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What is graphic design?

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Mia Jankowicz

on 14 December 2014

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Transcript of What is graphic design?

Image-based design
Some context
Symbols, logos,
& logotypes


What is graphic design?
Some principles
Colour theory
"A picture is worth a thousand words." People respond to images instinctively based on their personalities, associations, and previous experience.

In the case of image-based design, the images must carry the entire message; there are few if any words to help. These images may be photographic, painted, drawn, or graphically rendered in many different ways.
Obama's "power and sincerity as a speaker would create a positive association with his likeness."
Shepherd Fairey, 2008
- Designed in one day - 350 screen prints initially produced.
- Obama campaign asked for the initial 'progress' to be changed to 'hope'
- Image went viral online
iPod silhouettes TBWA/Chiat/Day, 2003-2008
c. 2003
- Steve Jobs disliked it at first, saying it didn't show the product enough

- Signed it off on the basis of the '1000 songs' tagline
- Highly condensed information forms or identifiers using the logic of symbolism. Symbols are an abstract representation of a particular idea or identity.
Disguised symbolism in Jan van Ecyk's 'The Arnolfini Wedding Portrait'
c. 2008
A logo is a symbolic, identifying mark that conveys origin, identity, or ownership. The main function is to provoke recognition.

The object of a logo is to act as a mnemonic device and identifier, to communicate a desired thought or feeling, and to generate a desired emotional response.

There are 3 types of logo: iconic/symbolic, wordmark/logomark, and combination marks.
A logo is the core of a corporate identity, defining and symbolizing the character of a company or organization.
A successful logo is:

- Instantaneously recognizable
- Memorable
- Clear when reproduced in small sizes
Where text is the main element of the design.
Suppose you want to announce or sell something, inform or persuade someone, explain a complicated system or demonstrate a process. In other words, you havea message you want to communicate. How do you “send” it? You could tell people one by one or broadcast by radio or loudspeaker. That’s verbal communication.

But if you use any visual medium at all—if you make a poster; type a letter; create a business logo, a magazine ad, or an album cover; even make a computer printout—you are using a form of visual communication called graphic design.
Advertisers Without Borders: "Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there."
When you look at an “ordinary” printed page of running text, what decisions are involved in designing such a seemingly simple page?

- Typeface or type size
- Columns, column width
- Margins and spacing
- Decorative elements
- Size and placement of images/illustrations
- Treatment of text (italics, bold, underline?)

Designers evaluate the message and the audience for type-based design in order to make these kinds of decisions.
The brief:

To design a bilingual printed book of 86 pages documenting and reflecting on an art exhibition (a 'catalogue') on a very low budget
Lisa Kreutzer
Artwork documentation: fit the artwork details, AR & EN, photographs and 500-word text onto one double-page spread
Essays used one title page and fit a large amount of text in one space. Footnotes were placed centrally to save space (and thus number of printed pages). Colour was only used on certain pages.
Illustration and graphic design previously went hand in hand. However since the 1980s with the advent of desktop publishing and an increased emphasis on photography in advertising, illustration is less mainstream.
1930s advert for a
it is still in use in often creative and quirky ways.
JWT for Levis India
'Cairo': Two images from an illustration series by George Azmy
Ogilvy & Mather for Paramex painkillers
Take one of the quotes below (or find your own, provided it is relevant) and find a visual means of presenting it on a poster. Your design must communicate its ideas through a combination of the following visual means:

- Illustration
- Further text
- Your own photography
- Your own digital images worked from found images IF the found image has been sufficiently reworked*
- All the above in poster form of any dimensions you choose (pdf)

Through this assignment, you should be giving a clear and imaginative visual interpretation or ‘translation’ of the text. It should be ‘readable’ visually and textually; we must see how the concept of the visuals (including your typographic decisions) support the concept of the quote.

“What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.”
Charles Baudelaire
“Cities are never random. No matter how chaotic they might seem, everything about them grows out of a need to solve a problem. In fact, a city is nothing more than a solution to a problem."
Neil Shusterman, Downsiders
“For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.”
Simon Van Booy
Everything Beautiful Began After
“Whenever I happen to be in a city of
any size, I marvel that riots do not
break out everyday: Massacres,
unspeakable carnage, a doomsday
chaos. How can so many human beings
coexist in a space so confined without
hating each other to death?”
Emil Cioran
When handled by designers, the visual forms of text, whether typography or handmade lettering, perform many communication functions. They can grab your attention on a poster, identify the product name on a package or a truck, or present
running text as the typography in a book does.

