Introduction to Graphic Design Basics

Graphic design is at the intersection of the science of communication and the art of aesthetics. In its most abstract sense, graphic design emphasizes visual communication using a range of elements and different media to promote a specific message.

  1. Graphic Design Principles
  2. Graphic design tools
  3. Use of graphic design

Graphic Design Principles

Because graphic design is also sometimes referred to as communication design – , enables more effective storytelling, designers work with a standard set of options shaped by peer-reviewed psychological research on human behavior. The different techniques designers use, such as using specific color palettes to produce predictable emotional responses, are part of the science of design.

Designers consider elements such as:

  • Type † Typography (choosing and customizing fonts) can convey meaning. For example, a heavy sans serif conveys authority that a thin stroke type does not.
  • form † Shapes speak to the audience in different ways. For example, ovals are inviting (that’s why there are so many “open” signs around them), while square shapes look neater. Even on the page itself, arranging graphics in predictable or random patterns contributes to the overall communication effect.
  • Color † Colors and their juxtaposition have a direct influence on the emotional engagement of the audience through the designed artwork.
  • texture † The ink on paper gets the job done, but the addition of custom elements such as fabric, foil, or embossing creates a tactile experience that influences and broadens the audience’s perception of the design as a whole.

Designers also consider: spaces : The absence of presence can be just as powerful as the presence of something more specific. Designs with a lot of white (or “negative”) space sometimes convey sophistication or sophistication; at least in print contexts, more white space leads to easier reader engagement.

While the “science” behind great design is sound, each designer applies their creative genius to develop a specific work product that meets the needs of a specific client.

Graphic design tools

A graphic designer is responsible for organizing and using elements on various types of media (such as a poster, packaging, or website), often using graphics software such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign.

  • Adobe Illustrator supports complex vector graphics and scalable graphics. Designers use Illustrator to create infographics, icons, and related elements.
  • Adobe Photoshop contains hundreds of special editing tools and filters to adjust photos or similar image files.
  • Adobe InDesign is a frame-based layout program that allows designers to combine the elements of their work product into a single file.

Developers on a budget can use alternatives to these standard open source applications. Try GIMP instead of photoshop. Try Inkscape instead of Illustrator. Try Scribus instead of InDesign.

Use of graphic design

Every day you get to know the work of professional designers. Items ranging from complex advertising campaigns to simple stationery templates start with a designer who applies the art and science of their craft.

Professional design is introduced even in the most boring places. For example, the Federal Highway Administration enforces detailed technical specifications for federal highway signs, defining rules such as spacing, location, font, and even arrow angle and placement with great precision.

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