This coming 27th of April is world Graphic Design day, a creative activity that you may already recognise as it has already been around for decades but has only really begun to take off in the last few years as it´s importance and companies interest towards it grows.

What is Graphic Design?

I’m sure as you’re reading this you have a pretty good idea of what graphic design is: logos, brochures, posters, billboards, magazines..things that all come to mind within the wide spectrum of graphic design. But what is it really? Let’s dig a little deeper..

We could describe graphic design as a type of art with a purpose; it combines both images and texts to communicate an idea or solve a problem. This specific definition is perhaps limited today and due to the progressive growth of the digital world and the sudden rise in new professions and branches of design that go beyond the bland concept of soley “image and text”, this prase has been ever changing of late.

To celebrate this special day in the design world and Brintia, what better way to start at the beginning, to explore the spectrum of roles in which a Graphic Designer entails. What exactly do they do?

Continuing with the very metaphor used by Sam Jarmen regarding the roles of design, instead of conceiving the capabilities of a person in the T form – who have a broad general knowledge and deep knowledge or are more specialized in one thing – the alternative would be to think of them as a trace of fresh paint on a canvas. Which is exactly what we are going to do.



Are You Interested in a Career in Graphic Design?

The painting above creates a base on the edge of the top part, which represents the first level of knowledge. However, there also exisits various levels of density which enter different places at different depths. The point we want to make here is that designers also have different degrees and levels of knowledge in the industry based on their experience, be it editorial design, interaction, digital prototyping, user research, web layout or anything within the creative spectrum. The title with which the designers associate will never truly encompass or define their overall career or experience.

Having said that, you only have to check out Linkedin or any other social media platform to see that the title itself and the role of “graphic designer” has become almost obsolete. There are too many kinds of designers to form specific definitions. However, by following these more general specifications we can see the most common roles in the web design sector in the graph below:


Single Focus Design Roles

The roles of single focus, although usually found under the metaphor of knowledge in T, help us identify the individuals within graphic design with specefic specialities. These roles include:

  1. Researcher
  2. Interaction Designer
  3. Visual Designer
  4. Front-end Developer

So, looking for a single focus designer refers to looking for someone who describes themselves as a specialist.


Multi-disciplinary Design Roles

Multi-disciplinary roles such as UX designer, UI designer, UX Architect or Web Designer, are more generalized and their limits are increasingly less clear nowadays. The role of “UX Designer” for example has earned its place at the top of our list, since it has acquired an enormous breadth of definitions over the years.

Whether in job searches or professional titles, these types of roles should always be accompanied by specifications and examples in order to define their visual level, implementation and expected ideation.


Full-spectrum Design Roles 

Full spectrum design roles are potentially professions that “do it all” but have to spread their knowledge and expertise across many fields in order to fufill this. In general, these types of professionals often reach this level of expertise out of necesity, perhaps working in a Startup where they are forced to perform roles and tasks outside of their main expertise, or in personal projects where they have to cover large areas of work by themselves. Within this category we can find:

  1. UX Engineers
  2. Product Designers.

The latter has the ability to approach a project globally, meaning from a strategic stance for example. On the contrary, they lack a specialty in a specific field, such as designing libraries of visual components for example.

When we talk about user experience, as it is conceived today, we can say that it is a concept that encompasses much more than just a designer. The decisions that are made in pursuit of a good user experience range from the most strategic and abstract to the most technical. Therefore, a UX Designer must be involved in each phase of a project, and is the person within the project with most knowledge of the end user.

A UX designer is committed to the strategic vision of the product: performing the study of end users, friction points, user and business flows, and even wireframes. In a way, this person encompasses many roles, whether it be a designer, a sociologist or a psychologist; At this point of a projects conception there is no visual neither aesthetic.

The profile of work carried out by research, strategy, ideation, interface design (UI) and prototyping is something we usually call “Product Designer”, due to its global and strategic vision. In this way, we are referring to a full spectrum role.

So now you fully understand the wide spectrum of this role, what are the needs of your project and how can Brintia help you?