How To Handle Every Graphic Design Challenge With Ease Using These Tips

Someone has said, “A picture speaks a thousand words”. This fact was never more true for anyone else, but for graphic designers. Graphic design is a process of communicating with your target customer using tools like typography, photography and illustration.

Common uses of graphic design can be found in corporate designs in the form of logos and branding, editorial design for magazines, newspapers and books, environmental design, communication design, product packaging and signage. It also includes advertising and web designing.

Graphic design has wide reaching applications. It has application in road signs, interoffice memorandums, reference manuals, selling products or ideas, logos, colors, packaging and branding too. Other applications of graphic design include the entertainment industry, vinyl album covers, opening and closing credits in filmmaking, artwork used for designing T-shirts. It is also an important part of information design. This information could be for newspapers, magazines, blogs and television. It could also be for film documentaries, illustrating news stories on the web, data visualization, and information graphics.

Who Is a Graphic Designer

A graphic designer is one who creates and combines symbols, pictures and text to communicate ideas and messages. A typical graphic designer uses all the three tools namely typography, page layout techniques and visual arts techniques to make visual compositions. A graphic designer is an important member of the branding team. In other words, a graphic designer is a professional within the graphics design and graphics arts industry who communications through images both in still and moving communication media.

What are The Challenges Posed By The Graphic Design Field

Challenges in the graphic design field

In the June of 2010, Michael Babwahsingh had written in an article that, information design does not make sense. He further said that information design is an open playing field, where, everyone can participate, create, innovate and capitalize on whatever they wish to do. His only concern, that he expressed was that ‘how long this infoviz party would last?’. For him, the integrity and future of the information design field was at stake. He spells out the ten major challenges that are posed by the field.

1. Overproduction

There is too much of content published online regarding the information design field. Much of this content is contradictory. A case in point is ‘some literature says that information design is a new field’, while another piece of information says that ‘information design existed since ancient civilization’. This confuses newbie graphic designers as well as established designers who wish to seek information on the subject. In the absence of genuine information on the subject, a lot of wrong information is propagated.

2. Misunderstanding

Unless and until genuine information is available on the evolution of the communication design or the graphics design profession, many wrong ideas will be perpetrated. This will make progress in the field stagnant. Contradicting literature on the subject will lead to a misunderstanding among the practitioners of the profession and the purists who formulate principles. Even Nathan Yau had touched upon this problem in his September 2011 issue of Flowing Data. This post made it clear that clarity was lacking.

3. Undervalue

Public perception of the field of graphic designing or information designing has taken a beating. Due to non-availability of correct information on the subject, this field is stagnating. It has not progressed for some years now. If genuine information was available, concepts like website architecture, data displays, etc could have a plausible explanation. Right now, knowledge in this field is being undervalued. This is happening because there is no reference text for creating new literature and new courses.

4. Fragmentation

Although organizations like the Society of Technical Communication and International Institute of Information Design have tried to bring together professionals from this field, there is an absence of clarity between the boundaries of information design, graphic design and communication design. Right now, all the professionals from these fields are treated the same way. This is hampering the design of further curricula in these fields. Due to this absence of curricula, these fields will remain where they are and not progress. A fragmentation of the different design fields is required.

5. Scarcity

There is a distinct scarcity of professionals in this profession. Professionals today assume different job titles depending on what their companies give them, but skilled information designers remain outside the spotlight. A distinct lack of further curricula on the subject may lead to further development of the field and consequently a scarcity of skilled professionals in the field. Due to this, professionals from this field will not be able to surmount the challenges posed by the field.

6. Amnesia

There is a lack of memory among design professionals when it comes to going back to the roots. In the absence of a formal history on the subject, seniors misguide new comers and dominate them by virtue of their experience. Nobody knows where to get in-depth knowledge on the subject. Everybody is getting knowledge by working practically in the field and getting experience and knowledge. There is a distinct lack of suitable study courses in this field and similarly, there are not good educational institutes teaching graphic designing.

7. Misappropriation

Marketing info graphics are spewing out false information about website analytics. Instead of giving out genuine information, these info graphics are seeking to render credible, hitherto false information on the subject of information design. Proponents of these info graphics are touting experience and knowledge about the do’s and don’ts about a subject to be enough to dictate terms to new professionals from the field. In short, there is misappropriation of knowledge. No knowledge available today on the subject can be called genuine.

8. Commercialization

Although, academic level publications on information design like Information Design Journal, Parsons Journal for Information Mapping, do exist, it is found that knowledge depicted in it is not foolproof. A counterbalance of instructive resources and knowledge is still required to explain complex concepts in the field. Right now, commercial concepts are dominating academic knowledge. Whatever is accepted and paid for is being passed of as genuine knowledge on the subject. This is the height of commercialization in the field of information or graphics design.

9. Commodification

Due to the dominance of tools and technology over academics, there is a distinct commodification of information on the subject. No one is talking on subjects like speed of production, research, analysis, sketching and iteration. Everyone is caught up with the new tools and the accompanying software for doing graphics design. In any field, process and skill should precede product, but, here the complete opposite is happening. This is a complete commodification of knowledge. Whatever is paid for is being passed off as knowledge on the subject.

