When we are talking about graphic design, not many know that there are actually various types of graphic designers out there. Unfortunately, many people have this misconception that all kinds of graphic designs are just the same. Those who aren’t familiar with the detailed concept of this sector can’t really differentiate different types of designs since it involves graphics or pictures. For the untrained and inexperienced eyes, those images are basically just the same. However, they aren’t. Due to the various types of graphic designs, it is only natural if there are also different kinds of designers out there. The question is now: Which one are you?
Types of Graphic Designer – What Is Graphic Design?
Graphic design is about managing visual composition to communicate and convey ideas. It’s not just about using images or pictures – but it is more about putting them together in a certain composition. Not only it conveys ideas and communicate a certain message, but it can also solve problems via form, color, imagery, and also typography. Graphic design is limitless because there is no specific way to do it. That’s why some types of graphic designs exist – leading to different graphic designers and every specialization area.
In most cases, these designs would overlap with one another. That’s not wrong, but in reality, it takes specific design techniques and skills set for every type of it. Whereas most graphic designers may specialize only within a single design type, some may work on similar or related graphic types. Again, nothing illegal about it either. After all, this creative industry is always developing and changing, so it is only understandable that designers should be lifelong learners. It would be wise if they adapt to different types of graphic design – enabling them to add or even change specialization over their careers.
There is no boundary about who can specialize in what. Do you want to get a design service for your work or business? Are you a graphic designer yourself who has just started? Are you an experienced designer who is thinking about specialization? Knowing different types of graphic designers can give you more knowledge and insight about the business and the industry. Who knows? Maybe you will need it someday.
Visual Identity Designers
Visual identity is generally related to brand identity. In business, a brand is a relationship between the company (or an organization) and the audience. A brand identity would be about the communication between the company and the audience (or fans). It is focusing on how the company communicates and conveys tone, essence, message, and personality to the public. It is also about sending messages related to experiences, emotions, and memories.
So, what is visual identity (graphic) design? It is the brand identity’s visual elements that function as the brand’s face. The purpose is to communicate the intangible qualities via colors, shapes, and images. Visual (or brand) identity graphic designer typically works together with (the brand) stakeholders to create color palettes, image libraries, typography, and logos representing the brand’s personality and signature style. The designer may focus on creating business stationery and business cards (which are the standard items in the business world), but they may also be responsible for developing visual brand guidelines containing visual brand examples and best practices. These guidelines would be applied to various media. They are important because they would make sure of brand consistency, especially for future use.
Here’s the simplest and easiest example: What comes to mind when you see a green circle logo with a two-tailed mermaid in the middle? Right, Starbucks. What comes to mind when you see a simple swoosh logo? Right again, Nike. Starbucks and Nike are two examples of how skillful the (original) graphic designers responsible for the design. They are able to create something that isn’t only memorable and unique, but they are also able to represent the company’s message and identity. The swoosh design looks sporty and simple, which is just perfect for the company focusing on sports apparel. The mermaid design (some say that it is actually a siren) isn’t only one-of-a-kind, but it is catchy. Siren was known to attract the attention of the sailors – which is the same thing that the company wants to achieve: attracting customers to come.
Visual identity design is the most common design type – among other types of graphic designers. The graphic designer must have general (and wide) knowledge of different kinds of graphic design. Such knowledge would help them create different design elements – suitable for all kinds of visual media. The designers should also possess good creative, conceptual, and communication skills because they are going to work with different kinds of people. They must also have passions for researching trends, competitors, organizations, and also industries.
Created by Aland Studio
Advertising and Marketing Designers
A marketing designer is another type of graphic designer that is completely different from visual identity design. As the name suggests, advertising and marketing designers are those responsible for ads and marketing creation. You see, companies need to attract attention from the audience – whether it is a new target audience or the old and loyal one. In order to be able to attract attention, companies must rely on (successful) marketing attempts. Not only should those attempts be able to attract the audience, but they should also help the audience to make a solid decision.
