types of graphic design

8 Types of Graphic Design: What Kind of Designer Are You?

When we say, of pursuing graphic design, anyone can find a place to fit in – we mean it. Depending on the skill set you possess, the interests, and the style you have, you can find your perfect industry within graphic design, just like that. Today we’ll walk you through the 8 types of graphic design you can choose between, outlining the skillset you have to have in order to work in that certain field. Let’s get to work, shall we?

Types of graphic design: Visual identity graphic design or branding design

We live in the epoch of brands. No matter how big or small a company is, creating a brand is necessary for the 21st century. In order to do that, the company needs to have a brand identity. That is where visual identity graphic designers step in. They create all the cohesive elements of the brand identity including logos, color palettes, icons, typography, patterns, etc.

brand identity design example
Brand identity design example by Ville Oke
brand identity example
Brand identity design example by atom63 (You Zhang)

When all of the described elements are done, visual identity graphic designers also create brand guidelines. Brand guidelines are an important part of branding, as they provide the instructions for the further use of the designed assets. For example, they state the proportions of the logo, provide the misuse cases to them, and overall, just make sure the brand stays consistent with their brand communication.

brand book example
Brand book example by Brooke via Gingersauce
brand guidelines example
Brand book example by Amy De Wolfe via Gingersauce

Visual identity graphic design requires:

Analytical skills. In order to create a working brand identity, a designer will need to analyze the market and the competitors. See what’s doing the job, and what’s not.

Empathy. In the very core of every brand lies a problem a brand is there to solve. A designer has to be able to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and highlight in the designs the ways to resolve their issues.

General ability to do all kinds of design work. Since brand identity creation is a complex task, a designer needs to be skilled in all kinds of design – from logo to pattern making.

Being on top of trends. Brands need to be trendy. While it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to remake their brand identity all the time: they risk losing their recognizability. That is why a designer will have to work on a solution that is up to date, yet is in fact neutral: something that will be able to represent the brand for years to come.

If you’re working on the brand identity, make sure you organize all the assets into a brand book. Gingresauce can help with that! Gingersauce is a professional tool for creating brand guidelines, combining both creativity and smart automatization. Add in your assets, choose the preferred template, and have an awesome brand book in the outcome.

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Types of graphic design: Marketing & advertising graphic design

Ads are all around us. Banners are hanging everywhere you look, that bus you rode yesterday had a huge ad across the side, and that flyer you received from the stranger on the street is still in your pocket: it’s the job marketing and advertising designers are doing. It’s a known fact that people like visual content a lot better, than plain text, that is why this category of designers will probably never go obsolete. 

advertisement design example
Marketing design example by Becca Smith
marketing design examples
Marketing design example by Emamul Hossen

Marketing & advertising graphic design requires:

Psychological skills. Probably the most important skill is being able to single out the consumer habits. Seeing the ad, where will the customer first look? What colors are more eye-catching, and help the customer buy your product? What font will look best? Knowing a little about the general audience will get you a long way.

Cooperation skills. In order to create a working ad, a designer will have to work shoulder to shoulder with company owners, directors, managers, and marketing professionals. Communication is key here, being open to ideas is a definite plus.

Proficiency in digital design and printing design. Since today ads appear everywhere, from your street to your Facebook page, a designer will need to be skilled in every medium. They will need how to create both online and offline ads. 

Types of graphic design: Publication graphic design

When thinking about publications, we mainly land on physical prints, like books, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, etc. While being a part of publication graphic designer’s jobs, they also specialize in digital publications, like PDFs, and e-books.

publication design examples
Publication design example by Wu Ruoyi
publication design examples
Publication design example by Sandhya Iyer

Publication graphic design requires:

Layout skills. Designing a spread of a book or a magazine, it’s all about the layout. The way you place your elements will affect the way people perceive the information before their eyes.

Psychological skills. This greatly applies to physical books (though not limited to it). In order to catch the eye of a reader, and make them buy the book, you should understand the preferences of a certain audience. 

Online and offline publishing. This is understandable: since publishing designers work with both mediums, it’s important to understand the specifics of each.

Types of graphic design: Packaging graphic design

Packaging has 2 functions: to keep the product safe inside and be a powerful marketing tool. If the packaging is not well-designed, the chances that the product gets bought are drastically smaller. The packaging graphic designer’s job entails creating concepts, developing mockups, and getting the final files ready for printing. 

packaging design examples
Packaging design example by Kati Fomer
packaging design examples
Packaging design example by lucia del zotto

Packaging graphic design requires:

Analytical skills. Probably the first thing that should be done when designing packaging is a competitor’s analysis. The designer needs to check how the competitors’ packaging looks like in order to avoid creating something similar. Imagine a store shelf, where you are picking a box of cookies. In the same category, you will probably go for that box that stands out.

Track trends. This point speaks for itself, design trends change fast, even within the packaging industry.

Knowledge of print processes and costs. The packaging designer will need to consult their clients, meaning they will need to provide at least some of the info on the budgets for different solutions. 

Types of graphic design: Motion design

An industry that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. With the digitalization of everyday life, brands have been presenting their products and services using animations. Which are of course created by motion designers. Animations are also used in video games, apps, and whatnot. 

Motion design example by Francisco Castro

One of the sub-fields of motion design is 3D graphic design, which is raging in popularity now. 

3d design examples
3D design example by by VAGO

Motion graphic design requires:

Strong computer skills. The creation of animation requires difficult software, and the hands to use it right.

Lightning & shadows knowledge. If you’re trying to get into the 3D design, you won’t be able to do it unless you know how lightning and shadows work. This is the industry where you will have to create realistic 3D objects, and if the shadows are not right, the human eye will not process it correctly.

Types of graphic design: Illustrations

Illustrators are there to express the message, convey the idea with their artworks. They usually work on video games, graphic novels, illustrations for websites, and applications, etc.

illustrations for websites
Illustration example by Luiza Laffitte
website illustration example
Illustration example by Jiaqi Wang

Illustration graphic design requires:

Problem-solving. In order to express the message correctly, an illustrator needs to thoroughly analyze the task at hand, and come up with the most working solution.

Composition skills. In order to drive the human eye to the most important thing on the piece, the designer will need to know the rules of composition.

Types of graphic design: UI/UX graphic design

UI/UX designers are some of the most popular experts these days. They create designs taking into consideration the way a user interacts with the device or an app. Their goal is to make the experience as smooth and user-friendly as possible. They usually work on desktop/mobile apps, and games.

ui design examples
UI design example by Matias Neto
application design example
UI design example by Erica Sousa

UI/UX graphic design requires:

Ability to work in a team. As a UI/UX designer, you will need to work closely with developers to introduce the most viable solution.

Deep knowledge of responsive design and web development. Apps don’t come in one size, they have to scale to different devices: that is why such professionals need to have a deep understanding of the responsive design.

Knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. UI/UX is not only about the design, it’s also greatly about the code. If you’re trying to get into this field, be prepared that it’s not only about creativity.

Types of graphic design: Environmental graphic design

Environmental design is a special field that requires the professional to combine the graphic design itself, with the elements of architecture and landscape design. Such designers create signs, maps, murals, as well as work on such things as office branding.

environmental design examples
Environmental design example by Fadi R. Habib
environmental design examples
Environmental design example by Sharon Mathew

Environmental graphic design requires:

An ability to read and sketch architectural plans. Working on interior design, it is only natural that a designer knows how to interact with architecture plans. That is why many environmental designers have an architecture background.

Communication skills. This field requires you to work in a team with many people, including owners, other designers, and architects.

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