What Is Graphic Design? An Ultimate Guide for Beginners

what is graphic design

When thinking about graphic design, we think of logos, billboards, publications, video games, and raster graphics, among other things.

For thousands of years, the art form itself has played a significant role in visual communication. Even prehistoric cave drawings and antique manuscripts contain early evidence of graphic design.

The graphic design industry today includes a wide range of specialties. Print and web design, animation, and motion graphics are just a few of the various fields and specialties that make up graphic design. It’s an exciting field that’s constantly changing, but because of its adaptability, it can be challenging for a newbie to comprehend what graphic design is and the kinds of work professionals undertake. Find the evolution of graphic design.

Graphic Design Definition

What is graphic design?

It is the practice of using words, pictures, and other visual elements to communicate ideas to an audience, often in order to achieve a certain result. To put it another way, graphic design is communication design; it is a means of expressing ideas through creating visual content.

Graphic design includes a variety of activities, such as designing a magazine’s layout, a play’s poster, and product packaging. but one thing they have in common is they communicate visually.

Importance of Graphic Design

There are many purposes for graphic design. It’s the foundation of any logo design. All of the posts, adverts and visual elements on social media is as a result of graphic design. Graphic design is also a component of other types of design, such as book covers, magazine layouts, product designs, and clothing designs.

The graphic design seeks to enhance or transmit a message.

Communication is streamlined through good graphic design. Imagine a spreadsheet that incorporates data analytics. To make it simpler for the viewer to comprehend what is going well and what needs to be corrected, a graphic designers may use different colors to show which metrics are increasing and which are decreasing.

A properly created piece of graphic design can also move the viewer’s emotions or even inspire them to act. For instance, the “sign up” page on a website is often created to persuade users to begin a free trial or join an email list. The goal of food package design is to increase the perceived attraction of the food inside.

Graphic Design Basics

To kickstart your graphic design career, you need to understand the basics. Understanding the components and guiding principles of design is crucial for comprehending graphic design. To produce aesthetically arresting and impactful designs, elements are combined or in opposition to one another.

Graphic Design Elements

The fundamental building blocks of every visual design, known as elements of art, establish the design’s framework and communicate its visual messages. The following are components of graphic design:


A shape is a two-dimensional defined area created by lines. Shapes come in a variety of forms, such as geometric, abstract, and organic shapes, which are all fundamental components of design.


The simplest design element is the line. Lines can be straight, curvy, thick, thin, two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or virtually anything at all! Simply put, a line is a design feature that is determined by a point traveling through space.


Due to the psychology behind the emotions that color can arouse, color is one factor that is very significant in drawing attention. Even individuals without a design background are able to recognize its impact immediately away. Colors can be classified into three categories: hue (the color family), value (how light or dark the color is), and saturation (the purity of the color).


The art of organizing text is known as typography. This one is crucial since it has a significant impact on the design’s messaging. Different font weights (bold, regular, or light), along with different sizes, colors, and spacing, can give the idea the designer is attempting to convey more strength. Good typography should provide a clear visual hierarchy, maintain balance, and convey the intended message.


In design, texture refers to how something appears to feel when touched. A texture could be rough, smooth, shiny, soft, or hard, for instance. Another aspect used to attract attention is texture. Other elements like forms, colors, images, and typography can be combined with it.


It simply refers to how big or little something is. In design, size is used to signify importance and, when employed in contrast, can provide aesthetic appeal to a piece of work.


The sections of the design that are left empty are referred to as “space.” Any space or area between, around, below, or above other design elements is included in these zones. Designers purposefully incorporate spaces to draw attention to specific design elements.

Principles of Graphic Design

According to design principles, the many aspects of a page layout should be placed in the best possible order to guarantee that each part of the overall design is connected to the others. The following are some design guiding principles:


The goal of alignment is to maintain the design’s order. To make a visual connection between the pieces, every element of the design needs to be positioned in relation to the top, bottom, center, or sides.


Achieving visual balance in graphic design is done by using symmetry and asymmetry. This is achieved by balancing the design in weight – meaning shapes, lines, and other elements are distributed evenly. So even if the two sides of the design aren’t the exact same, they have similar elements. Balance is important because it provides structure and stability to a design.


To draw attention to particular features of the design, contrast is used. By emphasizing differences between pieces, you may use contrast to draw attention to the essential components of your design that you want to stand out.


The design pieces have a visual connection thanks to proximity. It reduces clutter, improves viewer understanding, and gives viewers a focus point. Similar parts shouldn’t necessarily be placed adjacent to one another; rather, they should be related visually.


Repeat those patterns once you’ve decided how to employ your elements to create coherence across the design. By strengthening the design and connecting separate pieces, this repetition gives the impression of a well-organized movement.

