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Exploring Types of Graphic Design: A Comprehensive Guide

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William Griffiths
Exploring Types of Graphic Design: A Comprehensive Guide

Exploring Types of Graphic Design: A Comprehensive Guide

As is the case with a lot of industries in the modern age, graphic design is evolving. Instead of remaining stagnant without any hope of progress, there are constant developments and improvements that are being made with each and every passing day. From unlimited graphic design to new styles and beyond, the aim of the game is simple - find unique ways to innovate and kickstart a brand-new movement.

That sounds a bit over the top, but it isn’t. The talent on display from designers within this field is extraordinary, but what people don’t realise is that you can break graphic design up into a string of different sub-genres. Sure, some are more popular than others, but they all hold value, and they’re all in demand depending on what kind of project you’re looking for.

Today, our hope is that we can educate you on some of the most popular types of graphic design that are out there in the world. We aren’t here to tell you that one is better than the other, but instead, we just want to inform.

But first, before we can dive too deep down this rabbit hole, we first have to go back to the beginning.

What is graphic design?

At the base level, graphic design often requires some artistic flair. It uses a combination of text and imagery to put a message out there for the public to see, whether it be in the form of an advertisement or merely a poster to hang on your wall. It’s about projecting ideas through visual means, and if it’s good enough, it could even lead to consistent work (if it isn’t just being done as a hobby, that is).

In graphic design, you want your finished product to be stylish, attractive and clever above everything else. Yes, there has to be a purpose behind it that makes sense, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a contemporary element or two. Graphic designers often have to stick to a particular brief or request, but with the right amount of creative freedom, magical things can happen.

You have to piece certain elements of your work together to really make it click, and that’s where the fine-tuning comes in. Graphic designers will cover every inch and every blade of grass, and sometimes, you may not even notice they’re doing it. The goal is to make the audience sit up and pay attention, and it takes time.

Types of graphic design

1. Advertising design

One of the most common types of graphic design that you’re likely to see circulating across the globe is advertising. From walking down the street to watching something on TV and beyond, there are always going to be ways in which advertisements are used to try and sell products to you, the general public. Sometimes they work, but either way, there’s certainly efficiency in what they do.

Visual artwork is at the core of what every designer is trying to do on a day-to-day basis but in advertising, that’s especially true. They have to work off of sight alone in order to gain some attention and notability, and the great part about it is that there’s often a lot of diversity in this style. It doesn’t have to be small or large, so long as they get the point across effectively.

https://dribbble.com/shots/22343575-replicant-billboard

2. UI design

This probably isn’t going to sound like the sexiest entry on this list, but that isn’t really the point. The user interface is absolutely critical to the success or failure of your company, largely because it doesn’t take much to build up frustration in your customers. If an app or device isn’t working properly, and it’s down to the UI, the mood can shift pretty quickly.

You’ll want to ensure it’s as responsive as it possibly can be, that UI and UX principles are met and that everything is on point with the HTML and CSS. This tends to be more technical than many other counterparts on this list, and we can understand how that can make it seem dull, but trust us when we say that this isn’t a problem you’ll want to overlook.

https://dribbble.com/shots/3875272-Stock-App-Dashboard

3. Motion graphic & animation design

Have you ever seen a really good screen animation, moving banner or GIF online and felt the need to praise the graphic designer? If you have, then this is the entry for you. Motion graphic and animation design is easily one of the most difficult formats to master on this list, which is one of the many reasons why we feel the need to bring some much-needed attention to it.

Anything that’s in motion takes a great deal of care and attention, which goes without saying. It’s most commonly used online, but if you’re ever walking through Times Square or passing through a major city or town, there’s a good chance you’ve seen something like this pop up. In our view, when you’re reaching levels like this, you’ve truly proven yourself as a designer.

4. Packaging design

The packaging is the design. Get it? Well, essentially, packaging design allows you to really spread your wings and fly when it comes to seeing what exactly you’re capable of. Whether it be a box, a 3D piece, a bottle or paper that’s been constructed into a brochure, the physical element of your work is what is going to serve as the biggest selling point.

In our view, this is a very clever, modern way to approach graphic design. It doubles up as a clever marketing tool, it helps your product stand out, and it isn’t one-dimensional (pun not intended). You can bring so many different ideas together into such a small surface area, or you can go in the opposite direction and have it be larger than life.

https://dribbble.com/shots/2609955-Chocolate-Packaging

5. Publication design

If you’re working in graphic design and what you’re creating is going into some kind of publication, then there’s a decent chance you’ll experience added scrutiny. This goes for magazines, books, reports, newspapers, other print media and more. In most instances, it also requires you to be quite diverse with regard to what your skill set actually is.

From the layout to the different stories you’ll have to cover to the tone, you’ll have more than a few people giving their input. It’s crucial to incorporate plenty of different stances in the name of keeping everyone happy, but you also have to be consistent and not stray too far from the core meaning behind the publication. In short, this is a lot of hard work.

https://dribbble.com/shots/2540570-Slide-A4-Keynote-Proposal

6. Website design

Get ready because you’re going to be spinning a lot of plates if you’re going to get into the crazy cult of website design. From the first blueprint to the software to triple-checking every single page three times over, this one is a big commitment. There’s likely going to be an IT department to fall back on from a tech point of view, but the graphic design elements are going to be clutch.

