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The Evolution Of Graphic Design

The digital world has been relevant and people usually stay longer virtually compared to being in a site physically. Twenty-some years ago, we found ourselves in awe of how computers and the internet changed so many aspects of life. Just when we thought technology had reached its peak, we were also blithely aware that more was going to unfold.

In today's age, we can only look back at the impact the digital revolution made on how we communicate, the way we work, and even the way we socialize. Graphic design is no exception to this change. Technology now plays a major role in the creation of digital work available in many fields. Portfolio design, presentations, signage, logos, websites, animations, and even architectural production have all traveled far since the dawn of the digital revolution.

Appreciation In Graphic Design Investment

Gone are the days when graphic design was solely focused on the obvious graphic elements of a product like its packaging and marketing materials. Technology has enabled brands to have more exposure online, allowing businesses to interact with their clients and consumers, which has also allowed us the ability to review and analyze real-time data to measure and see what sources are driving more traffic. We can actually analyze digitally the type of content and graphics that are getting more media impressions, more likes, more saves, and, ultimately, are more appealing and converting to an audience.

With the internet as the major source of marketing and exposure, companies have invested so much in content creation for customer communication, analytics, and real-time feedback from consumers. Companies like Ikea and Johnson & Johnson employ the world’s most sophisticated marketing teams to spread their message and gain analytics across digital media globally. For example, according to the Digital Agency Network, Ikea launched a virtual-reality kitchen experience that brings you a life-size virtual IKEA kitchen. The pilot program is aimed at gathering feedback and suggestions from users. This is a great example of how companies are using analytics and customer feedback to improve their content marketing strategies and product offerings.

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Content marketing and the evolution of graphic design for digital marketing are continuing to rise. One industry that is seeing the impact of this growth is the hotel industry. It is the amalgamation of creativity, technology, and the right graphic and web design tools that made some businesses in the hospitality industry stand out from the rest. On paper, the last two years have been great for the hospitality industry, with digital marketing playing a huge role in generating revenue. Graphic design and quality content are influencing this, as the content remains king. Hospitality giants like Virgin Hotels and Marriot are continuing to invest in modern marketing to boost occupancy rates and get heads in beds. Virgin Hotels has seen an uptick in online bookings and is constantly A/B testing the content tiles on its website home page. These hotel brands can effectively generate engagement by presenting eye-catching graphics in online media to gain a competitive edge over others. Today’s hotel sites are no longer solely for contacts and reservations but also serve as a portfolio of the hotel’s interior design and amenities to gain critiques.

Connectivity And The Progression Of The Graphic Design Career

Along with the improvement of digital graphics technology, careers in this field have also evolved. Graphic designers are no longer glued to their workstations. With graphic design software now readily available on laptops and mobile phones through apps, it has made it much easier for them to work anywhere in the world, which also makes it easier for companies to outsource talent without having to hire in-house.

In 2016, Adobe made a whopping $5.85 billion compared to its $4.8 billion 2015 revenue. This figure represents what the company earned from its subscriptions that seamlessly connect Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator through its Creative Cloud. Graphic designers can now work anywhere they want and still be connected with their offices. This occasion led to the rise of freelance designers now working in their respective creative spaces anywhere in the world, which some companies have realized is much more cost-efficient than hiring someone in-house. Take Upwork, for instance. This company built its entire existence on the use of creative freelancers where companies, sole proprietors, or individuals can source freelance talent by reviewing resumes, portfolios, and reviews from clients in a matter of minutes.

It goes without saying that technology and creativity never take on a steady form, so it is inevitable for graphic design to change as we move forward. The rise of content marketing and good design is going to continue to make an impact on businesses’ bottom-line revenue. Graphic design will always be a necessary tool for artistic, economic, marketing, and architectural expression and will continue to evolve as a result of advances in technology and online mediums.

So what is graphic design, exactly? Listing these graphic design examples is a good start, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. While covering the details and intricacies of the entire graphic design field might not be possible in one article, this high-level overview will help you better understand this creative career field.