Great marketing efforts would focus on people’s awareness, satisfaction, needs, and wants concerning a brand, service, or product. That’s why marketing graphic design is needed: it is more engaging to help businesses communicate (and promote) efficiently. Unlike visual identity designers that work mostly with stakeholders, marketing designers work with managers, directors, marketing professionals, or company owners so they can design assets needed for marketing techniques and strategies. The designers can work alone or in a team. Each designer can focus specifically only on a certain media, or they can handle everything. For instance, a designer can only design a flyer or can only design a menu. However, it is also possible that a designer can create postcards, banners, magazine ads, and email marketing templates. When it comes to results, they can be traditionally printed or digital. In today’s modern era, digital assets are as crucial as the printed types because they are going to be used in digital advertising and content marketing.
If you want to learn about marketing graphic design further, here are some of the examples:
- Vehicle wraps
- Flyers or postcards
- Newspaper and magazine ads
- Billboards, banners, and posters
- PowerPoint presentations
- Email marketing templates
- Blogs and websites images
- Banner or retargeting ads
- Social media ads, graphics, and banners
- Digital or printed brochures
- Trade show displays and signage
In order to succeed in work, marketing designers must have good skills in time management, problem-solving, and communication. As one of the different types of graphic designers, they must be skillful in operating and managing presentation, layout, and design apps. It would be even better if they have good knowledge of online and print environments. Designers with entry-level positions can gain valuable knowledge while getting precious experience and skills along the way.
Created by Nick Barclay
User Interface Designer
In case you don’t know it, a user interface is about user interaction with an app or a device. UI design is about the interface designing process, so it would be easy to use – leading to user-friendly exposure and experience. UI includes everything that a user interacts with, such as a mouse, keyboard, or screen. But within graphic design, UI design is about user experience (in visual) as well as the on-screen design of graphic elements, such as micro-interactions, menus, buttons, and others. A UI designer is responsible for balancing the technical functions and aesthetic appeal.
As one of the types of graphic designers, UI designers would specialize in web apps, games, mobile apps, and desktop apps. They often closely work with UX designers (user experience, determining how the software works and functions) and UI developers (writing codes so they will work). Examples of UI designs are:
- App design
- Game interfaces
- Web page design
- Theme design (like Shopify, Amazon, WordPress, etc.)
Created by Bambuk Studio
Publications are about communicating with the audience via public distribution. Traditionally, they have been known as a printed mediums. When you think of publication design, it is about classic design types, such as catalogs, magazines, newspapers, and books. However, because of the digital era, digital publishing has experienced a significant increase in popularity.
Publication graphic designer typically works together with publishers and editors. They are responsible for creating layouts and accompanying artwork through chosen typography (that has been selected carefully). Their work may include illustrations, graphics, and photography. They may work as creative (agency) members, publishing company’s in-house part, or freelancer.
Publication graphic design includes:
- Annual reports
Good communication skills will help, and so are organizational and layout skills. It would help them understand graphic design, digital and printing publishing, and also color management.
Created by Sarah Fogel
Packaging Graphic Designer
This one is crucial for businesses, especially those that focus and highlight on the packaging. The majority of products would need packaging. Packaging isn’t only helpful for protection, but it is also helpful for items’ sale, distribution, and also storage. If the graphic designer is smart, they can incorporate creative packaging design that can directly communicate and convey messages to consumers. If such a thing is achievable, you have managed a crucial marketing tool – which is extremely valuable for the run of the business. Don’t underestimate the function and use of the package. Every bag, bottle, container, box, or canister would be able to convey ideas, stories, and messages of the brand differently.
As one among the other types of graphic designers, the creative individual will be responsible for developing mockups, creating concepts, and also creating a product’s print-ready files. It takes someone with good industrial (and also manufacturing) design understanding as well as expert knowledge within the printing process. Packaging design is often related to other disciplines, so it would be understandable and logical if the designers are also responsible for creating product assets’ types, like visual identity, illustrations, and photography.
