Graphic Design is Art with a Purpose

Suppose you want to announce or sell something, amuse or persuade someone, explaining complicated system or demonstrated a process. In other words you have a message you want to communicate. You could tell people one by one or broadcast by radio or loudspeaker but that is verbal communication. If you use any visual medium at all, if you make a poster, create a logo, magazine ad, an album cover, make a website, or even a smart-phone app, you are using a form of visual communication called graphic design. 

Graphic designers work with type and drawn, painted, photographed, or computer generated images. Designers create, select, and organize these elements forming a visual language, to effectively convey a message to an audience. Graphic design is part of your daily life from humble things like gum wrappers and digital buttons to huge things like ad campaigns and brand identity. Graphic design can persuade, inform, identify, motivate, and brand. Graphic design is a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate a message from a client to an audience. Graphic design is an exciting and rewarding career.

You Might Make a Good Graphic Designer if…

  • You’re obsessed with details

    How many times did you have to change clothes to find just the right ensemble for today? Your detail-oriented approach to life is perfect in the world of design. Designing creative collateral requires a keen eye for detail. The wrong shade of blue may be the difference between the winning logo and a failed one. Successful graphic designers have a thoughtful purpose for every aspect of their design.

  • You’re the ultimate problem solver

    When your friends are arguing, you’re the mediator who helps guide them to a peaceful resolution. We graphic designers are problem solvers. A designer’s goal is to provide creative solutions to meet client needs. Good designers understand every aspect of a client’s message and cater their work to convey that message to a specific audience.

  • You’re extra persuasive

    Your poise and charm makes it easy for others to agree with you. You stand firm by your ideas and you’re confidence makes it easy for you to enlist the support of others. What one person thinks is brilliant, another may think is garbage. A good designer has a purpose for every decision they make and is able to intelligently defend that decision. Often times, thoughtful reasoning and confidence are all it takes to convince a client on a design.

  • You’re always punctual

    If you have dinner plans at 7:00, you’re there at 6:45. The world of graphic design is driven by harsh deadlines. If you can’t keep up in a fast-paced environment, you may find yourself losing work, losing clients and, worst of all, losing paychecks. Successful graphic designers thrive when working under pressure.

  • You enjoy learning new things

    When your parents’ think you are asleep, you enjoy clicking through Pinterest to discover the newest innovations. New trends and technologies pique your interest and you want to try everything. The graphic design field is constantly in flux. New developments and technologies are always emerging. The best designers are never done learning!

  • You’re a master multitasker

    Your life is a constant juggling act. Between school, homework, friends, the updating Facebook, you’ve got a ton on your plate but it never seems to faze you. In fact, you kind of enjoy the fast-paced lifestyle you’ve created and wouldn’t even know what to do with a day off! Graphic designers are rarely focused on one task at a time. Rather, they often find themselves handling multiple projects all at different stages with different clients. It’s important that you can effectively manage several things at once.

  • You’ve got thick skin

    You’re a resilient person, so it takes a lot to hurt your feelings. Life has thrown its share of obstacles your way but you’ve always picked yourself up, dusted yourself off and kept moving forward. You’re independent and self-reliant. The graphic design industry can be cutthroat, so it’s important to have thick skin. If a client gives you poor feedback about a design you poured your heart into, you can’t take it personally. Successful designers don’t dwell on a single project; they move on and focus on the next one.

  • Working 9 to 5 is not your thing

    If you are looking for a traditional job working 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., graphic design may not be for you. Although these types of positions do exist, more often than not you’ll find yourself working odd hours to meet strict deadlines. But this fluctuating schedule isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many designers opt to work as freelancers, allowing them to work on their own time and in their own space.

  • You know it’s more than just software

    In this day and age, the term “graphic designer” has become a generic title given to anyone who has access to design software. Having an old version of Photoshop doesn’t make you a graphic designer any more than owning a pipe wrench makes you a plumber. True designers know their software but they also know the elements and principles of design, creative process, typography, color theory, gestalt theory, conceptual thinking, sketching, research, effective presentation, a pinch of math, and a dash of psychology.

Is Graphic Design Right for You?

To find out take these two classes:

ARTD 20  - Two-Dimensional Design

You will learn composition, color theory, vocabulary (you’ll be able to speak ‘designese’), Gestalt theory, the elements and principles of design, and how they apply to all disciplines of the arts.

ARTC 100  - Graphic Design I

You will primarily use Photoshop as a tool to learn the creative process of graphic design. You will experience a graphic design studio environment in this hands-on course full of fun activities, helpful exercises, and challenging projects. All geared toward showing you what it’s like to work as a graphic designer.


Areas of Design

  • Logo Design

    Logo specialists are on the rise and are quite a talented group. If you’re good with a pencil and tend to be more of an artist than a designer, logo design is a perfect field for you to pursue.

  • Print/Digital Publication

    Every single page in a daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly and annual publications has to be designed, compiled and organized by teams of Graphic Designers and Creative Directors.

  • Package Design

    Boxes, bottles, cans, bags and cartons that fill every shelf in every store. You might design the graphics and the physical container.

  • Advertising and Branding 

    These designers create the personality of the brand: its logo, characters and mascots, typography, colors, messaging, goals, drive, etc.

  • Marketing

    These designers create coupons, in-store promotional materials and engage other short-term projects meant to achieve incremental lift, which is to say tactics such as a holiday sale where purchase is hopefully increased.

  • Promotion Design

    These designer create public awareness of a product, event, service, movie, restaurant
    or company. 

  • Web Design

    This growing field consist of front-end designers responsible for making the web look pretty and web developers responsible for making it work.

  • UI Design

    User Interface design relates specifically to the design and development of application and website interfaces.

  • Environmental Design

    A human-centered discipline that focuses on the total spatial experience. These designers create indoor and outdoor public and private spaces where people live, work, and play.

  • Entertainment Graphic Design

    Movie posters, TV show print advertising, album covers, magazine ads, trade publications, billboards, bus riders, and vehicle wraps.

  • Licensing Apparel Design

    More and more graphics are appearing on clothing. Every time you see something printed or stitched onto apparel, someone designed it.

  • Wayfinding Design

    These designers create information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience
    of the space.