Monday, November 28, 2005

A Rose by Any Other Name

What is graphic design? Unfortunately, it depends on who you talk to. The term has become so ambiguous that it lacks any real meaning. It applies to anything from arranging graphical elements on a page, to brand and information architecture. Although I will not presume to define the term for a whole industry, even though others are attempting to do so, critical distinctions must be made in what constitutes graphic design industry standards.

For instance, is graphic design page decoration or sound marketing and communication? Is graphic design making pretty pictures or communicating effective messages? Is graphic design really necessary for good business growth? A wrong understanding of graphic design can be a major detriment to any business employing its practitioners, and especially to the graphic design industry itself.

Defining the term can be helpful, but let's look at it from the standpoint of what it should accomplish.

Graphic designers should:
  • bring businesses and markets together around a mutually beneficial ideal;

  • communicate messages that are desired to be communicated, and understood by the audience;

  • raise the respectability of the graphic design industry in the minds of those who employ their services;

  • solve communication problems not complicate communication;

  • be willing to continually educate themselves about the field of graphic design.

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