Graphic design is a form of modern art focusing on the clear communication of a message, or perhaps more aptly, it is often the application of art in the commercial market. Graphic designers will produce identity logos, branding, web sites, publications, advertisements and product packaging. The work usually has to convey a specific message and target a specific audience in order to make a sale. It is the embodiment of the idea that ‘a picture says a thousand words’ as the images used in adverts are often required to get across a message instantly.
The term graphic design was first introduced in 1922 by William Addison Dwiggins. Graphic design however has always been present, since prehistoric times. People have always strived and searched for ways to give visual form ideas and to convey their concepts. They wished to bring order and clarity to the information and ideas. People such as scribes, printers and artists strived for this clarity. But so too did industry professionals and salesmen. If you look at adverts from the early twentieth century, they look very different to an advert today, here is a side by side comparison:
This is a clear example of how the techniques of advertising have changed over time, as has the way that we use images. In the early advert the images are simply functional as they depict very basic examples of the product. However, in the modern advert, the image is the main sell and the writing is just to show the audience where to find more information. Because the image has become so important, the company needs an artist that understands commercial marketing, a graphic designer.
To conclude, Graphic design is the most universal of all the arts. We come across graphic design in everyday life. It is often completely unnoticeable, in fact this can be the result of excellent design; the best designed images, such as street signs convey information so intuitively that we don’t even noticing it is happening. It is all around us, without graphic design we would have to receive all our information by spoken word.