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Design Elements, 2nd Edition by Timothy Samara

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(F39)_Job:12-40337 Title:RP-Design Elements 2nd Edition
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06
WHAT IS
GRAPHIC
DESIGN?
A graphic designer is a
communicator: someone who
takes ideas and gives them
visual form so that others can
understand them.
Branding and wayfinding for a wine merchant
PARALLAX AUSTRALIA
Logo for a
financial services
company
LSD SPAIN
Logo for a
food bank
NAROSKA DESIGN
GERMANY
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design elements
The designer uses imagery, symbols, type,
color, and materials—whether printed
or on-screen—to represent the ideas that
must be conveyed; and to organize them
into a unified experience that is intended
to evoke a particular response.
While more or less confined to the creation
of typefaces and books from the Middle
Ages until the Industrial Revolution of the
late 1700s and early 1800s, design expanded
into advertising, periodicals, signage,
posters, and ephemera with the appearance
of a new, consumer marketplace. The term
graphic design” itself appeared more
recently (attributed to W. A. Dwiggins, an
American illustrator and book designer, in
1922, to describe his particular activities).
The formal study of design as an indepen-
dent discipline didn’t come about until the
1920s, and the term entered into wide usage
only after World War II.
In contrast to other disciplines in the visual
arts, graphic design’s purpose is typically
defined by a client—it’s a service paid for
by a company or other organization—rath-
er than generated from within the designer.
Although artistic creation historically had
been commissioned by patrons, it wasn’t
until the 1830s that the mystique of the
bohemian painter as “expresser of self
arose and, consequently, a marked distinc-
tion between fine and commercial art.
Designers encouraged this distinction for
philosophical, as well as strategic, reasons,
especially as they began to seek recognition
for design as a profession that could add
tremendous value to corporate endeavors.
In the fifty-odd years since, the graphic
designer has been touted as everything
from visual strategist to cultural arbiter—
and, since the mid 1970s, as an “author”
as well—shaping not only the corporate
07
Invitation to a marketing event
STUDIO NEWWORK UNITED STATES
Book cover with transparent jacket
LABORATÓRIO SECRETO BRAZIL
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what is graphic design?
08
bottom line through clever visual manipu-
lation of a brand-hungry public, but also
the larger visual language of the postmod-
ern environment. All these functions are
important to graphic design ... but, lest we
forget the simplicity of the designer’s true
nature, let us return to what a graphic
designer does. A graphic designer assimi-
lates verbal concepts and gives them form.
This “giving form” is a discipline that inte-
grates an enormous amount of knowledge
and skill with intuition, creatively applied
in different ways as the designer confronts
the variables of each new project.
A designer must understand semiotics—
the processes and relationships inherent in
perception and interpretation of meaning
through visual and verbal material. He
or she must have expertise in the flow of
information—instructional strategies,
data representation, legibility and usability,
cognitive ordering, and hierarchic problem
solving—extending into typography, the
mechanics of alphabet design, and reading.
To design requires analytical and technical
mastery of image making—how shapes,
colors, and textures work to depict ideas,
achieve aesthetic cohesion and dynamism
and signify higher-order concepts while
evoking a strong emotional response.
Further, a designer must be more than
casually familiar with psychology and
history, both with respect to cultural
narratives, symbolism, and ritualized
experiences, as well as to more commercial,
consumer-based impulses and responses
(what is often referred to as marketing).
Last, but certainly not least, a designer
must have great facility with—and more
often, in-depth, specialized knowledge
of—multiple technologies needed to imple-
ment the designed solution: printing
media and techniques, film and video,
digital programming, industrial processes,
architectural fabrication, and so on.
Website for an architecture firm
POULIN
+
MORRIS UNITED STATES
Animated motion sequence
ONLAB GERMANY
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