From Wedding Invitations to Websites: What You Can Do With Graphic Design Skills

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Graphic design has moved beyond the proverbial "drawing board." It has advanced into the computer age in a big way. Graphic design programs are being utilized by huge corporations and by housewives sitting at home trying to find ways to save and/or make money. It is being used to create invitations to family barbeques, children's birthday parties, and wedding invitations, and it is being used to create full-fledged marketing campaigns for companies, branding the company for instant recognition by a consumer. For someone with the training, experience, and skills, opportunities abound!

Taking the needs of the client into consideration, graphics design requires a graphics designer, sometimes referred to as a graphic artist, to formulate, evaluate, and create graphic (visual) solutions where words often fall short. They say "a picture is worth a thousand words," and this was never more understood than in the world of the graphics designer. Graphic designers have to consider many aspects of their target audience: the intellectual, cultural, and social factors. Graphic design requirements have become more complex as the designers must not only identify the needs of their target audience, but must also take corporate branding strategies into consideration.

Graphics Designers create design solutions with immense visual impact. They create their designs through hand sketches and computer-generated graphics. They are responsible for all aspects of the design including color, photography, artwork, fonts, animation, and other visual elements. They can even be responsible for the sound to accompany the visual display.

  • Graphics Designers in the Occupational Outlook Handbook - This United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics website covers many topics concerning graphics designers, including how to become one and what they do, the work environment, pay, job outlook, and similar occupations.
  • Graphic Designer Job Description - On this site, the UK's official graduate careers website, you will find an extensive list of typical activities that would be performed by a graphic designer in addition to a normal job description.
  • Graphic Design - Overview of Concentration - This site from the Lamar Dodd School of Art (The University of Georgia) addresses the definition of graphic design, and discusses types of designs: Image-based design, Type-based design, and Image and Type-based design; plus it then discusses symbols, logos, and logotypes.

It's hard to pinpoint when graphic design actually came into existence. It could have been as early as the caveman who used graphics to convey a universal message of the world around him. Early writing evolved from these pictures. Cuneiform writing and Egyptian hieroglyphics are classic examples of this.

In Germany, the first model of the modern school of art was formed and it was called the Bauhaus, which means "house of construction." From 1919-1933 it taught educational workshops that combined the craftsman's skills and the artist's gifts into one. The Bauhaus movement has had a profound influence on many artistic arenas including art, graphic design, interior design, architecture, industrial design, and typography. An interesting aspect of the Bauhaus was the fact that one-fourth of the student body was female. Most were assigned to work in textiles, but some were able to prove themselves in other areas.

In 1729, Benjamin Franklin published the Pennsylvania Gazette with advertisements - the first publication to use advertisements. During this time period, many publications began using advertising while others banned its use. By 1870, over 5,000 newspapers using advertising were in circulation. Advertising services was a rapidly growing industry with the first advertising agency opening in Philadelphia in 1841.

In the 1960s computers were being used to generate graphics. Soon typesetting was simulated using computers as well. With the advent of desktop publishing, many graphic designers found themselves being made to take on the role of typesetter as well as graphic designer. Desktop publishing also forced graphic designers to constantly upgrade their hardware, software, and skills in order to compete with others in the industry.

  • History of Graphic Design - A very thorough study of the History of Graphic Design. It covers symbols, handwriting, graphics, the origins of advertising, and much more.
  • Online Technology Learning Center - A tutorial that looks at the process of graphic design for web sites, printed publications, and presentations.

Graphic design often refers to the design process and the final product that s created through that design process. Typical uses of graphics design are logos and branding applications, publications, advertising, and product packaging. Graphics design encompasses a wide range of products from road signs, memos, reference manuals, technical schematics, to huge billboards. Graphics design is concerned with the transference of knowledge via visual messages. An effective graphic design will sell a product through visual communication. Many items must be taken into consideration including logos, packaging, colors, and text. These items are all important for branding which has become increasingly more important in all industries.

Graphic design is used in textbooks and publications to illustrate theories and diagrams. It is used in the entertainment industry for decoration and scenery. It is used on DVD covers, opening and closing credits for movies, and artwork for T-shirts and tattoos. It is used in all types of advertising to persuade a consumer to purchase a product.

Using the elements of color, type, photography, print and layout techniques, illustration, and animation, graphic designers work to get their message across in print as well as electronic media.

Graphic designers are finding the opportunities for jobs to be a very competitive field. But with patience, talent, and the ability to stay on top of the changes a designer will be able to find a job to suit their skills. There are many sectors that can utilize the talents and skills of a graphic designer, including book design, illustration, typography, web design, page layout, advertising, and branding. Graphics designers can work for huge corporations or they can work from their home office.

Aside from finding a corporate job to utilize your design skills, with the proper tools an individual is also able to start a business of their own in a home office. This may mean that the person would be seeking their own clients or they may be working out of their home for a larger organization. With the advent of the computer, products that once had to be purchased are now being created by anyone knowing how to use the software. This has opened opportunities so that anyone can now design and print out their own wedding invitations, thank you notes, birthday cards, etc. costing only the paper and ink with which to create the finished product.