10 Types of Graphic Design (with Examples and Expert Tips)
Most people have a limited understanding of what graphic design is all about, and even worse they tend to ascribe a narrow description to graphic designers.
When people hear the term “graphic design,” there are different thoughts that come to their minds. For some people they think of web design, others think about business logos, cards, and brochures, while others think of print designs.
Graphic design is a communication skill that conveys information to people through the use of visuals. In today’s world, businesses rely on graphic design as a means of communication to convey information to their target audience.
There is no one way to use graphic design to communicate ideas through visual compositions. For this reason, there are different types of graphic designs. Each type of graphic design has a graphic designer that specializes in it.
Whether you are a business owner seeking graphic design services or an aspiring graphic designer, understanding the ten types of graphic designs will help you make the right choice for your graphic design needs.
Let’s get started.
1. Visual Identity Graphic Design
A brand's identity is the bridge between an organization and its target market. A brand communicates its personality, experience, and principles through its identity.
There are different types of designs that businesses use to communicate with their audience, and visual identity design is one of them. Visual graphic designs are channels that each organization uses to tell its unique story.
Every organization needs someone who can help tell their story with visual elements, that is where the service of a graphic designer is needed. Visual identity graphic designers collaborate with brand authorities to design business assets like image libraries, logos, color palettes, business cards, and typography.
In addition to the concrete designs, designers also build some brand guidelines that underscore the business' practices and help carve a niche in the market. These guidelines are what fuel the consistency in a business.
Examples of Brands with Awesome Visual Identity Graphic Designs
Visual Identity Graphic Designers' Requirements
Visual identity designs are one of the most common graphic designers out there. Due to the ubiquity, visual identity graphic designers must possess in-depth knowledge of different types of graphic designs.
This knowledge will help them in creating unique visual representations of a brand's identity, and also create designs that appeal to different visual media. Of course, it is a no-brainer that designers should have good communication and creative skills.
Designers should have a passion for researching new trends regarding the businesses they are working with. It helps them resonate with what the media is currently engaging. Also, they should be able to make research on the competitors of a brand because it is part of what harnesses your creativity when coming up with a design to portray a brand's identity.
2. Marketing and Advertising Graphic Design
When people think of designs relating to businesses, they think of marketing and advertising designs. That is because most companies think the success of their marketing efforts depends largely on the designs they use to influence their audience's decisions.
Of course, they are not wrong because a good marketing strategy engages the target market on the needs, advantages, and satisfaction that you can get from a product. Since people always find visual designs more captivating, then it is the best medium to promote your brand effectively.
Marketing graphic designers always team up with business owners and most especially, marketing personnel, to design the necessary assets for the company's marketing strategy. Some work individually while some others work as part of an in-house creative team in a company.
Depending on the brand's method of awareness, marketing designers can focus on a specific type of media (such as magazines ads) or create a large assortment of assets available for digital PR or live to print, and many more. Designs in this niche have grown to include more digital assets because of their importance to digitized content marketing.
Examples of Marketing and Advertising Graphic Designs
1. Vehicle Wraps – DHL
2. Brochures – Volkswagen
3. Postcards and Flyers – Denver Pizza Company
4. Digital Menus – Baja Bistro
5. Social Media Marketing Ads – Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ (YouTube)
6. Banners – Disney+
7. Website Images and Covers – Green Mountain Energy
8. Signage – Hollywood
9. Infographics – Tower Electric Bikes
10. Billboards – Elder Scrolls
Marketing and Advertising Graphic Designers' Requirements
Marketing designers need good communication and time management skills. They should be able to communicate well with the audience through designs and manage the company's time when it comes to releasing assets to promote the brand.
In addition to good communication skills, they must be familiar with suitable prints for both physical and online environments. Marketing designers should be able to capture customers' minds. It will enable them to tailor the promotional designs to what customers are interested in seeing.
Marketing designers should look at a company and its product, and tell what type of advertising asset will work best in promoting your brand.
3. User Interface and Web Design
User Interface designing is a very common term in the digital space today, but still many people do not know what it means. UI (User Interface) centers on the interaction between a user and a device or an application. It is the process of creating graphic interfaces that provide a user-friendly experience and are easy-to-scale either for beginners or professionals.