Graphic Design Tools

With the ongoing digitalization of our world today, the design process has advanced significantly. Graphic designers yet continue to use classic graphic design instruments like the oil pencil and paper, despite the fact that these procedures have evolved over time.

The majority of graphic artists employ a hybrid workflow that combines analog and digital tools. Designers frequently begin the design process by roughing out ideas with conventional graphic design tools before launching into the computer for finalization. Many designers begin their careers by using graphic design software directly on computers. By allowing designers to explore ideas and produce designs more rapidly rather than having to do everything by hand, these technologies have improved the creative process. Check out 5 graphic design rules to follow if you’re a non-graphic designer.

Types of Graphic Design

The main responsibility of a graphic designer is to develop visual concepts that convey solutions and ideas to consumers in a way that inspires, educates, and captivates them.

In becoming graphic designers, you have to become familiar with some of the different types of graphic design.

Graphic design has grown to be rather diverse over time. The overarching idea is made up of various disciplines and specialties. To get your creative juices flowing, here are some of the most typical types of graphic design are listed below:

  • Visual identity graphic design
  • Marketing and advertising graphic design
  • Publication graphic design
  • Motion graphic design
  • User interface (UI) graphic design
  • Packaging graphic design
  • Environmental graphic design
  • Art and illustration for graphic design

Visual identity

A brand is a connection between a company or group and its target market. The way a company communicates its personality, tone, and essence, as well as memories, emotions, and experiences, is through its brand identity. Graphic design for visual identity is exactly what it sounds like: the visual components of brand identity that serve as the public face of a company and convey its intangible attributes through pictures, patterns, and color.

Visual identity graphic designers work with brand stakeholders to develop assets like logos, typography, color schemes, and image libraries that convey the essence of a business. Graphic designers and branding agencies frequently create a collection of visual brand guidelines, which outline best practices and offer examples of visual branding used across many media, in addition to the conventional business cards and corporate stationery. Because the choices they make will influence all following design projects for that brand, good brand designers are knowledgeable in marketing design, web design, logo design, and many other facets of graphic design. These rules aid in maintaining brand consistency across all upcoming applications. Create your event graphic design with these simple steps.

One of the most popular types of design is visual identity design. To produce design elements that work well in every visual media, these graphic designers need to have a general understanding of all forms of graphic design. They also require great communication, imaginative and creative thinking, as well as an enthusiasm for studying various markets, businesses, trends, and rivals.

Marketing and advertising design

Most people envision designs made for marketing and advertising when they think about graphic design. Graphic design helps firms advertise and communicate more successfully since people will always find visual content more interesting.

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To influence the purchasing decisions of their target audience, businesses rely on effective marketing campaigns. Good marketing appeals to people’s desires, needs, awareness, and satisfaction with a given good, service, or brand. Graphic design helps firms advertise and communicate more successfully since people will always find visual material more interesting. They generate concepts, investigate customer behavior, and create designs that appeal to the intended audience. Check out the complete guide about graphic design posters.

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To produce materials for marketing strategies, marketing designers collaborate with business owners, directors, managers, or other marketing professionals. They might function independently or as a member of an internal or creative team. Graphic designers can specialize in a particular form of media (like as brochures or infographics) or provide a wide range of collateral for print, internet, and other platforms. Despite being historically concentrated on print, this type of graphic design has expanded to encompass more digital resources, particularly for use in content marketing and online advertising. Check out the difference, marketing vs advertising.

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Excellent communication, problem-solving, and time management abilities are required of marketing designers. They must be skilled in a variety of graphic design, layout, and presentation apps in addition to having a working knowledge of print and web production. For new graphic designers, entry-level roles in this field are a terrific method to learn procedures and gain useful knowledge and expertise.


This is another important type of graphic design. Publications are lengthy works that reach an audience through widespread dissemination. Historically, they have been a print medium. A traditional design style is publication design—consider catalogs, books, newspapers, and magazines. But digital publication has significantly increased recently.

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Graphic designers working in publication design work with editors and publishers to create layouts with carefully selected typography and accompanying artwork, which includes photography, graphics and illustrations. Publication designers may work as freelancers, as creative agency members or in-house as part of a publishing company.

Publication designers must have great organizational, communication, and layout skills. They must be skilled in graphic design as well as color management, digital publishing, and printing.

Publication design focuses are magazines, newspapers, books, and many more.

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In a nutshell, motion graphics are static images that move. The effects employed in online media, television, and film can include animation, audio, typography, images, and video. The popularity of the medium has soared recently as a result of advancements in technology and the rise of video content.

A relatively recent specialty for designers is motion graphic designer. Technology advancements have lowered production time and expenses for the art form, which was once exclusive to TV and film, making it more accessible and affordable. The emergence of motion graphics as one of the newest design genres on all digital platforms has opened up a variety of new markets and career prospects.