If you’re at all interested in becoming a professional graphic designer, keep reading to learn the basics of the field.

First, what is graphic design?

According to the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), graphic design is defined as “the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content.” In other terms, the graphic design communicates certain ideas or messages in a visual way. These visuals can be as simple as a business logo, or as complex as page layouts on a website.

“Graphic design takes graphical and textual elements and implements them into multiple types of media,” says designer Alexandros Clufetos, when asked to elaborate on the graphic design definition. “It helps the producer connect with the consumer. It conveys the message of the project, event, campaign or product.”

Graphic design can be used by companies to promote and sell products through advertising, by websites to convey complicated information in a digestible way through infographics, or by businesses to develop an identity through branding, among other things.

“Every day, we take many of the subtly artistic things around us for granted. But hidden in every magazine corner, exit sign, or textbook lies a set of design ideas that influence our perceptions,” says Jacob Smith, founder of illustration studio ProductViz.

It’s also important to remember that although many graphic design projects have commercial purposes like advertisements and logos, it is also used in other contexts and graphic design work is often created purely as a means for artistic expression.

Graphic design basics

To better understand the meaning of the graphic design, it is important to be aware of the elements and principles that make up the design. Elements are used in conjunction or opposition with each other to create visually striking and impactful designs.

Graphic designers also adhere to the principles of design, which are essentially a set of guidelines that help a design achieve effective composition. These basic principles aid in creating balance and stability for the piece of work.

You’ve heard the old saying that “rules are meant to be broken,” which can certainly ring true in this case. But a good graphic designer must first understand these principles before making the conscious decision to break them.

Types of graphic design

As mentioned earlier, there is no single graphic design meaning. Graphic design is composed of many fields and specializations, ranging from print and web design to animation and motion graphics. Graphic design offers opportunities and options for individuals of almost any interest.

If you’d asked someone 30 years ago to define graphic design, their answer would have likely been focused on print-related examples like magazines, movie posters, and advertisements. Now we’re living in the digital age, which has given birth to several new types of graphic design.

With technological advancements introducing new types of graphic design, there has also been an emergence of new graphic design jobs. This evolution has changed the entire landscape of careers in this field.

Demand for “traditional” graphic designers who work primarily for print publishers has fallen substantially, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The employment of graphic designers in computer systems design services is projected to grow by 24 percent through 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 Much of this demand is spurred by businesses’ and organizations’ increased need for digital graphics and imagery as they aim to increase their digital presence.

So with that said, what are some common graphic design job titles? We analyzed more than 30,000 job postings calling for a graphic design degree over the past year.

As you can see, once armed with the proper knowledge and training, there are several graphic design job options out there. You have the ability to cater your career to your personal skills and interests.

Popular graphic design tools

Now that you know what type of jobs and specializations are out there, it’s helpful to familiarise yourself with the graphic design tools that help get the job done. One of the most basic, and least expensive, tools designers use is a sketchbook. Graphic designers will often sketch out ideas or rough drafts on paper before turning to a computer to complete the process.

That being said, computers and design software are essentials in today’s digital climate, even if you are designing for print. The type of computer you need is based on preference, but when it comes to software, Adobe products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are mainstays in the graphic design world. If you are just beginning and don’t want to commit to the high price tag Adobe products often carry, similar free open-source software such as GIMP can help you begin to master the basics.

Lastly, ideas and inspiration are what a graphic designer needs most. “You need to have a solid concept serving as the foundation of your design and communication,” explains Chad Birenbaum, co-founder of Duckpin Design. “This concept and idea need to work on paper first and then the computer should be used as a tool to bring the concept to life.”

Graphic designers gain inspiration from the world around them, so if you are worried you aren’t creative enough, go outside, bounce ideas off your peers, or seek ideas from the internet. There are plenty of inspiring graphic design blogs that can help get your creative juices flowing.

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