The 8 Types of Graphic Design

When you think about graphic design, do you think of creative advertisements? Eye-catching graphics on websites? Mesmerizingly arranged spreads in magazines? While these examples fit under the graphic design definition, the term encompasses a lot: book covers, posters, infographics, product labels, business cards, signs, logos, website layouts, mobile apps, software interfaces—the list continues.

So what exactly is graphic design? Listing these graphic design examples is a great beginning, but it does not paint the full picture. While covering these details and intricacies of the whole graphic design field may not be possible in one article, this high-level overview will help you better understand graphic design.

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If you want to become an expert graphic designer, keep reading to learn the basics techniques of the field.

First, what is Graphic Design?

The Canadian Institute of Graphic Arts says the graphic design is defined as "the practice and art of projecting and planning ideas and experiences with visual and textual content." In other terms, graphic design visually communicates specific ideas or messages. These visuals can be as plain as a business logo, or as complicated as page layouts on a site.

"Graphic design takes graphical and textual components and implements them into multiple kinds of media," says graphic designer Alexandros Clufetos, when asked to elaborate on the graphic design definition. "It helps the producer to get in touch with the consumer. It conveys the message of the event, project, campaign, or product."

Graphic design can also be used by companies to promote and sell their products via advertising, by websites to convey complex information in a digestible way through infographics, or by businesses to form an identity through branding, among other things.

It is important to remember that although many graphic design projects have commercial purposes like logos and advertisements, it is also used in other contexts, and graphic designing work is often created specifically as a means for one's artistic expression.

Graphic Design Basics

To understand the meaning of graphic design in a better way, it is essential to be aware of the components and principles that make up the design. Components are used in conjunction or opposition with each other to create visually appealing and impactful designs.

These graphic design elements include:

  • Form
  • Color
  • Line
  • Texture
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Space

Graphic designers also comply with the principles of design, which are necessarily a set of guidelines that help a design achieve effective composition. These basic principles help in creating stability and balance for the piece of work.

The graphic design principles are:

  • Balance
  • Proportion
  • Emphasis
  • Contrast
  • Rhythm
  • Movement

You have heard the old saying that "rules are meant to be broken," which can ring true in this case. But a professional graphic designer must first understand these basic principles before making the conscious decision to break them.

The Pros of Graphic Design

Most Graphic Design Requirements can be Easily Accomplished at Home

If you are a graphic designer with a good grip. Then there are several software options available to you that will let you work from the comfort of your home. You can choose to telecommute or just work as a freelancer if you prefer.

If you require a graphic designer. Then you can outsource this work and potentially save money as compared to hiring someone in-house to get the job done because of this fact. All you require is computer and internet access to get the job done.

It Lets you Explore your Creative Side

It can be expensive to create an expert quality video to post online. Direct mail campaigns and graphic images, on the contrary, can have a dramatic effect on those who view them. As you begin to explore your creative side. You get the chance to communicate your key ideas and values in a visual format. People consume more information via graphic detail than words. So that a well-crafted graphic can communicate up to 1,000 terms of content in 30 seconds or less.

The Graphic Design Adds an Aesthetic Appeal

You can portray any message with graphic design as long as the images fit in with the style of the page. serve the purpose of the organization, and the call to action of your offerings. It can be quite fun to add fancy graphic effects or new fonts to an image. Because it "looks cool," but that does not mean the message is going to get through. You should create images that not only compliment the other forms of media. But make it visually appealing so that people want to look at the image instead of wanting to look away from it.

It Captures the Focus of the Viewer

Because visual components automatically catch the eye. They can be used to attract people toward the essential elements that you want them to see on your page, marketing campaign, email, or other content. People who are drawn to a robust graphic design will review all of the material that is incorporated around that design as well.

It helps make Information Easier to Share

It is specifically true if you are using infographics as part of your graphic design components. A large amount of data can be easier to consume for people who are reviewing the infographics. They can also share this link or image to the page rather quickly to their social media networks to have your image appear on the newsfeeds of family and friends. It becomes a more natural way to reach out to new potential customer segments. Because your graphic components are developing brand ambassadors.

Graphic Design Provides Structure

Having a strong visual structure is critical for any form of media. It lets people follow the content from start to finish so that they can get the complete message. Without effective graphic design, people might skip text, stop watching videos, or not even bother to review the value proposition that a website is offering.

The Cons of Graphic Design

People Instantly Judge the Quality of your Content Based on the Graphics

When the content is being consumed in a written format, the average visitor will usually read the content for 10-30 seconds before they finally make a judgment about it. It means there is a paragraph or two to make a great first impression. In graphic design, images, and colors that are a personal turn off to the visitor are going to build a negative first impression instantly. It can somehow be hard to recover from a miss here.

Expectations Can be very Different from Reality

People enter into each situation they encounter with preconceived notions. There is just no getting around the personal bias that every person has. When graphic designs come across this bias, the gap that stays between the expectations anyone has for the visual content and what they usually see can be way too different. You might communicate everything effectively, yet because of how someone else sees the image, the results can be very different from what is expected. 