10. De-humanization

The process of graphic design has become de-humanized. This means, nobody is talking of the information designer extending his skills to make a concept clear to the customer. Everybody is trying to use the skills available to offer services to the customer. The customer is made to compromise. The process of attending to the customer is getting mechanical with the use of sophisticated tools of graphic design. Designs are a product of an aesthetic mind, however, here; designs have become outcomes of the software capability.

How Can You Handle Each of These Challenges

Handle the challenges

Any graphic designer can counter these challenges by following the below-mentioned tips. This paragraph will give you a 30-day program to become a better graphic designer. You can think of this being a boot camp to your talent.

Day 1: take stock of where you are now

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses as a designer. Take time out to write down your qualities as a graphic designer.

Day 2: turn your handwriting into a font

Create your own design using your handwriting. This will make you appreciate of your design skills. You can use My Script Font for this.

Day 3: follow some great designers on twitter

Twitter is an excellent resource to catch up with people from your field, aka graphic designing. This 140 character platform will help you connect with professionals better than you.

Day 4: start a blog

Starting a blog is a great way to communicate with people from your field. You can put up opinions, conclusions of industry developments, future developments, etc in your blog.

Day 5: make a mood board

A mood board will help you understand what influences your design sensibilities. It will also let you see your design aesthetic at a bird’s eyeview.

Day 6: rebrand a local charity

Use your skills to help a local charity initiative. Volunteer your design skills for them. This will enable you to get exposure in your niche.

Day 7: carry a camera everywhere you go for a day

Just opening pen on paper or using Photoshop expertly does not make you a good designer. Try to observe new things in your surroundings and catch them in your camera.

Day 8: collaborate with another designer

When you are starting out, you may be afraid to share your designs openly. However, once you gain enough experience, you can collaborate with another designer.

Day 9: learn about lateral thinking

Read a book on lateral thinking by Sir Edward de Bono. This will hone your lateral thinking.

Day 10: make something with your hands

You may be using your laptop or smart phone for designing. However, at times, it pays to work with your hands.

Day 11: learn copywriting

It is true that a picture speaks a thousand words. Therefore, you may neglect the art of copywriting completely. This will be a mistake.

Day 12: practice your presentation skills

Unless you communicate your design concept through a presentation, how can you make your customer admire it. Therefore, practice your presentation skills.

Day 13: take an online course

The only way to iron out your weaknesses is to study further. So, take an online course in your weak subjects.

Day 14: swap your skills

Swap your skills online with someone from another creative field who is willing to give his knowledge to you.

Day 15: craft a personal mission statement

Create a mission statement for your own self as big brands do. This should be in sync with your long-term goals.

Day 16: design a graphic tee

Try your hand at creating your own graphic designed tee. You can use the site Thread less for it.

Day 17: learn 3D

Try to understand factors like lighting, shape, composition, depth and perspective. Learn how they can be integrated together.

Day 18: visit the library

A library may be a room having a collection of dusty old books. But, for you it holds a treasure trove of information on graphic design, which you can gather.

Day 19: perfect the pen tool

The graphic designer’s pen tool is a good tool to master. Practice using it here.

Day 20: upgrade your memory

Graphic designs can occupy a lot of RAM on your computer. Therefore, try to upgrade your computer memory so that you can design faster.

Day 21: redesign an album cover

Take your birthday album cover from your childhood days and try to re-design its cover. Try to reimagine the cover in different schemes of design.

Day 22: splurge on design books on amazon

You can get excellent reading material on design on sites like amazon and flip kart.

Day 23: take a nap

Our creative muscles should be rested well enough for us to give inspirational designs. Therefore, catch up on your sleep while you can.

Day 24: join a gym

More exercise means more oxygen. Therefore, you can try to join a gym by checking out your options online. It will definitely keep you refreshed to think better.

Day 25: visit a museum

Like a library, a museum is a treasure trove of information. Therefore, you should not miss visiting it. Find out a local museum and visit it.

Day 26: reconnect with nature

It is said that nature is a healer. Soak in the mountain air by taking a walk in the mountainside. You can also go to a garden where nature is at large.

Day 27: take a day off

If you are not able to think clearly because of burn-out, try to take a day off, so that you can think better, the next day. Your aesthetic sense will be bolstered if you take a day off.

Day 28: write an article

If you would like to learn something new design-wise, try writing an article about it. Writing will clarify your thoughts and also allow you to research a particular topic in-depth.

Day 29: design your personal brand

Try to create a personal brand and maintain it. Just as a company has a brand name, if you also have one, it will only help you.

Day 30: upgrade your arsenal

If you find you are weak in certain aspects of graphic design, take up a course to upgrade your skills. Doing this will give you an added skill.

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One Comment

  1. Nice list of suggestions in your 30-days program, but it would be more of a 3 months program for a newbie, than a 30 days one :)

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