Graphic Design: The Design That’s Worth a Thousand Words

– Written by Alan Tathanhlong

Everywhere we go, we see the art of graphic designing in our world today. From the logos of famous companies to the black-and-white images on an IKEA manual, graphic design is


Zesenzestig, August 2009, ©CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

the basic component in visual communication. Graphic designers use typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to create visual compositions that make our life easier. But, how exactly is graphic design being put in good use? Well, in order to answer that question, we need to dig deeper into the industries that use the art of graphic design, including corporate design, signage, and advertising.

First of all, the nature of corporate design is the official graphical design of the logo and name of a company or institution used on letterheads, envelopes, and so on. Corporations


redsoul300, June 2009, ©CC BY-NC 2.0

do have special design needs based on their behaviors. A designer involved in corporate design, whose client is a corporation, will include the logo and other elements of the corporate brand as a way to standardize and unify all communication between company and audience, whether in print or online. For example, many logos from corporate designing may include the logos of Apple, NBC, YouTube, and MasterCard. Details such as the color palette are also considered in corporate design. For example, some people say that Team Mystic in Pokemon Go is the most popular because of the peaceful shade of blue it offers, not like the red and yellow of Team Valor and Team Instinct.

 Another well-known field in graphic design is signage, which is the design or use of signs and symbols to communicate a message to a specific group, usually for the purpose of marketing. Signs are any kind of visual graphics created to display information to a particular audience. This is typically manifested in the form of way-finding information in


Harbath, February 2011, ©CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

places such as streets or on the inside and outside of buildings. Signs vary in form and size based on location and intent, from more expansive banners, billboards, and murals, to smaller street signs, street name signs, sandwich boards and lawn signs. Newer signs may also use digital or electronic displays. There are a wide range of signs that are used in signage, including informational signs (signs conveying information about services and facilities), direction signs (signs showing the location of services, facilities, functional spaces and key areas), identification signs (signs indicating services and facilities, such as room names and numbers), and safety/regulatory signs (signs giving warning or safety instructions). Some examples of everyday signage, and therefore graphic design, include stop signs, one-way signs, and even the famous Hollywood sign.

Finally, a well-known field that incorporates graphic design is advertising, which is an audio or visual form of marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Sponsors of


Toshiyuki, April 2009, ©CC BY-SA 2.0

advertising are often businesses who wish to promote their products or services. Advertising is differentiated from public relations in that an advertiser usually pays for and has control over the message. It is differentiated from personal selling in that the message is non-personal, or not directed to a particular individual. Advertising is communicated through various mass media, including  newspapers, magazines, television, and others like it.

So, let’s come back to the question again: how exactly is graphic design being put in good use? Well, graphic design is the visual communication that helps us. Signage, for instance, helps us in our lives by directing us to a specific location without allowing us to become lost in the world. Advertising is able to reveal and


Ellis, May 2012, ©CC BY-NC 2.0

sell a company’s services through the process of creative promotions and sponsoring. Finally, corporate designing promotes well-known companies through the design of symbolic logos. In total, an image is reflected on us through graphic design, and can symbolize what good can come from it. An English idiom has once stated, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In graphic design, the products that come from that field can be worth a thousand words too, if we put our heart and mind into it.


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