Complete Guide on Graphic Design in 2021

Graphic design, visual communication of nerve

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Nowadays, graphic design plays a major role in corporate communication. Indeed, the layout, the arrangement of information and the choice of images are just as important as the texts or the slogan you want to convey. In a culture where images are abundant, the images you broadcast must be striking to mark the minds of your potential customers. A skill that is too often neglected, especially in small and medium-sized businesses, good graphic design skills can be crucial to set you apart from your direct competitors.

Graphic design: a definition

Graphic design consists of visually translating information, an idea or a message using various and varied graphic elements: colours, shapes, typographical characters, photos or drawings are arranged together to create a communicative or cultural object.

Although it is above all an artistic discipline, graphic design is now omnipresent in our daily lives, and is even visible in places where no one expects to find it. Graphic design is no longer reserved only for graphic designers, graphic artists, computer graphic designers or even artists: indeed, it tends to open up to everyone thanks to the many tools that are available to help you create your basic graphic designs. But it is not in vain to surround yourself with designers, as they will prove to be the collaborators of choice to dictate the editorial line of your company in terms of graphic design.

The importance of graphics in the life of your company

We have seen how much graphic design is present in everyday life. Its appropriation is necessary for your services, especially given the implications of graphic design in the world of work. Read these few lines to find out what graphic design can bring to your business.

The functions of graphic design

Graphic design has multiple functions, which is why it is a must nowadays. Understanding what graphic design is used for is a good start towards a successful visual communication strategy. Indeed, graphic design has several major functions that irrigate your business communication.

Making a system and its users talk to each other

Graphic design is the interface between your company and your customers. Indeed, it allows you to present all the information about your company in a user-friendly way to your users, notably with the help of interfaces that will allow your customers to learn more about you, to exchange with you or to take advantage of your services.

Guide and indicate

Graphic design helps people to recognize an entity or to find their way in space by combining several pieces of information (direction, destination, logo, etc.) in a single communication object.

Enhance the value of your products, services or institution

Graphic design is used to highlight everything related to your business, which will allow it to stand out from your competitors. This will help you to ensure your company's presence in the public space, whether digital or physical, thanks to various design and web design techniques.

Sharing to a wide audience

Graphic design allows you to disseminate your company's points of view and productions, whether through its products, or through illustrations that give you the opportunity to express yourself in a way other than words.

Immerse the client in narrative or recreational content

Graphic design helps create an environment that promotes an immersive experience. In this case, the consumer is encouraged to be an actor of the experience he is living.

The fields of application of graphics

Turn your head left and right: unless you are in a place where Man has had no control or in a very clean room, you should have at one time or another laid eyes on something that requires graphic design. Here is a non-exhaustive list of practical applications of graphic design.

  • Define your visual identity, thanks to the creation of a logo as well as the creation of a graphic charter that will give the necessary guidelines to display the logo correctly on the various communication media.
  • Lay out texts or text elements on a poster, in a newspaper or in a book.
  • Animated media: GIF, trailer, advertising, promotional film, video game, etc.
  • Permanent communication media: website, banner and profile photo on social network pages, kakemono, tarpaulin, etc.
  • Print communication supports: press kit, flyer, presentation brochure, poster, etc.
  • Signage: billboard, sign, directional panel, door sign, etc.
  • Advertising media: press inserts, point-of-sale advertising (POS), posters on street furniture, etc.
  • Internet display communication media: web insert, interstitial video, pop-up window, etc.
  • Publications on social networks, where the photo or video format differs depending on the network.
  • The design and packaging of consumer products.

Graphic design software from the Adobe suite

Several software packages exist on the market to help you in your graphic design missions. Please note that each graphics software has a very specific function, and even if you have a favorite software, you will need to use the right tool to perform your tasks optimally.