Storyboards are created in the beginning by motion graphics designers, who then use animation, video, and traditional art to bring their concepts to life. A solid working understanding of marketing, coding, and 3D modeling can be definitely advantageous depending on the sector.

Examples of motion graphic design are adverts, tutorial videos, promo videos, and more. Find, why graphic design is important for business.

User interface

User interface is a type of graphic design. This design focuses on a design’s interactive elements. The way a user interacts with a tool or application is called the user interface (UI). Interface design (UI design) is the process of creating interfaces that are simple to use and offer a pleasant user experience.

The screen, keyboard, and mouse are all components of a user interface (UI), but in the context of graphic design, the UI design focuses on the visual experience of the user and the design of on-screen graphic elements including menus, buttons, and more. A UI designer must strike a balance between technological functionality and visual appeal.

Games, desktop apps, mobile apps, and web apps are the areas in which UI designers specialize. They collaborate closely with UI developers and user experience (UX) designers, who establish how the program functions (who write code to make it work). UI graphic and UX design are a part of the websites or games we engage with on our PCs today.

UI designers need to be collaborative individuals with strong graphic design skills as well as a solid grasp of UI/UX principles, responsive design, and web development. They require familiarity with programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in addition to graphic apps.

Web apps, mobile apps, and games are common areas of expertise for a graphic designer who concentrates on user interface design. Download your free banner templates here.

Packaging design

To safeguard and prepare products for storage, distribution, and sale, the majority need some type of packaging. The packaging design may speak to customers directly, which makes it a very effective marketing tool. Every box, bottle, bag, can, container, or canister is an opportunity to share the brand’s narrative. The packaging that goods are shipped in is just as crucial as the goods themselves.

Mockups, print-ready files, and concepts are all created by packaging designers for products. This calls for in-depth familiarity with print technologies as well as expertise of manufacturing and industrial design. It is usual for designers to find themselves producing additional assets for a product, such as photography and illustrations because packaging design crosses so many disciplines. Keep 7 things in your mind while creating a basic graphic design.

Packaging designers may be generalists or experts in a particular industry (such as food or manufacturing) or type of packaging (such as soda drinks or beverage cans). In addition to having a solid functional understanding of print and industrial design, their work demands top-notch conceptual and problem-solving abilities. To fulfill the demands of customers, marketers, and manufacturers, they must be adaptable and knowledgeable about current trends. Check out some signage design ideas.


Visually connecting individuals to places through environmental graphic design enhances their overall experience by making areas more memorable, fascinating, educational, or simple to navigate.

Here are a few examples of environmental design, which is a large category of design: hall branding, office branding, wall murals, museum exhibitions, and so on.

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Environmental graphic design that focuses on wayfinding uses landmarks, signs, and other visual clues to help people find where they are and where they need to go so they can get there without getting lost.

An interdisciplinary practice, environmental graphic design combines graphic, architectural, interior, landscape, and industrial design. To plan and carry out their concepts, designers work with specialists in a variety of various domains. As a result, designers frequently hold degrees in both graphic design and architecture. They need to understand the principles of industrial design and be able to interpret and sketch architectural designs.

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Art and illustration

Art and Illustrations are a type of graphic design frequently used in branding, marketing, and web design, but they are also employed in other contexts. Some designers work with larger design teams and specialize in providing illustrations only, providing unique assets for varied projects.

Graphic design and graphic art are sometimes mistaken for one another, but they are actually extremely different. A graphic designer produces compositions to convey ideas and address issues, whereas illustrators and graphic designers produce unique works of art. Their artwork can be seen in a variety of media, including fine art, décor, and narrative illustrations.

 what is graphic design examples

The illustration styles used by different designers might be very different. Others combine digital and physical mediums, starting with a pencil and paper, while some artists work almost entirely in digital formats using programs like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Corel Draw to produce the digital design.

Although technically not kinds of design, graphic art and illustration are produced in such quantities for commercial purposes that it is impossible to discuss one without the other.

In all forms of graphic design, graphic designers tend to work with writers, editors, managers, marketers, and art directors to produce their work using any combination of media and techniques. They ensure to follow brand guidelines. A foundation in fine arts, animation, or architecture is frequently included in them. It is easy to locate graphic designers who also operate as graphic artists and illustrators thanks to overlapping abilities and apps (and vice versa).

When asking what is graphic design, it is important to note that there are nine types of graphic design. Most importantly, there is a difference between graphic and web designers. Rarely does the size of the page alter in conventional print media. This makes it simple for graphic designers to consistently deliver content that is the ideal size. However, in the digital age, everyone has a screen of a different size. Web designers must take this into account when creating designs so that they may be used on big computer monitors, tablets, or tiny cellphones. Check out the complete guide to incorporating doodles in your graphic design.

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July 12, 2022
10 min read
22 reads

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