UI generally talks about everything a user interacts with – including keyboard, mouse, monitors, and integrated systems. But UI designs focus on the visual experience and designs of visual elements like menus, icons, and more.
UX (User Experience), on the other hand, centers on how applications work. Graphic designers who engage in this practice are called UX designers. These designers team up with UI designers to determine how the application works alongside a good interface. UI developers also assist in writing codes that make the applications work.
For UI designers, it is their job to balance technical functionality with audience appeal. They focus on mobile and desktop apps, web apps, and digital games. A UI/UX designer effortlessly creates elements to produce the best digital experiences for the target market.
Examples of User Interface and Web Designs
1. Applications Designs – Adidas Training by Runtastic
2. Theme Designs (Shopify, WordPress)
3. Web Page Designs – Medium
4. Game Interfaces – Monsters HUD
User Interface and Web Designers' Requirements
UI/UX designers must be team-oriented players that have crazy designing skills and an in-depth understanding of the basic UI/UX principles. The reason for team orientation is because of the perfection in creating app designs.
A UI designer must relate well with both UI developers and UX designers so that they can come up with great designs. They should be well versed in website development and responsive designs.
4. Publication Graphic Design
Publications are long-form texts that reach out to large audiences through public distributions. They have always been a print medium from the beginning of time. Some examples of publication designs include magazines, newspapers, newsletters, catalogs, and think books.
Organizations, businesses, individuals, and even governments use publications to spread information to their target audience. There has been a massive rise in digital publishing, but the print medium is still very much around because not everybody finds the internet easily accessible.
Publication graphic designers often work with publishing and editorial organizations to create designs with specific typography, artworks, and layout that represent the signature of a brand. The designs will also include graphics, photography, and illustrations. These designers either work as freelancers or as in-house team designers of a publishing company.
Examples of Publication Graphic Designs
1. Newsletters – Unsplash
2. Books – Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
3. Directories – The Directory of Business Information Resources
4. Newspapers – The Guardian
5. Timely Reports
6. Magazines – Buffe
Publication Graphic Designers' Requirements
Good communication skills are a necessity for publication designers because they are creating assets that are addressing the public. Also, they should possess excellent organizational skills because either as a freelancer or an in-house team member, they are dealing with some group of people with whom they exchange ideas.
Publication designers need to have the graphic design expertise to understand color mixing both on prints and digital publishing.
The quest for the services of digital publication designers is increasing daily because people spend less time with prints and more time on phones to know what is happening around them. As a publication graphic designer, you should have the necessary skill and more to deliver what is expected to the public.
5. Product Design
Product design is a very broad process that involves a little contribution from different types of designers. Products are mostly the results of numerous design processes so it needs the hands of designers to come alive.
For items to be called products, six types of people are involved in the process.
- User Researchers – These set of people are the ones that carry out surveys to understand the mind of your customers, most especially the target market.
- Visual Graphic Designers – They create beautiful images and design a very nice user interface.
- UI/UX Designers – They balance the tech functionality with numerous customer needs. UI/UX designers understand how apps interact with people.
- Business Strategists – These are the people that build, analyze, and implement every strategy behind the decision-making concerning the product designs.
- Data Analysts – Data analysts test products and make use of whatever information they get to optimize the end product and make it better to suit the customer's needs.
- Prototypers – These people test and implement different ideas as fast as possible to know which is perfect to work on and bring to life.
Examples of Product Designs
1. Ball Point Pens
2. Coca Cola
4. Polaroid Cameras
5. Bendy Straws
Product Designers' Requirements
Although product designers have individual roles, a good designer should understand each role. Different designers work together to create products that help them spot possible flaws in each other's contribution, ensuring a perfect end product.
Product designers must have good communication and expression skills because where the work of one ends is where the other begins. If there is a poor connection, there might be difficulties in continuity.
Product designers should be able to discern what customers like because it helps the team in narrowing down their speculations and cutting off doubts.
