What is a Graphic Designer?

We have all heard about a Graphic Designer and often think of them as people who create pictures and other media for marketing. While this is not wrong it is not quite right either. There are different forms of Graphic Designers with their own skill sets and benefits. In this article we are going to look at the different types of Graphic Designers.

I preferred Wikipedia’s definition of a Graphic Designer, “A Graphic Designer is a professional within the graphic design and graphic arts industry who assembles together images, typography, or motion graphics to create a piece of design. A Graphic Designer creates the graphics primarily for published, printed or electronic media, such as brochures (sometimes) and advertising.”(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_designer) This is more detailed and accurate than the dictionary version of “A person who combines text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books,” because Graphic Design is a form of art. Different Graphic Designers specialise in a variety of skills, from advertising to film making.

You get different types of Graphic Designers from your usual advertisers or branders to 3-D and Virtual Reality and each have their own target audience. The first type of designer I want to talk about is the “Jack of all trades” like myself. I can do everything from Branding, to Social Media Management and most marketing media in between. Some of my more unique jobs were some artwork from leftover photo-shoot images and redrawing furniture to be laser cut.


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Similarly you have Kerrigan who works for a company that designs flyers for corporate retail or wholesale shops or smaller shops. “We sometimes have to design their whole flyer around their store or warehouse. Sometimes we are given their corporate branding and have to follow a certain layout. We need photography skills to take pictures of products, keep up to date on product branding and sizes. Sometimes a client will send a picture of an unknown product and we need the skills to fix the images on Photoshop, like perspective for example to make it look more professional. We do a lot of photo editing. We have to also layout product on a page or booklet that has a flow and works well, it can’t just be thrown onto a page. Sometimes clients add too many products on a page, so we play Tetris with the products or tags and still try to make it appealing and still follow a general flow of how a store is laid out with their products. We also need to know how to design competitions for the stores or make certain product’s stand out more than others. If there is a massive deal, we need to know colour theory too as that helps a lot to grab people’s attention to the flyers and products. It is the same with the adverts for online, we need to know basic printing skills to setup for print and then to print and cut flyers, if need be.” This shows the variety of skills that Kerrigan needs to fulfill the clients marketing needs.


Moving away from print, you also get a Motion Designer, or Motion Graphics Designer/Animator. Amy explains her niche as, “A subset of graphic design, but design for web, film and TV. We use visual effects, animation and other cinematic techniques to bring life to otherwise static creations.


On the more artistic side Simoné is a visual designer/concept artist intern for an animation studio. “I design the characters and backgrounds for short animated films this can be done in both 2D illustrations and 3D sculpts. I also create the 3D models and texture the models for the animation team.” This field is more for our entertainment than for the marketing world.

There are many, many more types of Graphic Designers but I feel I have covered the basics. We can see that each type of Graphic Designer, from the Jack of all trades, through Motion Graphics and even Concept Artists, each have a specialised set of skills that puts them in their own niche of the market and although much of it is based around marketing, some of it is for our pleasure too. I would like to thank Kerrigan, Amy and Simoné for contributing to this article to help give you better insight into the different types of Graphic Designers.

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