GRAPHIC DESIGN IS A SERVICE, NOT ART
In this profession of graphic designer one often comes across the idea that many people have that design is an artistic activity.
And, that anyone who has a little drawing or computer skills can design. No, graphic design is a service, not art.
And in reality, this is not always the case, because design is NOT art, although it is a little bit like it because we work with aesthetics and people say we do “nice things”.
GRAPHIC DESIGN IS A SERVICE THAT SOLVES A PROBLEM OR A NEED.
A service for which a graphic designer has studied a career that has taken him about 5 years, or sometimes more, if you count the subsequent training courses, etc…
Of course, when I go to see a lawyer I can give my opinion and, after telling the professional about my problem, I have every right to ask, give my point of view, disagree with the line of work that the lawyer chooses to develop. But always from a place of humility and respect, as I am in the presence of someone who has much more information than one about his profession.
The same goes for a graphic designer, a doctor or a mechanic. The designer has much more information than the client on how to satisfy their need.
WHAT A GRAPHIC DESIGNER DOES?
The work of a graphic designer when developing a logo for a company, for example, involves much more than just drawing or testing letters and colours.
I’d say that’s 50% of the whole process. The designer must first know the problem and the client’s objective before starting to put ideas into practice. And for this he must be informed.
- What is the client’s goal when wanting to create a logo and where it will be used. In web page only or also in commercial stationery, social networks, email signatures…
- While this question seems obvious, it’s not so obvious, and you can get a lot of information from the customer’s answer that you never imagined.
- What are the products or services offered by the client.
- How is the trajectory of the company / client. Is it new and should it be presented in the market competing with all the other companies of the same type that exist? Or it has already come a long way and has made a place for itself in the market.
- Does the company already have a previously designed logo and the client is very attached to it and only wants a restyling or does it need to completely change its image?
- What values, sensations, philosophy, does the client want to transmit in his brand/logo? Many times, when the company is new, the client does not even know what he wants to convey, what his vision is, his ideals. In this case the designer must advise him and help him to find the style of image he needs.
- To answer the previous point, the designer must be informed about the company, its objectives, its target audience, its positioning in the market.
- Who the competition is and how they are doing it. Not to look alike, but to know what you have to do to differentiate yourself. Sometimes the client thinks that it is necessary to develop the same type of image that others do, because that is what supposedly “works”. But that’s not always the case. There are proven cases of groundbreaking and very original logos that are remembered exactly for that. For having broken with the established.
- Are there any restrictions or limitations that have to be taken into account for the design?
- How many design alternatives does the client want to see before approving the final design? This is important because it will result in the time that the graphic designer has to dedicate to the project.
- Is there a “design line” that the client prefers?
- By when do you need the finished logo.
At this stage the designer already has some ideas or concepts in his head that he can start to test on paper or on the computer. (The medium is the least in this phase). For me the paper and pencil in this phase allow me to visualize the ideas quickly and realize if they could work or not.
It’s a time when there’s a lot to sketch and try. It’s also good to take time off in the middle to let the mind rest and then revisit the ideas.
It’s amazing how we can see what we’ve done in a totally different way by letting a day or two go by. From this we can deduce why any design project cannot go well doing it “from one day to another” or urgently. It is essential to let the work done rest.
Once we have 2 or 3 design ideas that work it’s time to move on to the computer and capture them by delving into the possibilities of each one.
Here the designer will take into account the implementation of the logo. If it is going to be used in a website, we will have to think about a horizontal arrangement of the logo, if the header of the website is very narrow. Or if it is going to be used in business cards, it will have to be able to look good in very reduced sizes.
All layout configurations and logo sizes will be taken into account at this stage, as well as selecting the colors and fonts that will accompany it.
Typography selection is another issue in itself. It will be necessary to choose the types that perfectly combine and even improve our symbol/isotype. Should it be a typography that contrasts with the isotype or on the contrary should it follow the same graphic line and resemble in auctions, vertices and curves?
In this phase it is also necessary to contrast the design made with other fellow designers and with people who have nothing to do with our profession.
Even with potential clients of the company. To see their reactions and opinions. This can help the designer to see things that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Here the designer must convince the client why the logo or logos presented are the best alternatives for his business project. And the client may accept and fall in love with some of the ideas or they do not convince him and you have to start over from scratch.
Sometimes our work as a designer resembles that of a lawyer, because sometimes, at this stage, the client tells us something about his project that he had not told us before, in the phase of questions and research.
Patience! Perhaps our questions were not effective enough or we did not know how to get all the necessary information. In these cases, we will have to start over from a different perspective.
All this in terms of the designer’s work with the development of a logo. But it could be a brochure, a catalogue, a website or a poster.