The Top 10 Count Down of Everything You Need to Know about Graphic Design

At a leading graphic design college like FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, students realize how they are surrounded by graphic design on a daily basis in the form of logos, advertisements, street signs, magazines, websites, Smartphone apps, packaging, brochures, posters, billboards, T-shirts, and restaurant menus to cite a few examples.

Graphic design encompasses a vast array of mediums that we are exposed to every day. The graphic design industry describes professionals who work with graphic images– illustrations, typography and photographs– on a variety of media including print and web. Traditionally rendered for print and in 2D (on a physical surface or displayed on a screen), the graphic designer’s role is rapidly evolving with technology. Graphic designers can work in all sorts of industries from traditional retail to ecommerce, to fashion and entertainment, and often the graphic designer’s role may overlap with advertising, branding and marketing departments.

Whether you’re a graphic design novice or pro, can you guess nine famous graphic designs or five infamously overused typefaces? Test your knowledge in FIDMDigitalArts.com‘s Top 10 Count Down List of “Everything You Need to Know about Graphic Design.”

Top 10 list of everything you need to know about graphic design

10 Skills You Learn in Graphic Design

At a leading graphic design college like FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, students learn to hone their creative skills to applicable post-graduation careers in the graphic design industry.

A typical graphic designer professional is likely to have skills in:

1. Design principles & elements

2. Publication design/magazine layout/ typography

3. Photography/photo editing

4. Web Design/site planning & development

5. Packaging design/dielines/hands-on presentation skills

6. History of design

7. Illustration/drawing/photo rendering

8. Conceptual thinking/creative process/sketching & development

9. Applied Branding/logo design/brand identity

10. Licensing/sequential design

NINE Famous Graphic Designers

Below are nine famous examples of graphic design that influenced the industry, and every graphic designer is likely to know:

Nine designs every graphic designer is likely to know

Nine designs every graphic designer is likely to know

1. Moulin Rouge Posters (Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec)

2. IBM, UPS logos (Paul Rand)

3. I Heart NY, Bob Dylan Poster (Milton Glaser)

4. CBS Television Network corporate branding 1960s-70s (Lou Dorfsman)

5. Editorial typography and layout for Conde Nast publications Vogue and Seventeen magazines (Cipe Peneles)

6. Man with the Golden Arm (Saul Bass)

7. Poster for Swatch Watch USA, 1984 (Paula Scher, influenced by Herbert Matter)

8. Ray Gun Magazine (David Carson)

9.  Andre the Giant (a.k.a. OBEY the Giant) Obama Campaign Poster (Shepard Fairey)

Eight Graphic Design Job Titles

There is a demand for graphic designers in countless industries, and depending on the industry a graphic designer’s job title might vary. Below are a few interchangeable titles for the modern day graphic designer. Click on the links to read stories about FIDM Graphic Design Alumni in graphic design roles:

1. Jr. Graphic Designer/Graphic Designer/Art Director

2. Movie Poster Designer/Entertainment Graphic Artist

3. Packaging Designer/Licensing Designer

4. Web Designer

5. Branding Designer/Logo Designer/Identity Designer

6. Publication Designer/Magazine Design

7. Apparel Graphic Designer

8. Information Architect/Infographics Designer

FIDM Graphic Design Alumna Elisabeth Murray is Vice President of Art Direction and Innovation at leading creative agency, BrandingIron Worldwide (BIW) in West Hollywood.

Above: FIDM Graphic Design Alumna Elisabeth Murray is Vice President of Art Direction and Innovation at leading creative agency, BrandingIron Worldwide (BIW) in West Hollywood.

Seven Graphic Design Associations

Whether seeking inspiration, industry news, networking or job opportunities, graphic designers have a variety of professional associations to explore.

AIGA FIDM Student Group "The Red Dot"

Poster for AIGA FIDM Student Group “The Red Dot.”

 

FIDM recently launched a student AIGA group dubbed The Red Dot. Read about AIGA and other professional graphic design groups below:

1. AIGA (professional association for design)
2. Graphic Artists Guild
3. SPD (Society of Publication Designers)
4. ADC (Art Director’s Club)
5. The One Club
6. Society of Illustrators
7. D&AD

Six Industries Hiring Graphic Designers

FIDM Alumnus Casey Bushong is a graphic designer for streetwear brand Society Clothing.

FIDM Alumnus Casey Bushong is a graphic designer for streetwear brand Society Clothing.

While graphic design touches any industry involving communication, below are six specific industries that FIDM’s Graphic Design program prepares students for:

1. Surf & Skate or Action Sports Apparel (ie: Quiksilver, Hurley, Vans, Stussy)

2. Licensing (ie: Marvel, Disney Consumer Products)

3. Entertainment Marketing (ie: Petrol, Five33, BrandingIron Worldwide)

4. Publication Design

5. Branding Firms (ie: Undefeated Creative, The 88, HUGE, Hypothesis)

6. Retail/Fashion Marketing (ie: AG Jeans, Guess?, Gap)

Five Infamously Overused & Abused Typefaces

Five infamously abused and overused typefaces by FIDMDigitalArts

Five infamously abused and overused typefaces by FIDMDigitalArts

1. Zapfino Typeface designer and calligrapher Herman Zapf released this typeface in 1998 to “capture the freedom and liveliness of beautiful handwriting,” according to Linotype. With its exquisite details, it’s no wonder how the script became popular.