Designers are experts at presenting textual
information in a visual form in print or on film, packaging, or signs.
+ white space!
The design

- Briefing
- Design
- Artwork
- Production
In the graphic design profession, a project usually has four stages:
The briefing stage is the initial conversation or consultation between the client and the designer. It usually covers the following areas or concerns:
Basic overview:
• project objectives
• intended audience
• expected outcome
• timing / deadline
• budget / cost
• designer’s quote
Technical overview:
• size specs
• corporate identity guidelines
• production files
The design stage is the most time-consuming area and requires a lot of trial and error as well as a lot of back and forth communication between designer and client. It is usually carried out in the following stages:
Designer reviews the brief
and develops several
concepts and preliminary
designs. Then selects the
most appropriate options
for further development. In
the case of web design, the
designer may bring in a
programmer to help realise
the ideas technically.
Designer presents a selection of
visual solutions and explains
design decisions to client.
Client offers feedback
and may request changes.
The designer makes the
changes requested and
fine tunes the material
as required.
The designer prepares the artwork files and provides a proof of what the final project will look like. This is usually done via email or hardcopy (printed on paper), although sometimes it comes as a pdf. The client then either approves the artwork by signing off on the proof, or marks-up changes they would like to make. If changes are requested, the designer will provide a second proof.
A proof is a term used by printing companies that means they printed a trial version of your artwork so you can look at it and confirm it is the way you want it.
Once the artwork has passed final approval from the client, it is said to be ready to go to production. The designer adds crop marks and makes sure the pantone colors used in the document are accurate. Some designs may require pantone “call-outs” to denote each color that is used. The designer will turn all fonts into outlines, and save the file in multiple formats. (ai, pdf, jpg) then burn them to a disc if the client has requested this. The designer may also be responsible for forwarding the production files to a commercial printer or factory. In some cases, the designer will request a proof from the printer, and passes the proof on to the
client for approval.
The client then sends over the copy (all the content of the project) in a reasonably complete form - the entire book, or in the case of websites, at least one example of each section of the site.
The colour wheel

Traditionally, there are a number of color combinations that are considered especially pleasing. These are called color harmonies or color chords and they consist of two or more colors with a fixed relation in the color wheel.
The color wheel is the basic tool for combining colors. The first circular color diagram was designed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666.
Over the years, many variations of the basic design have been made, but the most common version is a wheel of 12 colors.
Primary, secondary and tertiary colors
There are primary, secondary, and tertiary colours. In the RYB (or subtractive) color model, the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue
colors: red,
yellow and blue.
The three
colors (green, orange and purple) are created by mixing two primary colors.
Another six
colors are created by mixing primary and secondary colors.
Warm and cool colours
Warm colors are vivid and energetic, and tend to advance in space.
Cool colors recede and give a soothing and calm impression.
Black, white and grey are considered to be neutral.
Color harmonies - complementary
Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are complementary colors (example: red and green).

- High contrast gives a vibrant look.
- Must be managed well or it is
- Hard to use in large doses
- Makes things stand out
- Not a good idea for text.
Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs.

- Often found in nature, harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

- Extra contrast may be needed.

- Choose one colour to dominate, one
to support, and another as an accent.
Colour harmonies - analogous
Triadic colour schemes
A triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.

- Tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions.

- Colors should be carefully balanced - let one color dominate and use the two others for accent.
A variation of the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement.

- The same strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme, but less tension.

- Difficult to mess up.
Rectangle and square colour schemes
The rectangle or tetradic color scheme uses four colors arranged into two complementary pairs.

These rich color schemes offers plenty of possibilities for variation.

Rectangle and square color schemes works best if you let one color be dominant.

You should also pay attention to the balance between warm and cool colors in your design.
Tints, shades and tones
Visual balance comes from arranging elements on the page so that no one section is heavier than the other. Or, a designer may intentionally throw elements out of balance to create tension or a certain mood. Are your page elements all over the place are does each portion of the page balance out the rest? If out of balance, is it done with a specific intention in mind?
In design, proximity or closeness creates a bond between elements on a page. How close together or far apart elements are placed suggests a relationship (or lack of) between otherwise disparate parts. Unity is also achieved by using a third element to connect distant parts. Are title elements together? Is contact information all in one place? Do frames and boxes tie together or separate related elements in your document?
Alignment brings order to chaos. How you align type and graphics on a page and in relation to each other can make your layout easier or more difficult to read, foster familiarity, or bring excitement to a stale design. Have you used a grid? Is there a common alignment between blocks of text and graphics on the page? Does your text alignment aid or hinder readability? If certain elements are out of alignment, was it done purposefully with a specific design goal in mind?
Repeating design elements and consistent use of type and graphics styles within a document shows a reader where to go and helps them navigate your designs and layouts safely. Insure that your document utilizes the principles of repetition, consistency, and unity in page design. Do page numbers appear in the same location from page to page? Are major and minor headlines consistent in size, style, or placement? Have you used a consistent graphic or illustration style throughout?
Repetition and consistency
In design, big and small elements, black and white text, squares and circles, can all create contrast in design. Contrast helps different design elements stand out. Is there enough contrast between your text (size and color) and background (color and pattern) to keep text readable? Is everything all the same size even when some elements are more important than others?
White space
Designs that try to cram too much text and graphics onto the page are uncomfortable and may be impossible to read. White space gives your design breathing room. Do you have enough space between columns of text? Does text run into frames or graphics? Do you have a generous margin? You can also have too much white space if items float on the page without any anchor.
Coen Pohl
David Carson
Aleksandr Rodchenko
Stefan Sagmeister
Paula Scher
Josef Muller-Brockman
Reza Abedini
What is typography?
Typography is the arrangement of type. .