If it’s a brand-new website, you want to appeal to as big of a base as you possibly can to make a good first impression. If you’re levelling up and changing the face of your brand, then that’s real pressure - but in a good way. The images need to blend in with the layout just as easily as the colours need to blend in with the tonal shift you’re undergoing. It’s complicated, but everyone loves a challenge, right?

https://dribbble.com/shots/7158635-TheHub-Website-Exploration-01

7. Illustration design

The first word we think of when contemplating the meaning of illustration design is “beauty”. That’s going to sound a little bit cheesy, and perhaps it is. Illustrations are born out of passion and a need to let your creative juices flow, so when that can mesh together with a graphic designer who wants to take the work to a new level, you’re probably going to get something that the general public will want to see.

Sometimes, you’ll be drawing something with the knowledge that it’s going to be factored into an even bigger project. In other cases, you could stumble into an entirely new job or assignment purely based on a doodle or sketch you’ve created. There are lots of ways to describe illustrators, but above all else, we’d just call them true artists.

8. Typography design

We don’t always want to go out of our way to read a piece of text unless it’s absolutely necessary. When we do, though, we want to be engaged. We want to look at the information that lies before us and absorb it in a fun, simple way. Believe it or not, but a huge piece of the puzzle with this can actually come down to the font, aka the typography.

The structure, appearance, colour and overall style aim to convey a message in a way that’s going to resonate with the audience. It’s not about creating or using a new font for the sake of it, but instead, it’s about the art behind it. This is a great example of what we believe ‘going the extra mile’ looks like, especially if you happen to be a start-up company looking to make a splash.

https://dribbble.com/shots/6858722-Vacation-Display-1-2

9. Infographic design

For those of you who don’t know, an infographic is a representation of data that has been put together with other slices of information into some kind of Avengers lineup. It essentially gives you the perfect overview of just about any topic, helping you learn how to understand it better in a condensed manner that doesn’t require too much effort or thinking.

Essentially, it’s very visually appealing, and that’s a great place to start. This may seem like little more than a cute anecdote or tidbit, but it’s not. Infographics are used in everything from presentations to pitches and beyond, and it’s for good reason. There is minimal text present, it hits all the key points quickly, and there’s no excess to deal with.

https://dribbble.com/shots/4288975-How-to-Order-at-Baby-Greens

10. AI graphic design

There are a lot of people who don’t want to admit this, and that’s okay, but we’re here to tell you that they are living in denial: artificial intelligence is the future. You don’t need to like it, and you don’t even have to tolerate it right now, but that’s because it is in its infancy. In five to ten years, there’s going to be so much AI around us that we won’t even know what to do with it.

That includes the realm of graphic design, too. It’s a human/machine hybrid that is used to take the industry to brand-new heights. Some may argue that it introduces a ‘lazy’ element into the design process, but we’d disagree. If anything, it can assist with inspiring new theories and plans that simply wouldn’t have been available prior to AI being on the scene.

11. Corporate design

Always bring it back to the brand. It’s a simple statement to make, but it’s one that corporate companies often live and die by. The complex nature of branding means that in society, your brand means everything. From the way you communicate with the public to how you are identified in your field, you have to ensure the design is as crisp and comfortable as it can possibly be.

Firstly, there’s the colour palette to consider, which has to be consistent with pretty much every piece of content you put out there. Secondly, you’ve got the logo and font, which have to complement each other. There are letterheads, presentation templates, merchandising - you name it, and corporate design will probably have a place for it.

12. Minimalistic design

They always say to keep things simple and with minimalistic designs, that’s exactly what the target is. You want clean lines, a colour palette that isn’t going to be too out there, very few details and finally, something that’s going to look elegant and classy. That may sound like a lot, but once you’ve worked out the most important details, everything else falls into place.

It’s a sentence you’ve probably heard a thousand times before, but we’re going to say it again: less is more. Sure, there are times in which it can make sense to stack the deck with as many ideas as you can possibly throw together. In equal measure, it’s just as beneficial to keep things calm and steady, if only to avoid the risk of seeming like you’re going over the top.

https://dribbble.com/shots/20454370-Chart-Cards

13.  Mobile design

It’s all well and good to carve out a great design for a variety of different platforms, but you have to make sure the transition to your mobile is smooth. If you’re actively designing something for phones in the first place, then that’s a great starting point - but we’d argue that it can sometimes be even trickier to really get something that everyone is happy with.

As is the case with so many things in life, you aren’t going to please everyone, but it’s still quite challenging to make a mobile design work. It has to be as sleek as it is effective, and it does, in a lot of ways, go hand in hand with UI design. There’s a constant need to push the pace in this specific sub-genre, and it’s probably because it’s just so competitive.

Need help with graphic design? Contact Hatchly!

As you can probably tell, we here at Hatchly have a fair bit of experience when it comes to the crazy world of graphic design. This practice has been around for years, but in a lot of ways, it’s more interesting to think about where it’s heading in the future. This isn’t a business or a company that’s going to stay stagnant, and through unlimited graphic design, you can nearly guarantee that to be the case.

We’ve spoken about plenty of different types of graphic design today, and we’d imagine that at least a few have grabbed your attention. This line of work is far more complex than a lot of people realise and through our platform, we strive to bring you the kind of ideas and execution that will always leave you coming back for more.

We offer affordable rates, a dedicated team of professionals and the kind of communication that will give you all the reassurance you need. So, if this sounds like a fun collaboration, feel free to check out our website and get in touch!

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