The first question people ask a graphic designer at a networking event is, “So you make logos and flyers, right?” In reality, graphic designers do much more than that. Graphic design is a multi-disciplined field with many specialties satisfying different business and marketing needs.
If you are looking for the right partners for your next project or planning an extensive marketing campaign, here are the different kinds of designs you should know.
10 types of graphic design every business owner should know
1. Brand Development Graphic Design
Brand Development is a cohesive set of visual assets that determine how a brand’s identity is introduced to the world. Ideally, these assets are designed to make your business easily recognizable to your ideal customer, no matter the location. For example, Adidas’ three stripes and BMW’s icon have become visual standards for their respective brands. Colors can even make a difference in brand recognition. How would you feel if Coca-Cola’s logo was yellow and not red?
A brand guide should contain your logo and its allowable variations, brand colors, and brand fonts. It can also include best practices — for other brand assets. This is useful for businesses whose branding may be handled by different designers, employees, contractors, or franchises. Companies that have a defined brand identity have consistency across all marketing materials. That means… You guessed it, brand recognition and increased brand authority.
Brand development often requires the business owner or a higher level business leader’s involvement. Other disciplines, not so much. To design impactful and timeless brand assets that will resonate with a business’ ideal customer, designers need to have a deep understanding of your business strategy.
Brand Development Graphic Design Examples are:
- Brand/Style Guide
- Business Cards
2. Marketing and Advertising Graphic Design
Advertising is a graphic design hot spot. Marketing is just as nuanced as design, so it overlaps many other types of design, such as package design, publication design, and more.
Marketing and Advertising Design is typically tied to sales goals and metrics. How well did that ad convert? How many more leads did we get with that trade show booth redesign?
Experienced business owners and seasoned marketers know how important it is to have visual consistency across campaign materials. Style guides help designers maintain this consistency even if it is their first time designing for the business.
Marketing & Advertising Graphic Design Examples are:
- Magazine and newspaper ads
- Social media ads
3. User Interface Graphic Design
User interface (UI) design is the visual portion of software that users can see and interact with. An app or website has buttons, icons, colors, font choices, scroll bars, fields, pop-ups, and more. This is created by a specialized UI designer.
A good UI designer creates interfaces that are on-brand, attractive, straightforward, and user-friendly. Trying something new with UI Design is always excellent, but a good UI should feel familiar. Imagine if the up button on your keyboard moved everything down :/
User Interface Graphic Design examples are:
- Learning Platforms
- Online portfolios
- Mobile games
4. Packaging Graphic Design
The package design should sell your product without a salesperson. Attractive packaging can set your product apart while often surrounded by shelves of the competition.
Good package design shares common brand elements and is recognizable to your target audience.
Packaging design requires knowledge of standard printing practices like die-cutting.
Packaging Graphic Design examples are:
- Food and beverages
- Wrapping paper
5. Publication Graphic Design
Publication Graphic design is creating layouts for long-form content like books, magazines, and catalogs. It typically means making a lot of work visually appealing and digestible.
Good publication design uses thoughtful visual hierarchy and grids to draw a reader’s eye to the most critical information.
Publication design is not for the typography newbie. It is also standard for a publication designer to be familiar with color science and printing standards.
Publication Graphic Design examples are:
- Printed books and e-books
- Online and printed newspapers
- Brochures and email newsletters
- Magazines and catalogs
6. Motion Graphic Design
Motion graphics are animated graphics. Think of it as the current generation’s version of the old PowerPoint animations and transitions. Motion graphics is an excellent way to breathe life into a material such as online ads.
If you want a social media post with a rotating pie chart or an animated walk-through of a new app, you want motion graphic design.
The world’s most popular social media platforms continually intensify their focus on video content. Brands have leaned into motion graphics to help them stand out online. This trend has skyrocketed the demand for motion graphic designers.
Motion Graphic Design examples are:
- Simple GIFs
- Animated infographics
- Animated typography
- Animated lookbooks
7. Environmental Graphic Design
Environmental graphic design is heavily influenced by interior design and architecture. Designers create structures and visual elements that elevate the real-world experience with a space.
One crucial element of environmental graphic design is wayfinding systems. This includes signs that tell people about the space they’re in. These can be labels for elevator button labels, rooms numbers on doors, or directions to restrooms. People take these signs for granted until they can’t find the airport bathroom after a 10-hour flight.
There is also branded environmental graphic design, often referred to as an experiential design. This brings a brand’s elements into a physical space like a trade show.
With environmental graphic design, both form and function are heavily considered. Disregarding either could immediately impact a target customer’s quality of life and buying decision. Think of the line to any ride at Universal Studios. Before you even get on the ride, you are introduced to the story behind the ride. This makes the 2-hour wait feel like 15 minutes, and the 30-second ride feels like 30 minutes.
Environmental Graphic Design examples are:
- Interactive exhibits
- Trade show booths
- Art installations
- Branded wall art
- Wayfinding signs
8. Presentation Graphic Design
We have all done it at least once. Creating presentations has been embedded in our academic and professional lives, so everyone thinks they are experts. WRONG!! If you want to bet your potential investors interest on your college PowerPoint skills, go ahead. I wouldn’t recommend it.
In a situation where the stakes are just too high, you need to hire a presentation designer. Presentations that are genuinely engaging allow presenters to shine while they reinforce their message with clarity and focus.
A presentation designer doesn’t just understand PowerPoint or KeyNote. They crush it!
Presentation Graphic Design Examples are:
- Pitch deck
- Educational presentation
- Motivational presentation
- Branding deck
9. Illustration for Graphic Design
Illustrations are unique visual images that are often used to explain a concept or tell a story. Illustrations can be vector graphics, traditional drawings, or freehand digital drawings. Illustrations should never be confused with photographs.
Graphic designers often use illustrations to help appropriately execute an uncommon visual message. Illustrations frequently upgrade company branding or make company merchandise stand out.
Illustration for Graphic Design examples are:
- Book covers
10. Graphic Design for Print
Designing for print is graphic design for screens. Putting ink to paper is a whole other ball game and design process. Don’t get me wrong, they apply the same design principles, but you try printing 10,000 copies of a magazine with typos or wrong color codes. Things can get expensive QUICK!
Designers need to understand color profiles (RGB versus CMYK), typography rules, and minimum image resolutions to get the best results.
Graphic Design for Print examples are:
- Wall art
- Coffee table books
Now you know the 10 types of graphic design to look out for so you can find the best design partner to help with your design needs.
YKMD’s designers can help with all 10, from social media ads to user interface design.
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