The packaging designer is required to be able to do tons of things – basically, jack of all trades type. The designer can be a specialist within a specific packaging type only (such as beverage cans or labels). They can be an expert within a specific industry only, like in kids toys or food. They can be able to do packaging design while also taking part in marketing design campaigns. Remember, jack of all trades! In this industry, it takes good skills in problem-solving and impressive conceptual ability, besides having experience and knowledge in industrial and printing design. What’s important is that the designers should be flexible enough to cater to manufacturers, marketers, and clients’ demands. If they have a good understanding and awareness of the current trends, it would be even better.
Created by Brand Unscripted
Motion graphics are basically moving graphics. So, if you are familiar with animation, you get the idea. Motion (graphic) design includes imagery, audio, video, typography, animation, and other effects being used in movies, films, TV, and online media. As technology improves and video content is becoming popular these days, motion design also gains huge popularity over the last few years.
Motion graphic designer is a relatively new term. This is considered a new specialty among other types of graphic designers. In the old days, motion design was only exclusive to film and TV. However, technological advance has made it possible to reduce production costs and time, so this type of art becomes more affordable and accessible. Motion graphics has become one of the novel design types found in all types of digital platforms.
The examples for such a design are:
- Animated logos
- Apps and websites
- Trailers and advertisements
- Banners and presentations
- Video games
- Tutorial videos
- Promotional videos
- End credits and title sequences
Motion designer starts by developing and creating storyboards. Then they use traditional art, video, or animation to bring out the concepts to life. It would be helpful if the designer has other knowledge or experience in 3D modeling, coding, and marketing. They can be helpful.
Created by Francisco Castro
This is one of the types of graphic designers that is responsible for connecting people to places visually. It is designed to improve the overall experience to make spaces more informative, interesting, memorable, and also easier to explore (or navigate). Environmental design is basically a wide design type that may cover these areas:
- Stadium branding
- Conferences spaces and event
- Retail store interior
- Office branding
- Museum exhibitions
- Wall murals
- Public transportation navigation
Traditional environmental design is able to produce (static) print pieces, but digital displays are growing in popularity because they are able to create a more interesting and engaging experience.
Environmental (graphic) design is a type of discipline that has a few elements at its core. It has architectural and landscape design – along with a tad bit of graphic, industrial, and also interior design. The designers would work together with different people in different fields to implement and plan the designs. That’s why the designer has experience and education in architecture and graphic design. They should be familiar with industrial (design) concepts while being able to sketch and read architectural plans.
Created by Toby Ng
Illustration and Art Graphic Designer
Most people think that all graphic artists are the same. That’s why people also think that illustrators and graphic designers are just the same as general (graphic) designers – while in reality, they are completely different. As it was mentioned before, a graphic designer creates compositions to solve problems and to communicate. Graphic artist, on the other hand, makes original artwork, which can be present in various forms, including decorations, fine arts, and storytelling illustration. Graphics on games can be included in the specialty of graphic illustrators and artists.
Because of nature, graphic illustration and art aren’t a part of types of graphic designers – well, not technically. However, in today’s setting, graphic illustrators are often used and created for commercial use. That’s why you can’t completely separate the general (graphic) designer from the graphic illustrator and artist.
Here are some examples of illustration and art for graphic design:
- Stock images
- Video games
- Book covers and comic books
- Picture books and album art
- Concept art
- Motion graphics
- Textiles’ graphic patterns
- Technical illustration
- Graphic novels
- T-shirt design
Graphic artists generally work together with managers, art directors, marketers, editors, or writers on various graphic design types. They would combine techniques and media. They typically have a basic foundation in architecture, animation, or fine arts. Because of the overlapping apps and skills, it would be possible to find a graphic designer who also works as graphic illustrators and artists (or vice versa).
Created by Simon (Simanion)
Graphic design is growing. All kinds of sectors and businesses need it. A skilled designer is always needed – whether they are a specialized one or the general one. If your business needs a professional designer, you should know what kind of designer to look for. If you want to be a professional designer, find out your passion and figure out what types of graphic designers you want to be.