You should know that having all the software of the Adobe graphics suite is a huge advantage, because you can import realizations from one software to another. For example, you can layout an image in inDesign that you have previously reworked in Photoshop, or include vector objects created in Illustrator in a graphic poster created in inDesign. Similarly, After Effects and Premiere Pro are compatible with each other: you can insert animations created in After Effects into the video editing you're working on in Premiere Pro.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is a software very well known for its efficiency in photographic retouching. Indeed, you have a wide range of tools at your disposal to crop your images, remove imperfections or modify the colors or exposure of your photos. You can also recompose your images or divert elements to isolate or delete them. But above all, you have the possibility to transform your photograph into a fully-fledged artistic object, surpassing the possibilities of what can be captured by a lens.

But Adobe Photoshop isn't just about photo retouching. It has other useful features such as the ability to easily manage a large number of layers. The software also has many 3D functionalities.

Adobe InDesign

This software allows you to layout your documents and arrange various information within the same communication document. With InDesign, you can combine a background image or a photograph with vector illustrations and text that you can format in many different ways.

Adobe inDesign is useful for creating documents such as books, magazines, newspapers, reports, brochures or posters. You can use this software to arrange your paragraphs and other text boxes as you wish. It is suitable for creating both print and digital publications. You can also create interactive documents such as e-books or interactive PDFs.

All your pages in one place

With this software, you will be able to apply styles and templates to a wide variety of pages, paragraphs and text areas. But the most significant advantage of inDesign over other graphic design software is the ability to efficiently manage multiple pages in a single document, from a single page to hundreds or thousands of pages. Last but not least, it is a software known to be rather easy to use compared to others.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is another graphic design application that allows you to create vector illustrations that are foolproof. Indeed, the software helps you create designs that can be resized as you wish without the risk of losing quality, because you will be working on vector objects and not pixelated and fixed images such as photographs.

This allows you to easily display your logo or various icons on a variety of media such as business cards, letterhead, clothing or packaging. An example of a very practical application of Adobe Illustrator is to be able to create razor-sharp illustrations on large-format documents such as posters or tarpaulins.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is a video editing software that can process footage recorded in all possible formats including virtual reality and 4K, regardless of the camera that shot the footage. In particular, you can harmonize the rendering of your video editing by mastering the color calibration and white balance on each of your shots.

The graphic designer may need to use Premiere Pro to define all the elements of a video montage's design: the use of the institution's logo in a corner of the screen, the layout of the information on the screen and the associated graphic choices, etc.

Adobe After Effects

The latest software we present is Adobe After Effects, which allows you to create animations and visual effects worthy of a film. You can also remove an unwanted object from your video sequence, or you can overlay moving objects and animations.

After Effects offers a range of tools to help you make your video editing unique with custom animations. Using your inspiration, you will find an innovative design for the intro and outro sequences as well as for the transition screens in your video editing.

What does the job of a graphic designer involve?

If you think that a graphic designer is content to create visuals on the line and have a foolproof inspiration, you're wrong. In reality, the graphic designer must be an integral part of your projects. Indeed, it cannot work in a disconnected way from the other actors of the project and must be integrated from the very first stages of the project. He is also engaged in regular tasks of creating visuals for the various other members of your team.

  • Create and then update the company's visual identity;
  • Communicate with the team and help them translate their ideas into graphic concepts;
  • Ensure the follow-up of the graphic creations by monitoring each step of the graphic chain, from the graphic concept to the finished product.
  • To take care of all the daily graphic needs of collaborators such as the teams in charge of marketing and communication.

Manage corporate identity

Among the tasks that a graphic designer traditionally has to carry out, we can almost instantly mention the creation of a logo and the company's graphic charter. This corresponds to the visual identity of the company, and it must be reflected according to its values and commitments. It is very important for the graphic designer to take charge of a company's visual identity, because he will be able to ensure the coherence of the company's visual identity on all the physical or digital media where it will be declined.

Within this framework, the graphic designer's mission is to record all the variations of the logo and the visual identity of the company in a graphic charter. In this way, it can ensure the proper application of the law, particularly when other employees, such as communication or marketing managers, may be required to carry out graphic design tasks independently. For example, no graphic designer wants to see a distorted logo or the wrong colours in his company's official documents.

