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Basic graphic design

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Design is a discipline that seeks solutions and portrays them in sketches that perfect progressively. By means of various processes, design seeks to mentally pre shape the outcome of a task and begin to portray it in some fabric or material. But we can not say that the design is merely a search for solutions: it is also a special treatment of the sign. Many origins of the word “design” can be traced back. From Anglo-Saxon we get its strongest connection with the meaning and the sign arising from “relating to the sign” and “signaling” like indicating the direction of the way. Design is the discipline that shapes, modifies and creates signs in response to existing meanings. That is to say, this field does not generate sense, or new meanings, on the contrary, it suggests new ways of portraying what is already known and connecting it closely with something else.

When a designer delivers a design depicting our company’s responsibility and success he is not generating this two concepts, he is rather inventing new signs to portray them. This signs that stand in for “responsible” and “successful” also show the direction in which they are to be read: in our direction. If the design is well made it will make the receptor associate these concepts with our company. Consequently, the designer actually found a new way of saying “responsible and successful” and this new way not only says that but also says so of ourselves. This type of communication: non explicit, metaphoric, symbolic, connotative or whatever it may be called entails a peculiar advantage: it does not SAY things, it SUGGESTS them. Let’s take the following example: a businessman orders a logo for his company. He wants it to portray the responsibility and success of the business. Consequently, the designer creates this corporate logo embodying the concepts of “responsibility” and “success” and sends it to the company. However, the logo never says “this business is responsible and successful”, it merely infers it. Now, what is the advantage of this? The advantage lies in the fact that we accept better what we say than what others say. As Rousseau said, “there is no person who having known the truth and the untruth shall not prefer the untruth that he has discovered to the truth discovered by someone else”. This will always be like that and the more we try to convince someone straightforwardly, the more we will turn him against us. Design tries to suggest these concepts of responsibility and success: the receptor looks at the design and says: “ I think this company is responsible and successful”. The design makes the receptor say to himself what the design is saying surreptitiously. It is always better for the receptor to convince himself than for us to try hard to convince him.

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Therefore, what design does is find the best way to achieve something: from a logo that adequately depicts a company to the best way of placing the furniture in a house. It is a discipline that seeks the best way to solve problems relying on the sketch and on the proof. Design creates signs:

the logo of a company is a sign just as it is the distribution of furniture in a house or the combination of colors and textures in garment. They are signs because they mean something. Sometimes the key objective is the meaning and others the efficiency or operating capacity of the creation, but this merely shows that there are degrees of importance of meaning but in no way infers its disappearance.

The design we will be dealing with embraces the rendering of what is abstract into something concrete. The abstract element (the ideas) are not exclusive of the designer, rather they are generated mostly by the client. It should be noticed that the work that a freelance designer or a designer working for a design company does day in day out developing projects differs from the precise and limited work done when a specific design is ordered, as is our case. It is then that the designer devotes himself to creating a new sign, appealing, persuasive and interesting to portray the concept that the client wants for his company, such as “reliable”. He will work on a concept and he will submit it to the client’s opinion.

At the moment of grading the work the designer has done, we shall not turn a deaf ear to what he tells us about it. We shall not judge it as if it were anything else, we should not merely say “I like it” or “I dislike it”. The designer will explain us the advisability of using one or other element within that design in order to attain our objective. That is to say, the result of his work is a sign, a device to transmit information, and it can not be or must not be judged simply as an esthetic object.


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