“Hi you’re a graphic designer aren’t you? I’m not sure if this is something you can help with, I’m looking for…” is the opening sentence of many a phone call I receive. So I thought I’d write this article to briefly outline the different services a graphic designer might provide (although dependent on their individual specialization)
If you’re looking for something to be designed & eventually printed, this should fall right into a Graphic Designer’s field of expertise. They are experts in both the visual intricacies of pleasing layout design and the delicate process of getting what you see on a back-lit computer screen to print out as expected. This requires knowledge of industry colour profiles, spot colours, proofing techniques, and printing techniques which can vary greatly depending on the project. They’ll also have experience in producing many different forms of printed material, from posters and billboards to leaflets and brochures.
Design for the Web.
This is not to be mistaken for “web design”. Some Graphic Designers are also trained in web design (and I’m one of them); but make sure this is the case! Not all Graphic Designers will be capable of producing a website, so check that they specify this is a skill they possess. That said, if you need an advert, promotion or banner produced to be displayed on the web – a well rounded Graphic Designer will be more than capable of coming up with something brilliant. If you want something a little more technical or with advanced functionality, you may need to look for a web developer, or a particularly techy web designer (like me! )
This is a discipline most Graphic Designers will choose to specialise in. It takes everything a designer studies about visual communication and design psychology, applying it to work on behalf of an organisation, business or person.
The following are things that a Graphic Designer might have developed as cross-disciplinary skills, but are fields with their own experts:
Illustration & Artworking = Illustrator or Artist.
Image Retouching = Digital Artist / Retoucher.
Website Design = Web Designer.
Marketing Strategy = Marketing Agency or Strategist.
Content Management (For Web & Social Media) = Content Strategist.
Animation = Digital Animator
3D Modelling = 3D Artist / 3D Modeller
It’s common to find Graphic Designers who are experts at a few of the above skills – and this often goes hand in hand with the widely varied range of projects and experience they acquire. If in doubt, ask them about their areas of expertise and experience – you might be pleasantly surprised at the wide range of services they provide.
See New Jersey-based graphic designer Steven Wolock’s article about what teen-age students who would like to go into graphic design need to know Steven’s design firm, River Graphics, works with large philanthropic organizations, small businesses, and does website design specializing in WordPress.