What is Graphic Design?
Graphic design is the process of creating visual and textual content in order to communicate messages to a target group. It involves the application of typography, photography, and illustration, in combination with visual hierarchy and page layout techniques. Twenty-first-century graphic design extends beyond traditional print media and includes web design, packaging, wayfinding, and exhibition design. The history of graphic design begins with the production of manuscripts in ancient civilizations, which placed an emphasis on typography. For centuries, early artists-usually commissioned or, like medieval monks, duty-bound by vocation to work in the realms of mysticism, religion, and state affairs-had few tools at their disposal. They had to etch and ink representations painstakingly on stone, clay, papyrus, bark, parchment, and vellum. With technological progress (i.e., the invention of movable type and eventually computers), the field developed into a distinct profession. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the creation of print media (e.g., advertisements, books for mass/worldwide distribution, and magazines) using a combination of visual and textual content grew. In 1922, William A. Dwiggins, an American type designer, calligrapher, and book designer, introduced the term graphic design to describe the emerging field. Throughout the rest of the 20th century and into the 21st, the field continued to advance; globally, it spans multiple media, both static and interactive. The term “graphic design” is closely related to visual design and information design. Although interpretations may vary, at the heart of all descriptions lies a human-centered design process. Understanding the users’ information needs and visual processing capabilities is key to designing visual information that successfully communicates the desired message. Perhaps unsurprisingly, for designers creating work for ever-increasingly mobile audiences, augmenting graphic design to suit the user’s context is a heavyweight matter to bear in mind at all times.