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What Do Graphic Designers Do Anyway?

What Do Graphic Designers Do Anyway?

Mike Lenhart

Just what are we supposed to be doing?

As we get through design school and try to do a real job out in the world, we must pause and think sometimes. Just what is our job anyway? What are we really supposed to be doing? Is the whole thing simply a lot of words and pretty pictures? Is it fine art or more than that? Here are my thoughts.

The Graphic Designer’s Job

A graphic designer is supposed to use words and images to communicate – a visual-verbal expression. The designer acts as a mediator between the message sender and the intended audience. The goals are to communicate a message to the audience and to use a compelling design that will enhance this message. Therein lies the rub.

How do we do this successfully? A lot of this comes through research and practice. Your mentors or more senior designers in your organization can help you. Stick close to these people as most likely they’ll pass down the knowledge they’ve gained through the years and you may just learn a thing or two from them.

Remember, none of us know everything – especially when we’re freshly out of art school. This is not to say that you should copy them or their stlye, it’s just a good thing to get some basics down and learn from the experience of others.

Of course, we hone in on and learn the applications of design elements and principles, and learn how to apply them in practical applications. Some of the applications may seem obvious. But, that’s usually when we go with something less obvious. I don’t know about you, but I get disappointed when I see an obvious design that could’ve been so much more effective.

So, let’s move forward in our design worlds and try to make sense of the many messages and audiences out there. It can be a fun and exciting thing. Just remember, true success doesn’t happen overnight.


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