How typography is used in a design is deeply rooted in its overall theme, tone and message. It works with your layout, grid and color choice to create a well-rounded design.

Your choice of typefaces and your technique of setting type give your composition its character, pace and style. Not only does it give the copy legibility, it also helps the reader gain a greater insight into the subject of the design.
A simple illustration of how influential typography can be is to look at the same text with different typefaces. Notice how typography can define and alter the message:
A line of characters has at least five lines that it can be aligned to. These horizontal lines are guides for capital letters, ascenders, lowercase and descenders.
The space between lines of text.

- Too close: complicates the design
- Too far: breaks the 'flow'
Tracking (or letter-spacing) is the space between groups of characters.
There is often confusion between tracking and kerning. While tracking is a global setting that affects how close all the characters are, kerning is more the microscopic view of the space between two letters. Some character combinations might require more kerning than others to avoid collisions (e.g., compare KX versus ll).
You may use the following methods:

- Photoshop
- Illustrator
- InDesign
- Analogue media (paint, pencil on paper etc) but must be scanned in and integrated into a digital design


Wednesday (today):
Presentation of the assignment
Discussion of ideas and quotes
Begin Lynda.com Photoshop tutorial. This must be complete by Sunday.

Presentation of first drafts. Feel free to have several trials of similar or differing concepts. Group critique with Haytham Nawar. Write down your

Final submission by email to me for grading.

- Don’t be over-literal. Translation is a creative, open-ended
process: you can of course have visual representations of things referenced, but try to think creatively about how you can convey the idea. How can you convey traffic other than by pictures of cars? How do you convey ‘home’ without pictures of a house?

- When using your own photography, don’t just stop with the image at hand: think about how to transform it through cropping, enlarging, recolouring, silhouetting, drawing into it, etc… The same is essential for found images.

- Don’t neglect the text itself. The arrangement and style of the text can have a huge impact on the feeling of the piece.

- Pay attention to negative space as much as what you do put in. Use of negative space can be very powerful to the balance of the work.

- Be bold! Try a lot of variations of your key elements before settling on the one you think works best. Bring several to Sunday’s class for discussion if you need.

- You may use any shape of poster you like.

- Avoid cliche!

3 – Completed, high-resolution poster submitted as a pdf with no image quality issues.
5 – Originality and imagination of concept
5 – Clarity with which the concept is conveyed through visual means
5 – Evidence of awareness of rules of design
5 – Aesthetic impact
2 – Technical competence of the use of digital tools

If a major feature, the reworked image must be adapted and recombined so as to be unrecognisable from its original presentation; OR it must be a relatively minor part of the whole of your design concept and execution. If you use them, you must attach the originals with the submission so I can see the adaptation.

Failure to follow this rule will be interpreted as plagiarism.
David Carson, probably the most famous graphic designer of all time. Artist director of Raygun music magazine. Note his innovative, disordered use of typography, and his combination of handwritten lettering with semi-abstract imagery and type.
David Carson's
are very relevant to your assignment. Here he takes phrases from the famous media theorist Marshall McLuhan and renders them visually.

Note in the above Probe, he breaks a lot of graphic design rules: the text is barely legible. Why? The words begin to meld with the image in the background, which alludes to conformity and restrictions. Nevertheless, we are compelled to work harder to read the text.
Again here, he plays with the legibility of the text and deliberately varies the leading, giving a sense of accident and imperfection. His effort here is not literal at all but more dependent on feeling. In combination with a semi-abstract background of colours and numbers, what sort of impression do you get overall? How do you relate it to the actual text?
Here, the roofs of the buildings are rendered as letterforms and highlighted. The view from above emphasises the vertiginous feeling brought by 'don't look down'.
A canonical designer whose work served the Soviet Union and its ideals. He was part of a movement called Constructivism, which said all art should be of social service. Note the dynamic lines and composition this poster, which communicate futurism and action.
One of his most famous posters, this one promotes reading. The radiating lines imitate a 'shout' and the bright colours call for attention.
Stefan Sagmeister makes letterforms in unusual ways, including one time scratching them into his skin. Think about the possible meanings that can be formed between the words themselves, and the places and means in which they are made.
Known as 'the master of the grid' this designer makes incredible use of very simple means. To the right, a strong sense of swelling movement is made out of a simple block of adapted squares.
How can a grid be used when thinking about the city? How can this structure your design and its ideas?
Scher's work is all about hectic combinations of text, forming a space you feeling compelled to look at and read. Here the 'noise' of the city and the shout for a taxi are rendered effectively with rough texture, block letters, and colour contrast.
Abedini makes beautiful use of combined pattern and silhouettes, allowing the text to 'grow' within the form. These works have a more organic feel - think about the many textures and patterns within the city, from trees, to trash heaps, to mashrabeya windows.
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