What is Graphic Design?
Graphic Design is an interdisciplinary, problem-solving activity which combines visual sensitivity with skill and knowledge in areas of communications, technology and business. Graphic design practitioners specialise in the structuring and organizing of visual information to aid communication and orientation(1). The graphic design process is a problem solving process, one that requires substantial creativity, innovation and technical expertise. An understanding of a client's product or service and goals, their competitors and the target audience is translated into a visual solution created from the manipulation, combination and utilisation of shape, color, imagery, typography and space.
Definition of a Graphic Designer
One who has the artistic sensibility, skill and experience and/or training professionally to create designs or images for reproduction by any means of visual communication, and who may be concerned with illustration; typography; calligraphy; surface design for packaging; or the design of patterns, books, advertising and publicity material, or any form of visual communication(2).
Definition of a Communication Designer
One who has the sensibility, skill and experience and/or training professionally to create designs or images for reproduction by any means of visual communication, and who may be concerned with graphic design; illustration; typography; calligraphy; surface design for packaging; or the design of patterns, books, advertising and publicity material; broadcast, interactive or environmental design; or any form of visual communication(3).
Graphic Design - Job Descriptions
Owner, Partner, Principal
An owner, partner or principal holds equity position and has major responsibility for a firm having employees
A creative director or design director is the creative head of the firm, advertising agency or in-house design department and has final creative authority. Key responsibilities can include the development of graphic design, advertising, communication and industrial design
The art director establishes the conceptual and stylistic direction for all design staff and orchestrates their work, as well as the work of production artists, photographers, illustrators, pre-press technicians, printers and anyone else who is involved in the development of a project. The art director generally selects the suppliers and has final creative authority if there isn't any creative director on staff.
A designer manager or project manager manages the creative staff, evaluates its work, ensures that projects meet the requirements of the design brief and are completed on time and within budget. A design manager may work in a corporation and manage the hiring of design firms and the use of their design services.
Senior Graphic Designer
The senior designer is responsible for the design solutions from concept to completion. In some firms, a senior designer directs the work of one or more junior designers, who generate comps and create layouts and final art. In some cases, senior designers do not manage staff, but are designated ‘senior' because of their authority in design decision making.
Intermediate Graphic Designer
An intermediate graphic designer is responsible for the design of graphic applications such as collateral material, environmental graphics, books and magazines, corporate identity and branding, film tinting and multimedia interfaces, from concept to completion.
Entry Level/Junior Graphic Designer
An entry level designer is a designer (see intermediate Graphic Designer) who has been out of College/University for less than two years.
The office manager for a design firm takes care of the office administration and clerical functions, such as supply inventory, invoicing etc.
Print Production Manager
A print production manager is responsible for managing the process (i.e. bids, scheduling, production and delivery) of producing publications, from concept through production, including photography, separations, four-colour press work as well as digital production. Print production managers are strong project managers, managing multiple jobs simultaneously.
A web designer determines and develops the look and feel for web sites, and is responsible for site navigation, design and visual execution.
A web producer organises web development teams and ensures adherence to budget, schedule and design of web site development.
Brand strategists combine business strategy with brand management expertise to ensure the creation of consistent, powerful brand experiences relevant to client' target audience(s).
Graphic Design Educator
Graphic design educators transmit their skills and knowledge to students in post secondary design programs. They implement effective educational strategies through course and curriculum development, assessment methods, course management and liaison with industry.
A copywriter writes, edits and proofs promotional or publicity copy for print or electronic publications. At higher levels, copy writers are often responsible for strategic and conceptual development of messages and stories.
A person focussed on new business development is responsible for developing client relationships, generating and following through on sales leads and closing new opportunities.
The operations manager provides leadership in the planning, organising, directing and monitoring of company business operations both on a day-to-day basis, as well as a long-term basis. Responsibilities include working with key stakeholders in the maintenance and improvement of productivity and quality systems.
1. The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario
2. Articles of Association of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations, September 18, 1984