What does it mean to be a Graphic Designer?

If you don’t work in marketing, it’s entirely possible you’ve never heard of us before. We don’t often make our name known, but our job is to make our work stand out. If our work isn’t being noticed, we’re doing something wrong. You use our work every single day, and you’re buying it constantly. It’s in your environment, its in your entertainment, it’s in the products you purchase. 

Graphic Design isn’t a term that’s used terribly often in the general public, but it’s one of the cornerstones of marketing and one of the keys to success for any brand. 

What does graphic mean?

Graphic design is primarily known as the driving force for communication through visual representation. Want a simpler definition? We make things look nice. Logos, website design, advertisements, and brochures are all examples of graphic design. 

When someone says “graphic design” they could be talking about a few things, due to the vast amount of materials we have a hand in designing. The examples I listed above are just a few examples, but really it’s always changing along with technological advances. 

Since graphic design first began back in the first decade of the 20th century, it’s always had the same primary goal.

What is the purpose of graphic design?

Graphic design first spread into a main job likely with the invention of the Gutenberg Press in 1439. Gutenberg made the publication of books much more affordable, and introduced the first form of graphic design. 

Since this made printing a much easier process, the other fields of graphic design started appearing. Logos started being used for businesses around the 1400’s and advertisements were being used in newspapers around the 1620s. 

Graphic design started booming as a career once businesses started to realize the power of graphic communication in their brand. They could utilize design in logos and advertisements to catch the attention of consumers, sell more products and services, creating a more profitable business. 

You could say the purpose of graphic design is to sell more. But that would be an understatement. Think of all the road signs you see while driving. What if those didn’t communicate their message effectively? They’re not trying to sell you anything, they’re trying to tell you something pretty important. 

This is why graphic design is so important in any industry. Everyone has a story to tell or a message to get across, and graphic designers know how to do that. 

Isn’t graphic design going to die out with the print industry?

I feel like this is one of those myths that just wont go away. No, graphic design wont go away just because people are consuming less in print.  Here’s why:

Print is not dead. Have you gotten any junk mail recently? Have you attended a concert where they handed you a program? Ever see a newspaper being sold on the side of the street? These things are all still happening. While yes it’s true it’s not as popular as it used to be, it hasn’t completely gone away yet and we have a long time until print is completely dead. 

Digital design is here to stay. As long as people are using computers, digital design will still be a necessity. Landing pages, digital ads, and more will always be here. 

What is graphic design used for today?

A Graphic Designer’s objective

Graphic design is used in so many different things today. Especially since the internet really took off, we now have website design, digital advertisement design, animations, and so much more. Let’s look at some of the most popular types of work designers do today and how they’re involved in each process. 

Logo Design:

When making a logo, a graphic designer’s objective is to communicate the mission statement of the company through a simple word mark or graphic. Look up the mission statements for some of your favorite companies. These are the main things that a designer is trying to communicate when designing a logo. Is the company trying to appear on the cutting edge, always moving forward? A designer might choose to lean the type forward or in italics in a logo to communicate movement and the forward thought for the company. 


An advertisement is always trying to sell you something, that’s the obvious point. What a designer does is sell the product while following the company’s brand guidelines. Colors, layout, typography all need to follow how the company wants their brand presented. Curious what brand guidelines typically look like? Check out some of these examples:

Website Design:

Graphic designers recently have started getting involved in website design. Some develop the website front end themselves, some don’t. But their involvement in website design would be creating the layout and primarily look for the entire website. The lines get a little blurred here between UX design and front-end design, but typically a graphic designer might create a static mockup of the main landing page in Sketch or Photoshop, then hand it off to the developers to code and make it work. 

So, what is a graphic designer?

Still don’t know what a graphic designer is? I’ll just reiterate my simple definition:

Graphic designers make things look nice.

If you’re somebody who likes to keep learning new things, likes art in any form, likes technology, enjoys problem solving and especially simplifying complex ideas, you might like graphic design. 

You might want to jump ship and think that print design is dead and you wont be able to get a job, but as long as you’re open minded and don’t focus on just one area of design, you’ll find a whole world of design opportunities.