6. Packaging Graphic Design
Apart from the uniqueness and usefulness of a product, the form of packaging also plays a huge role in determining the reception the product gets. Even if a product is very reliable, the packaging has to be nice before it can be accepted by a large audience.
Packaging is very important because a lot of people tend to ‘judge a book by its cover' which means that they judge the authenticity of a product from an outward look. Most products need some form of packaging to protect them, make them ready for sale, and aid distribution.
Product packaging creates an avenue for graphic designs to communicate to the public. Packaging design is a very valuable marketing tool, in the sense that you can capture the attention of your target audience through graphics. Every product's packaging is a chance for any business to tell its story to a large audience.
Packaging graphic designers invent concepts and printable files for a specific product. They require in-depth knowledge of print processes and industrial designs. Packaging designers need to have an all-around knowledge of design processes because some products can involve some bits of visual illustrations and photography.
Examples of Packaging Graphic Designs
2. Nike Air
3. Mountain Milk
Packaging Graphic Designers' Requirements
Packaging designers can either be versatile – that is engaging in designing different types of package designs – or even specific (like beverage bottles or sneakers cartons) in their type of packaging.
Some packaging designers work with industries that do a lot of packaging for their products such as the food and textile industries. Packaging designers should have problem-solving skills. They should know what to do next when a packaging style is not doing what is expected in terms of public acceptance or protection.
Packaging designers should be well versed in industrial and manufacturing designs. They must be aware of the current trends and also be flexible enough to meet the needs of marketers, manufacturers, and even clients.
7. Motion Graphic Design
Motion graphic designs mean graphic designs in motion. It includes imagery, typography, videos, animations, GIFs, audios, and other graphic effects used in the online space, televised shows, and movies.
This type of graphic design has not gotten to its peak in popularity in recent years because new technology makes visual content (videos) the most sought-after. Nevertheless, motion graphics are gradually becoming a trend as most popular companies are advertising their products with short-timed animations.
Before now, animations were used in applications, video games, and banners but the marketing niche seems to recognize the effect presently.
Motion graphic design is a new niche for designers, not many people are found in that space yet. Animations are now formally used in TV shows and movies, thereby reducing production costs and time. Now, this kind of art is widely used, affordable, and more accessible.
You can find a lot of motion graphics across many digital platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. It has created lots of opportunities for people and businesses to showcase what they have in stock in a new and special style.
Examples of Motion Graphic Designs
1. Google Cloud IoT Solutions (Google)
2. Bitcoin Explained by Duncan Elms
3. Think Ideas – MotionCue
Motion Graphic Designers' Requirements
Motion graphic designers should master the art of developing a series of sketches and bringing the idea to life with the help of an animation, traditional art, and video clips.
In some industries, it will be of great advantage if motion graphic designers know coding, 3D modeling, and marketing. These qualities will surely be assets to that business.
Motion graphic designers should surely possess crazy computer skills. They should be well trained in technical skills, lighting effects, photography, and animation techniques.
Of course, in addition to those skills, they should have proper communication and interpretation skills which will help them convert oral ideas to visual content.
8. Environmental Graphic Design
Environmental designs are exhibitions that connect different people with different places to improve their experiences and bring their memories back to when they had physical connections to what they are admiring.
They make spaces informative, memorable, interesting, easier to navigate, and easier to identify. Wayfinding is a unique type of environmental design that involves landmarks, visuals, and signage that assist people in knowing where they currently are and where they need to navigate so they can afford further confusion.
Conventionally, environmental graphic designs used to involve static prints but the introduction of digital and interactive prints have created a more engaging experience amongst viewers.
Environmental design is a vast discipline that combines industrial, architectural, graphic, landscape, and interior designs. For designers to produce mind-blowing work, they will collaborate with experts from any of those design fields to plan and vitalize their designs.
Due to their collaboration, the environmental graphic designer should have some experience in architectural designs. They should also be familiar with industrial concepts so that they can skim and interpret architectural pieces.
