Graphics and Communication design

The art of communicating with people graphically

Graphics or Communication design was called graphics When I was at art school in the 1970s. Now the term seems to be communication design.

The Free Dictionary defines GRAPHICS like this:

graphic arts
1. The fine or applied visual arts and associated techniques involving the application of lines and strokes to a two-dimensional surface.
2. The fine or applied visual arts and associated techniques in which images are produced from blocks, plates, or type, as in engraving and lithography. Also called graphics.

Wikipedia has this to say about COMMUNICATION DESIGN:

Communication design is a mixed discipline between design and information-development which is concerned with how media intervention such as printed, crafted, electronic media or presentations communicate with people. A communication design approach is not only concerned with developing the message aside from the aesthetics in media, but also with creating new media channels to ensure the message reaches the target audience. Some designers use graphic design and communication design interchangeably due to overlapping skills.

In many ways communication design is more apt and appropriate. However, I’ll continue using the word graphics because that’s what I’m used to.

Getting the message across using graphics or communication design

Graphics or Communication design

Bazaar Africa online craft shop business card

Graphics is a very broad field, it encompasses many different disciplines. To list all of them would be fairly hard but to give you an idea, here are a few:

  • Illustration
  • Typography
  • Photography
  • Sign writing
  • Motion design
  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Branding and corporate design

You can see from the short list above that there are many variations in the ways artists communicate with clients either directly or as a sub-contracted service for a third party. Technical drawing could, I suppose, also be classed as graphics or communication design, in that it frequently involves plans and layouts or instructional diagrams.

In the video below you can see the many different approaches to one of graphics newest branches, motion design.

I have carried out many different types of graphics for people. From the design of logos to building websites and painting signs. In the case of sign painting I’ve included them in the Painting section of this site. These days a large percentage of sign-work is computer generated and printed on UV resistant plastic film. You can see example of this on busses, taxis, trains and shop fronts. Painted signage is not that popular any more. Which is a shame as painted signs tend to have a better “shelf life”.