Designing visual identities involves the design and application of logos as well as the creation of visual standard manuals (also known as style guides) for other designers. Visual identity should provide visibility and render the given organization recognizable. It is vital that people know a company exists, and remember its name and core business. Good visual identity should allow employees and clients alike to identify with the company of their choice.
The main elements of branding/visual identity are logos, fonts, color schemes, symbols, ideas, and even personality. In its essence a brand is a set of emotions and the associations it evokes in the end user.
It is not clear which medium employs the most graphic designers, but it would be safe to assume that magazines and newspapers offer employment opportunities to a large chunk of graphic designers today, divvied between their promotional and editorial departments.
An editorial designer specializing in the layout and composition of books, magazines or newspapers must take into consideration available printing processes and his or her target audience to be able to deliver the content message more efficiently. All elements of design text, layout as well as internal and external graphics, should be in accordance with the publication concept, based on where they are applied. Pay special attention to the outside front cover and the outside back cover, as these create first impressions, often include advertisements, and, hence, may increase the sales of the unit in question. Think about how many people actually judge a book by its cover.
When designing any of these materials, you should first think of their content, as different applications and different genres have their own specific formats, compositions, and hierarchies. Take into consideration your target audience as well, as your layout should be based on the social and cultural values of your readers. Even in graphic design, there is a difference between layouts for housewives and teenagers. If you can't connect with your audience, you might just want to keep your day job.
Last, but not least, pay attention to your competition. Analyze them well so you can establish your product better, based on what you learned from their successes and mistakes.
Know the difference between a front cover and the dust jacket. Spread your page and get your guns out. Face the canons of page construction.
In light of the enduring power of the written word, typography is everywhere you turn. It gives appeal and character to text. Every designer must learn which type to choose, how to use it and when to emphasize it in line with the content. If you, for example, design signalization for public transport, picking the wrong type might lead to a grotesque accident.
Typography is an art form in its own right, as good fonts are difficult to come by (or are too expensive to buy).
When choosing a font, a designer must think about legibility and avoid creating the kind of visual chaos that ensues when one uses too many different types of letters.
Typography should address the visual problems presented by the length of the text, improving the overall readability. For example, longer texts need more regular characters, and decorative ones can be splashed out on titles and excerpts and captions. Always bear in mind the link between your typography and the nature of the publication you are using it for, as it should make visual sense.
In many senses packaging has become as important as the product itself. In the process, you have to bear in mind that you are preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use, all in one go.
The role of packaging design is to contain, protect, inform, and, finally, sell the product contained within the packaging. It should also pay attention to the brand character, as mentioned in the advertising chapter.
Web design is a process of conceptualizing, planning, modeling, and executing electronic media content delivery via the Internet—or, to be more precise, through a Web browser. It has two ends; the front-end and the back-end, and the designer's job is mainly at the front, while programmers take care of the dirty work. In this case, making the design look good means knowing the limitations of your medium.
Web design differs from print design in its very basic functionality. Printed materials are static, viewed selectively, whereas Web pages are animated and interactive.
Interface design and the information architecture behind it jointly work together to create a user experience that is as painless and fast as possible. Jakob Nielsen, a usability guru who Web designers love to hate, sums it up in one sentence: "Users visiting a new site spend an average of 30 seconds on the homepage and less than 2 minutes on the entire site before deciding to abandon it. They spend a bit more time if they decide to stay on a site, but still only 4 minutes on average. If they have to spend 15 of their 30 seconds figuring out which link to click on your home page, you've probably lost them."
Designing an interface is a challenging task, as you need to be able to work from the point of view of an average user, taking into account usability and information architecture. Poorly thought out interfaces could cripple usability, as the average user often will not take the time to figure out the navigation of a site.
Building the rest of the website means working with programmers and content managers. Once that is accomplished, you have a website—a collection of electronic files residing on one or more Web servers and on display to the end user. They can be static or dynamic.
Signs vary depending on their usage. They employ various symbols, icons, logos, colors, and shapes for easy identification and have kept their primary communications role since the dawn of graphic design. Umberto Eco summed it up nicely, saying that a sign is everything that stands for something else, based on an agreed social convention. Be sensitive to cultural contexts as well as how an audience will receive your particular sign or sign system. If the interpretation of the message—that is, the meaning—of the sign is not clear to the recipient, then it does not work.