Graphic Design Needs to be Continuously Updated

The only exception to this general rule is the branding you or your organization might have. Brands speak of an eternal message. All of the other graphic design components must be consistently updated, so the visual impact stays relevant and modern. Even images that were posted last year might be considered to be out of date by individual key market segments, and that can be costly to the profit margin.

Large Graphic Files Can Decrease Website Load Times

You should avoid using graphics which have a large file size because it will increase the number of time visitors require to wait to have their page load. The modern speed needs are down to around a second, which means that most images should contain less than 100kb of data. If you are uploading files that are 1mb or larger, then there is a substantial chance that your bounce rate is high than it usually should be.

Too many Graphics can make Content Appear Cluttered

The main point is usually valid for graphics that are bright or use images that are viewed as being obnoxious. Might be having a one dancing baby is adorable if it is a GIF on a blog post. If you have a bunch of dancing babies in the footer of your website that keeps going on each page someone visits, then it is going to push people away.

It can be Hard to Incorporate Text into Some Graphic Designs

It is especially true for online graphic design requirements. Text can be resized when it is the text. When it is published, you are at the mercy of quality, spacing, and other themes or template restrictions, which can make the content appear incredibly bad in the wrong format.

The pros and cons of a graphic design show us that it is necessary to move ahead carefully when incorporating visual components into any form of media. Graphics should be informative, complementary to other types of content, and easy to share. In doing so, the negative components that can be found with graphic design can be effectively limited.

Below, we will go over these different types, examples of each, and job titles that align with their respective category. Not sure what software to begin with as you are refining your skills? Find the best graphic design software that is currently on the market today.

Advertising Design

Advertising and Marketing experts would be nothing without their graphic designers. Art directors and Creative directors are responsible for things as small as brochure design concepts for designing low marketing materials like business cards and basic flyers and large projects like whole advertising campaigns. Visual content is usually engaging, and companies rely on effective graphic design to tap into the buying decisions of customers.

These kinds of designers work with various mediums to effectively meet the needs and wants of their clients. While graphic design in the marketing and advertising industries has traditionally been print-centered, it is rapidly expanding to include digital assets. Understanding how to design for both digital and print is essential for designers that are looking to break into advertising so that they can confidently meet the requirements of any client.

Email marketing templates, social media graphics, and content marketing are just some of the digital uses of advertising and market design.

Advertising Graphic Design Examples:

  • Brochure design
  • Newspaper and magazine advertisements
  • Infographic design
  • Digital advertisements
  • Social media graphics
  • Email marketing templates

Job Titles for Graphic Designers in Advertising

Illustrators – Illustrator's main job is conceptualizing and making images that represent an idea or story and can later be also used in advertising content. Illustrators can use various methods to get the results they want, from pencils and paint to digital tools and software.

Environmental Graphic Design

The environmental graphic design embraces elements from multiple disciplines to connect people to the places they visit. This idyllic, but by combining graphic, architectural, interior, landscape, and industrial design, environmental graphic designers can enhance a person's experience. Improvements are typically made by making the environment more informative, memorable, or easier to navigate.

Wayfinding, which includes visual cues or signage to indicate where people are and where they should be going, is the critical purpose of environmental design.

However, the uses of it go beyond that– such as acting as a communicator for organizations to relay a meaningful message or tell a story to visitors. To create designs with a level of sophistication, those who have environmental design jobs must have an understanding of and experience with both architecture and graphic design.

Job Titles for Graphic Designers in Environmental Design

Associate Designer 

Associate designers for environmental design are newbie graphic designers. This position is an excellent place for fresh graduates to get started in the world of ecological design.


Drafters work to transform designs that associate designers, engineers, and architects, into drawings. This job gets a little more technical than the typical graphic design job and needs specialization in electrical, or architectural, mechanical drafting.

Environmental Design Examples

  • Signage
  • Event Spaces
  • Office Branding
  • Murals
  • Stadium Branding
  • Exhibitions

Publication Design

Publication design traditionally refers to the print medium– such as newspapers, books, etc. However, unlike many other subsets of graphic design, technological advancement has led to new opportunities for its potential use.

Digital publication design utilizes traditional components of art such as typography, color, and space. Publication designers can thoughtfully blend these components to create content that can be perceived visually, on a digital platform. It includes email newsletters, e-books, magazine layout, etc. Many people who have a publication design job for a publishing company as a freelancer or as a part of a creative agency.

Job Titles for Graphic Designers in Publication

Production Artist 

Both a creative and technical profession, the job title assigns layout or work to the production artist. Production artists often work with the designer and art director in a company to make sure that everything is in the right place. This position often needs extensive knowledge of design software, print production, and creativity.

Layout Artists

Layout artists are responsible for designing the structure of texts and images in a format that is not only pleasing, primarily for printed media. It includes posters, magazines, books, and brochures.