Examples of Environmental Graphic Designs
1. Office branding
3. Event spaces
4. Store interiors
6. Stadium branding
7. Museum and galleries exhibitions
8. High-ways indications
Environmental Graphic Designers' Requirements
Communication skill is a no-brainer for every environmental graphic designer because every aspect of their work involves some inter-relation between people. Plus, they must be able to simplify designs for people to resonate with in terms of public transportation navigations and high-ways indications. These are designs that guide people's movements and they must not be interpreted.
Environmental designers should learn to mix and blend colors when designing signage because color mixing assists in bringing out the beauty in a piece. They should not be focused on one discipline, that is, they should have some experience in industrial and architectural designs because it opens their minds to numerous ways to deliver the best designs in every niche.
In addition to the listed skills, environment designers should be able to spark memories with murals and paintings. It gives people chances to reminisce on some parts of their previous experiences in life.
9. Lettering and Typeface Graphic Design
The art of lettering is not a strange concept to people who have once interacted with or associated with the journaling community. Stationery gurus have in-depth knowledge of lettering and typeface designs and the necessary tools to create stunning artworks using letters of the alphabet.
Typeface designs require an extensive understanding of the concept of typography, and typography is the science of lettering. Lettering and typeface designs can be sensitive because making the right type choice can instantly communicate your message to your target audience while a slightly wrong choice can pass the wrong message.
Bad type choices can be as bad as making the message distracting, unreadable, and unaesthetic. Can you imagine the Adidas logo in your head? You can already picture the brand designs in your mind, right? That is because their branding is very effective and they have been able to create something that can make you picture the brand designs just from hearing the name or looking at the logo.
Lettering and typeface design is an avenue to combine style and clarity to pass a specific message to the public.
Examples of Lettering and Typeface Designs
1. Modern calligraphy
2. Gothic lettering
3. Sans serif lettering
4. Traditional calligraphy
5. Serif lettering
Lettering and Typeface Designers' Requirements
Every lettering and typeface designer should master the art of font selection, alignment, font combination, background shades, and font pairing. They should understand how to balance between calligraphic styling and clarity; this is where most lettering and typeface designers miss it.
Some designers want to make a point out of designing with cursive typefaces without considering the level of readability. Others design letters without any creativity which does not make the artwork any attractive.
Your target audience also determines your level of styling and creativity. If you are trying to reach out to some group of aged adults, you need to tone down your use of cursives because their vision is no more powerful at that age to differentiate between typefaces.
Lettering designers should also learn how to use basic editing applications such as font styling, font coloring, and background shading.
10. Art and Illustration for Graphic Design
Graphic art and illustration are often seen as graphic design by many people but they are different from each other. The difference is clear. Graphic artists and illustrators create original artworks while graphic designers come up with patterns to communicate and find solutions to problems.
A graphic artist's work can be in various forms such as decorations, fine art, and storytelling pieces. Although graphic art and illustrations are not outrightly types of graphic designs, the context of graphic designs has a lot of interrelated creation concepts that you can not leave out when talking about the rest.
Graphic designs and graphic arts overlap in some cases but the former is mostly seen as commercial art while the latter, as fine art. On one hand, graphic designs are more about communicating with your audiences while illustrations are more about creating a relatable interpretation for your audiences.
Examples of Art and Illustration for Graphic Designs
1. Comic books
3. Book covers
5. T-shirt prints
6. Picture books
7. Technical illustrations
8. Graphic novels
9. Textile patterns
10. Album art
11. Video games
Graphic Artists and Illustrators' Requirements
Graphic artists collaborate with different experts like writers, managers, marketers, editors, and art directors to create an amazing piece of work. They also use different combinations of graphic designs, media, and techniques to create mind-blowing artworks.
Most graphic artists and illustrators have a solid background in animation, fine art, and architecture. Intertwined skills and expertise allow people to find a handful of graphic designers who are also wonderful graphic artists and illustrators.
Graphic artists should know how to use creative applications such as Creative Suite, PowerPoint, and drawing software like Adobe Photoshop. Also, they should have some knowledge about aesthetic photography.
In addition to the technical know-how of those applications, artists and illustrators should be exceptionally innovative. Graphic artists should be able to create a lot from basic expressions. They should have time-management and organizational skills because it makes them more composed when working.