printing including wooden block printing, non-papyrus paper printing dates back to 200-1040 CE.
During the 15th-century printing and book production developed along with which graphic design developed. The invention of the Gutenberg Press in 1439 during the Renaissance and Industrial era paved the way for many commercial ways of design. The first printed logo during the late 1400s, first print advertisement in the newspaper during the 1620s, affected shopping behaviour and increased commercial profits.
Chromolithography and the later colour printing technology during 1837 continued to progress the technical advancement in graphic design. In the late 19th century graphic design emerged as a profession in the West. The possibilities of technologies brought by the Industrial Revolution led to the development. In 1922 a typographer named William A. Dwiggins coined the term graphic design to structure and manage the visuals in book design.
The digital era of graphic design we see today has slowly approached from 1959 onward. The later development of technologies, digital software, art styles, paved the way for photo manipulation, flat design, illustration, etc. The history of graphic design is an ongoing process with new developments and inspirations from the past falling under the cycle.
Qualification and Skills for a Graphic Designer
A relevant subject for graphic design is a visual art, but degrees including the following subjects add to the qualification:
- Graphic Design
- 3D design
- Fine art
- Visual art
Or any design-based course and knowledge of design, art history and techniques add as a qualification. Some roles do not require a degree to practice as a graphic designer. In that case, a good portfolio of work is valued more than a standard educational qualification.
The ability to be creative, updated knowledge of the required software, professional management of time, cost and deadlines are some common work demands. Technical skills like Adobe Acrobat, Dream weaver, Illustrator, and InDesign are considered essentials.
Apart from technical drawing skills, the following skills help a graphic designer open to many opportunities:
- Passion and enthusiasm to be creative
- Flexible with teamwork
- Communication skills to interpret and negotiate ideas with team as well as clients
- Time and project management to work on parallel projects at once
- Attention to design details
- Being open for feedback
- Networking skills to build contacts
Work-life and Responsibilities of a Graphic Designer
A live project experience is considered the most valuable experience which can be through internships or placement experience. It helps in building a portfolio and adds to a reference, recommending a project.
Unlike any profession, the responsibilities of a graphic designer include:
- Meeting clients to discuss requirements
- Estimating deadlines and providing quotes for the project
- Developing design briefs
- Creating new concepts and ideas
- Working within time and cost constraints
- Keeping updated on technologies and software
- Working with allied professionals like photographers, publishers, illustrators, web designers, or other designers.
Top Paying Countries
It is always the developed countries that have high demand for workforce. The increasing demand for graphic designers in industries like filming, gaming, advertising, etc. has increased the pay scale for skilled graphic designers based on their work and experience. In that case USA is said to have a decline in the industry in spite of the growing technology, as it already is overwhelmed with skilled graphic designers. So the other countries that welcome graphic designers with a high payscale are as below,
The United Kingdom is one of the major design hubs and one of the highest salary paying countries for graphic designers, with an average annual income of $72,500.
Canada being a welcoming place for graphic designers, predicted to have the highest number of possibilities, is likely to pay an average of $48,750 annually.
United States of America
The United States of America with an average annual salary of $45,677 is said to have a decline in the field in the decade for it’s been an already overwhelmed field.
Top online courses for pursuing Graphic Design
The continuous need to update on the new software skills or brush up on the graphic foundations for other design fields, the online courses curated by experts from Universities and other teaching platforms offer a great help in the digital era.
Some of the top online courses are listed below,
- Graphic Design basics – A beginner-level course by Skillshare helps in understanding the basic principles that are used in the creative part of every design.
- Graphic Design Masterclass – A course by Udemy touching upon all the topics to start with graphic design as a career with certification.
- Graphic Design Specialisation – A specialisation course offered by Coursera with 5 topics covering different types of graphic design.
- Philip, M. (2005). Graphic Design. [Online] (Updated April 9 2021) Available at: https://www.britannica.com/art/graphic-design [Accessed date: August 14 2021]
- Design rush. (2021). Top Design Job Destinations – The Best Cities And Countries For Designers [Online] (Updated February 18 2021) Available at: https://www.designrush.com/trends/the-top-countries-and-cities-for-design-jobs [Accessed date: August 14 2021]
- Marsh, L. Graphic design masterclass – Udemy [Online Course] Available at: https://www.udemy.com/course/graphic-design-masterclass-everything-you-need-to-know/
- Lipton, E. Graphic Design Basics : Core Principles of visual design – skill share [Online Course] Available at: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Graphic-Design-Basics-Core-Principles-for-Visual-Design/1539782161?via=browse-rating-graphic-design
- California Institute of Arts. Graphic Design Specialisation – couriera. Available at: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Graphic-Design-Basics-Core-Principles-for-Visual-Design/1539782161?via=browse-rating-graphic-design