DTP Artist

DTP, aka (desktop publishing) artist, is responsible for translating the designs of art directors and illustrators into a digital format in preparation for online or print publication. Generally, DTP artists are highly skilled in desktop and multiple design and publishing software programs.

Publication Design Example

  • Newsletters
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • EBooks
  • Books
  • Catalogs

Motion Design

If you are not familiar with the field of graphic design, you must be thinking,  "what really is motion design?" However, this is a new visual design style that is less complicated than its name suggests and has become a particular style choice for graphic designers. Motion design is the generation of bits of digital graphics, which builds the illusion of rotation or motion.

You can find traditional uses of the motion design the opening of television shows, movies, or news productions. These days, examples of motion design are found across all the digital platforms, such as in website design, GIFs, apps, etc.

Within the last few years, motion design has increased in popularity as the society continues to digitize. Technological advancements have given designers an excellent opportunity to explore the value that this medium has to offer. Make sure to stay ahead of the latest design trends to keep ahead of the competition.

Job Titles for Graphic Designers in Motion Design

Motion Graphics Designer 

These designers are highly trained in traditional graphic design and blend other components into their existing knowledge of design. They might also come from a background of video production filmmaking and with the ability to use animation to make stagnant graphics better.

Motion Design Examples

  • Video Games
  • Apps
  • GIFs
  • Animated texts
  • Internet banners
  • Advertisements
  • Title sequences and end credits

Corporate Design

Corporate design is used by organizations to express the relationship between a brand and its audience. The visual components of a brand identity act as the company's face for communicating its personality, tone, and essence. Intangible components such as color, shapes, and imagery all elicit specific feelings for an audience and dictate how a consumer perceives a brand.

Keeping a brand consistent is essential to corporate design since consumers respond to recognizable visual media. Generally, within corporate identity design, designers collaborate with brand stakeholders to make products such as logos, typography, image libraries, color palettes. Then, designers will create a corporate design guideline to make sure that visual branding is applied consistently throughout all existing and future applications.

Job Titles for Graphic Designers in Corporate Design

Brand Identity Designer

When a company is just setting off, visual representation of their products or services are essential to relate to an audience, no matter who the audience might be. Brand identity designers might work within an advertising agency to ensure that a client has a strong visual brand identity by updating the typography, logo, color palette, and assets.

Logo Designer

The title shows responsibilities. The logo designers are responsible for going through the logo design procedure with a client and ultimately creating a logo that suits and aligns with the brand aesthetics. Logo designers often work for advertising agencies, but they can also work as freelancers.

Examples of Corporate Design

  • Business cards
  • Logo design
  • Business newsletters
  • Stationary

TIP: Use a graphic design template repository to help make stunning graphics on the fly.

Web Design

Page layout, selecting images, and deciding on the best typography for the website are all part of web design. Web design knots closely with UX design and UI design, which aims to build an interface that balances the aesthetic appeal on the front end page with optimal usability.

Job Titles for the Graphic Designers in Web Design

Web Designer

These people use the concepts of graphic design to build a responsive web design that is close-knit and user-friendly through the use of UX and UI design.

Packaging Design

When you look on the shelves of a grocery store, retailer, etc., almost every item comes in some kind of packaging. While this packaging works as a protection for merchandise, companies also realize the opportunity that product packaging design presents.

Through strategically implementing shape, color, and typography, packaging becomes a way for companies to communicate their brand's personality and story directly to their consumers.

Makeup, retail, and food packaging design are just a few of the handful of industries where this style of design is a valuable and useful marketing tool. Effective packaging design can give a product "shelf impact," which can significantly boost sales for a company. For packaging designers, this means it is critical to have a keen understanding of not only graphic design but also successful product marketing tactics.

How to Become a Graphic Designer?

To become a graphic designer, you will be needing to have IT and drawing skills. You will require to be able to find practical solutions to problems. You will also need top-notch communication skills.

Most professional graphic designers have an HND, foundation degree, or degree in graphic design or other art and design-based subject. You will also be needing a working knowledge of desktop design software, such as Illustrator, QuarkXPress and image-editing software such as Photoshop. You can do courses in these at private training providers, colleges, and through self-study.

An employer will be very interested in your creative ideas and design skills and as they are in your qualifications. Talent and personal contacts are very essential for getting work. You will definitely need to have an up-to-date portfolio to show the potential employers what you can do.

Unpaid work experience, holiday jobs, and internships will give you the chance to enhance your contacts, make your portfolio, and impress employers. You can also build a custom website to showcase your work.

Competition for jobs is getting tight, and not all jobs are advertised, so as well as making contacts, you could approach companies and design agencies yourself. You might be able to become a junior graphic designer through an apprenticeship scheme. You will need to check which programs are available in your area.

With a better understanding of where your graphic design skills can take you, it is not a bad idea to begin taking a look at what opportunities are out there for you. Becoming a graphic designer in any of these fields is an unparalleled opportunity to leave a mark on the world.

To know about Digital marketing read What is Digital Marketing and How it Works?