2. Papyrus The Roman calligraphic typeface was designed in 1982 by Chris Costello and acquired by foundry Letraset in 1983. The distinctively high horizontal strokes, imperfect edges and irregular curves of Papyrus make a notorious appearance in beauty product and spa treatment brand identity systems.

3. Comic Sans Arguably the most publically ridiculed typeface, the abuse and overuse of Comic Sans has sparked design criticism in sites such as Comic Sans Criminal and Ban Comic Sans. A script typeface designed by Vincent Connare and released in 1994 by Microsoft and inspired by classic comic book lettering, Comic Sans has become somewhat of a design cult classic. Read more about the history of Comic Sans here.

4. Black Letter, also known as Gothic, Fraktur or Old English, describes an overall style of typefaces. Used in the Gutehnburg Bible, one of the first books printed in Europe, the style doesn’t actually lend itself to legibility with its dramatic imbalance of thick and thin strokes. The style is found in branding for newspapers like The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Corona beer labels, as well as many music packaging designs particularly in the hip hop and rap genres and can be effective when used in small doses.

5. Helvetica Love it or hate it, Helvetica has a long and somewhat controversial reputation for its widespread use in corporate branding. Designed in the 1957 by Max Miedinger with Edüard Hoffmann, its no-nonsense style was considered groundbreaking during an era when hand-lettered typefaces were popular. Read more about the history of Helvetica in a previous article found here. There are dozens of modern brands represented by the typeface, including American Airlines, Bank of America, Skype, American Apparel, Dole, BMW and Harley Davidson.

Read more about typographic milestones throughout history at DesignHistory.org.

Four Graphic Design Software Programs

Graphic design software programs: Adobe CS6
It’s nearly impossible to be a graphic designer without knowing the software programs listed below, and FIDM Students are armed with the software skills they need to compete in the graphic design industry. While modern graphic design industry is reliant on digital software, FIDM continues to emphasizes the importance of conceptual thinking and creative process.

“Anyone can learn the software, but the best thing we learned at FIDM was design theory– the fundamentals of why certain design works or doesn’t work,” states FIDM Graphic Design Alumnus Ryan Beckman.

1. Photoshop

2. Illustrator

3. InDesign

4. Dreamweaver

In addition to software skills, graphic design students also learn how to take photographs, scan images, use a Wacom tablet, a Pantone Color Guide and a font management system; build packaging and dielines, presentation boards and portfolios; and pre-press production skills.

Three Alternate Definitions for Graphic Design


(Above: What is graphic design? from Design Council)

Graphic design has essentially become a widely accepted term to describe creative endeavors of professionals who were formally considered illustrators, artists, art directors, or other terms. Alternative definitions that describe the graphic design industry include:

1. Graphic Arts

2. Visual Communications

3. Communication Design

Two Definitions to Know

What separates art from graphic design? Students earning their graphic design degree at FIDM know the distinct line between the two terms:

1. Art is evaluated and appreciated solely based on its form, and is typically created as an expression of the artist, for the subjective interpretation of its viewer.

2. Design (specifically, graphic design) is what happens when art meets function. While appreciated for its form or aesthetic qualities, design also serves a function and is created with a specific intention in mind. Graphic design typically serves to communicate ideas or message to an intended audience, for example. Design is evaluated based on the organization of design elements such as line, shape, form, space, texture, color and value; and design principles such as balance, emphasis, rhythm, movement, pattern, contrast, and unity.

Above: Ten principles of “good design” according to German industrial designer Dieter Rams, from Startups, this is how Design Works, a site dedicated– as its names suggests– to good design for business start ups.

Above: Ten principles of “good design” according to German industrial designer Dieter Rams, from Startups, this is how Design Works, a site dedicated– as its names suggests– to good design for business start ups.

One Facet that Sets FIDM Apart

While graphic design encompasses a vast array of industries, FIDM offers a unique focus upon the fashion and entertainment industries. Catering to the captivating aesthetic demands of these industries, FIDM graphic design students understand problem solving, effective communication, professionalism, and critical reasoning to compete in this global industry.

FIDM also provides student the option to study a curriculum focused on either Entertainment or Branding.

The Graphic Design/Branding option stimulates creative expression in all aspects of print media, including logo development, corporate identity, product branding and licensing, packaging, collateral material and graphics for apparel products to facilitate the creation of design.

The Graphic Design/Entertainment option studies the components and techniques of a successful entertainment campaign using extensive research to create and develop theatrical key art for the entertainment industry.

We hope you enjoyed our Top 10 Count Down List of “Everything You Need to Know about Graphic Design.” Below, check out FIDM Alumnus Mark Wood talk about his experience as a packaging designer for world champion boxer, Manny Pacquiao.

Questions/comments? Email the editor, Mani O’Brien at mo’brien@fidm.edu

Learn More…

Would you like to learn more about earning a Graphic Design degree or Digital Media degree from FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising? Click the link below…

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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