Graphic design is the art of visual communication, using both imagery and words. Graphic designers use these two elements in a variety of media including print, television, web, packaging, advertising and a long list of others. Probably the only medium within which graphic design is not utilized is radio!
Common design elements include photographs, type (font), illustrations, shapes, different colors and texture. By combining these design elements, a graphic designer will produce the finished design, however they are frequently assisted in the design process by powerful tools, usually in the form of software programs such as Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.
Shapes are at the root of design and have been historically from cave paintings to ancient writing to the modern period. Shapes define layouts, make patterns and are fundamental to the other elements created on the viewed page. Lines are used to draw the eye and mind’s attention to specific parts of the design, to define the parameter or area of the design, or as a separator of different page content. Lines can be straight or curved, but they do not need to be drawn necessarily – a line can be implied by the design, for instance typed text following a curved path.
Color is a very important element in graphic design because it impacts upon viewer’s perception and it is changeable depending on the context within which it is viewed. Color is also a factor which resonates emotionally with the viewer – there are warm colors, e.g. orange, and cold colors, e.g. light blue. Type refers to the fonts used in text, but also size, color, alignment and spacing which all affect how the text is rendered and how it impacts within the overall design.
Images, including photographs are also powerful design elements because they can bring a design to life and as the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words!”