Naturally, a company's visual identity is not something set in stone, and sometimes it undergoes drastic changes as a result of restructuring, a change in ownership, a merger or a change in editorial and marketing line. Having a graphic designer on your team who is able to accompany these changes is an undeniable advantage when it comes to readjusting your company's brand identity.

Managing the creative aspects of a project

The graphic designer can be called upon for a large number of projects. Whether you are organizing a large-scale event or marketing a new product, many people in your company work together to make these projects a success.

When defining a project, the graphic designer must therefore get in touch with other team members to help them understand their expectations in terms of graphic design, to help them translate ideas into graphic concepts. All this is part of a set of specifications, and it is the graphic designer's responsibility to monitor the application of these specifications throughout the project.

Once he or she has been able to define the visual identity of the project, the graphic designer must analyse the graphic design requests to transform them into needs for the creation of a graphic charter or the production of communication supports. His collaboration is constant in the development of a project. He or she may seek the help of other art professionals, such as photographers, actors, illustrators or other artists.

Tracking the graphic chain

When your company needs to handle the creation and distribution of large numbers of printed graphic products, there are certain steps to follow to ensure that this process runs smoothly. A graphic designer can help you to make discipline prevail during the different stages of the graphic chain.

Creation

This is the development phase, including reflection on graphic concepts and the choice of means. Colours and typography must be selected at this stage, and the issue of space must also be addressed.

The design

The aim is to produce the originals which will then be printed on a large scale. The graphic designer must ensure that the files supplied to the printer comply with the specifications and with the planned deliverables.

Printing

During this phase, the graphic designer simply has to ensure that the printing process is carried out on time and in an optimal manner.

The finish

This is the last formality before the distribution of the finished product. The graphic designer must pay particular attention to ensuring that the finished product corresponds to the expectations set out in the specifications, after the cutting, assembly, binding, etc. stages.

Taking care of all the daily web design needs of the company

The graphic designer accompanies marketing and communication managers by assisting them in the creation of visuals and documents of high graphic quality for their BtoB and BtoC communications. For example, the graphic designer will provide the images already processed and the templates needed to write a newsletter, or the illustrations accompanying publications on social networks.

It is obvious that the graphic designer is also there to ensure the transmission of basic graphic design skills so that his collaborators can be autonomous on certain simple tasks such as cropping a photograph or using Adobe inDesign correctly from a template.

Why is graphic design important in its visual communication strategy?

Visual communication has many crucial stakes for a company: a good knowledge of graphic design techniques will ensure you have the advantage over your direct competitors. Here are a few reasons why you may want to call upon graphic designers in the implementation of your visual communication strategy.

Consistent visual communication allows your brand to be better identified

A graphic charter includes all the graphic elements that define your company: its logo, the typography used, icons and other characteristic forms. Well defined and well deployed, it can help you make your brand recognizable thanks to these elements instantly identifiable by the public. When people find familiar graphic elements, they are more likely to come back to your company.

Retention of information is better with effective visual communication.

By arranging your information in an intelligent way, for example by means of a well-presented graphic design or a poster with well-chosen illustrations, you can anchor the idea or concept of your choice in the memory of your customers. This is scientifically proven: visual information is remembered 80% of the time, whereas an idea that is only conveyed in writing is remembered 10-20% of the time.

Graphic design is an effective way to convey messages.

In a culture where image is preponderant, it is not surprising that a visual production is more eye-catching than a simple text. Graphic design thus allows you to improve the reception of your communications. A striking graphic medium will leave a strong impression on your entire audience, all the more so if it fits into a storytelling process by telling an exciting story. This type of media allows your publications to generate a large number of interactions and clicks, which will considerably increase the potential number of visitors to your pages.

Don't hesitate to ask for help

You have several alternatives if no one in your team is able to implement your visual communication strategy:

  • Call upon a graphic design agency;
  • Hire an in-house graphic designer or graphic artist.

Thanks to these collaborators, you will be able to carry out your numerous graphic design missions: create a striking logo and set up a coherent visual identity, follow up the graphic aspects of your projects and carry out all the daily tasks requiring graphic or web design skills.

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