To begin with, list 10 different types of graphic design practice today.
1 / Type
One very close to my heart as a typesetter! Type design is the craft of creating typefaces to relay written information to the design consumer. Typeface design in Western culture can be traced back to Gutenberg’s production of movable characters for the Latin alphabet in the fifteenth century, and movable type for Chinese characters can be seen before this in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
We ascribe meaning and emotion to the typefaces used around us and therefore the brands that use those typefaces. I’d like to go into more detail on this at a later time, but right now I’d rather draw your attention to recent typefaces such as Dyslexie and Read Regular. Both typefaces aim to help dyslexic people read and write more easily, as more regular (or at the opposite end, artistic/abstract) typefaces can hinder the reading process.
2 / Book
Book design is multi-disciplinary as it uses design methods used for advertising for the book cover and type design and composition for the interiors. Changes in the physical industry from movable type letterpress to Monotype machines to offset litho printing have changed book design through the centuries.
The industry has faced challenges from digital design and how people choose to consume books and design, however, publishers have found that contrary to predictions that “Ebooks will kill the printed book” a new market has been created for consumers wanting printed books with high production values that cannot be created in a digital form. Publishers such as The Folio Society, whose credo is to make high specification books, have seen a resurgence in sales because of this.
3 / Web
A more recent design discipline, when compared to book and type designs! Websites are displayed in internet browsers across a range of devices and screen sizes and refers to the user experience aspects of website development. Web design used to be focused on designing websites for desktop browsers; however, design for mobile and tablet browsers has become ever-increasingly important as consumers expect to have access to the internet from any device and to have the information displayed in a format suitable for that device.
4 / UI & UX
User Experience design takes into account the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function. UX is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses visual design, programming, psychology, and interaction design and revolves around the needs of the user, accommodation potential physical limitations such as reading small type and pressing touch screens.
5 / Video Game
Video game design is another example to multidisciplinary design as it involves designing the world, system, content, story, world levels, and user interface design. I think it has similarities to a production designer as it involves creating a world to tell a visual story, albeit in a digital world.
Games such as Pokemon Go have brought gaming into the real world by requiring users to transverse the physical world and experience their surroundings through the Augmented Reality Technology in the app.
6 / Signage
Signage design is the art and process of creating visual graphics to display information to a particular audience. It can be wayfinding, for example, road signs, in a museum or airport; information giving, for example, labelling of artefacts in an exhibition; persuasive, such as advertisements extolling the benefits of a brand or product; identification, i.e. WC and floor numbers; or warning and safety signs such as fire-exit signs, what to do in a national emergency.
I can’t find a better way of putting it than Wikipedia’s definition: “The main purpose of signs is to communicate, to convey information designed to assist the receiver with decision-making based on the information provided.” source: Wikipedia
A recent favourite example of mine is the huge numbers painted on the floors of high-rise building concrete cores. I never noticed until I’d been living in London, and then it was everywhere. According to a structural engineer friend, it was done to help workers and to prevent mistakes, and is very helpful for taking photos of progress in her line of work.
8 / Production
Production design is found across film, TV and theatre productions and production designers work with the director, cinematographer and producer to create the feel and ambience of a film/programme/show. They identify a design style for sets, locations, graphics, props, lighting, camera angles and costumes to visually tell the audience a story.
8 / Branding
Branding gives a company a distinct visual marker through which their audience can quickly and easily distinguish them from competitors and in a visually crowded environment. Branding encompasses visual identity, tone of voice, your brand promise, and the overall essence of your brand to evoke the emotions that the brand wants to be associated with.
9 / Advertising
Advertising can be seen as similar to visual identity and branding but has a number of vital differences. Similarly to visual identity, the output must work across traditional avenues such as printed adverts in magazines (for example) or online, or even on digital display boards being installed on the London Underground.
Advertising design needs a more strategic approach rather than creative, as its purpose is to sell the products and/or services of a company, and its effectiveness will likely be measured in the return of sales.
Advertising designers conduct market research to see the product/services positioning and research how consumers view the product already before creating a campaign targetted towards the desired audience.
10 / Speculative design
I didn’t know what this was when it was mentioned on the Falmouth course wall, but I wanted to find out. I’ve been reading this article and will post up an image and description soon.
My takeaway: no discipline of design is created in a vacuum and all borrow from a common set of skills such as composition, type, and graphic elements. The way in which these common skills combine as well as its output (for example, print or screen or environment) help shape the definitions but the most effective designs borrow from a range of design disciplines.