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  • Nayda Cruz

What is Graphic Design

What is Graphic Design

Many people think that when they see a really nice design that works, is because the person who designed it is super talented. It does take talent. But graphic design is not the same as a Van Gogh painting.

Both for art and design you need inspiration. They both want to showcase something. But the painter is displaying his/her message. The designer is displaying someone else’s message. There’s a difference.

Graphic Design is visual communication.

Graphic design is not the same as art. It is visual communication. It uses many elements and principles to say something to the receiver of that message. In hopes that it informs, persuade, or help remember the message.

It is very common that when a graphic designer asks the client about a project, they follow with a “I don’t know. You are the creative”. This has happened to me before.

Graphic Design solves a communication problem.

The thing is that whenever you are commissioned to design something, the first thing that you must come to knowledge is “the problem”. By problem I don’t mean something bad. But the “reason why” you client must tell people something.

It can be something they need to learn, to change or to remember.

We may be dealing with ways of thinking or behaviors.

In the way of thinking, we may want people to learn about global warming; or to change their opinions about death penalty; or to remind them that election day is coming up.

Even though changing the way of thinking influence the way of behaving. Some things are easier to convince to do than others. Trying a new brand of hand soap is easier than changing their stand on a social issue.

In changing behaviors, we may suggest learning about what they can do with the new iPad, changing the paper towel brand or remind them that the brand they are buying is still the best one

Know who you are talking to.

At the end of the day what it comes down is knowing who you are talking to know how to talk to them. You may not be successful trying to convince a person with a healthy lifestyle to get tickets to the “Fried Potatoes (with extra cheese) Festival”.

Know the age, their values, their hobbies, what line of work they are from… Try to know them as you know your friends. Knowing those things about your friends is what makes you special and helps you get the right gifts.

The same happen with your client’s message recipients. The more you know about them, they more they will love you back and react to your design in the way your client needs to.

The next time you see a good design…

…is probably because you are the person it is intended to talk to. Knowing that helped the graphic designer who create it to be intentional about the elements and principles of design that he/she chose.


This blog is the first one of a blog series called “The Building Blocks of Graphic Design”. The next topic “Graphic Design Elements”.

They support my Skillshare class “Design for Non-Designers: How to Create a Functional & Attractive Design”. Skillshare is a paying platform with thousands of classes about design, business, creativity, and lifestyle. As a teacher I am able to invite you to join a free trial for 1-month! If you are interested, click here.

This blog is a space to learn about design and how it intertwines with life; and also about technical aspects of design. I invite you to join my email list. This way you will receive a message every time I publish a new blog. I respect your privacy and will never share your personal information.


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