Graphic Design Training — Enhancing Your Computer Graphic Design Skills

Graphic designers nowadays require not only creative abilities, but also some understanding of other graphic design-related areas such as computer graphic design.

During the 80’s, the advent of desktop publishing and of design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Fireworks, put the power and versatility of the computer at graphic designers’ fingertips. Designers for the first time were easily able to manipulate images and create 3D images using the computer. Computers are now considered to be an indispensable tool in the graphic design industry, though some traditional graphic designers may still prefer to use manual and traditional tools for their creative endeavors.

With modern graphic design concepts and methodologies always changing, graphic designers need to continually advance their knowledge of different graphic design techniques, innovations and graphic design software packages. At present, the basic instructions in graphic designing cannot guarantee for a competitive product anymore without the use of high technology, so that the demand for highly skilled graphic designers is higher than ever.

To become a computer graphic designer, the basic requirements include good creative abilities, good computers skills, and good communication skills.

Computer graphic design helps graphic designers complete their tasks faster and easier. They can effortlessly translate ideas into visual imagery, save it onto their computers and edit it whenever alterations are necessary.

There are great many benefits if you undergo computer graphic design training geared towards arming you with a wider range of cutting edge graphic design skills. Having computer design training also means a greater choice of employment. Computer graphic design skills are in great demand in such sectors as:

1. Advertising agencies – You can use your newly acquired graphic design skills to design appealing and eye-catching advertisements for different media.

2. Web design companies – Help design appealing web pages.

3. Design studios – Apply your design skills to photo editing such as editing the contrast and the brightness of colors on the photos.

4. Publishing houses – Perform layout design and editing tasks. Publications usually follow a distribution schedule; so make sure you are able to meet deadlines.

5. Corporate advertising departments – Design professional corporate ads.

6. TV and film companies – out of all the other jobs, this is where a graphic designer is most suited as it requires a comprehensive application of the designer’s skill and ability, especially if working on animation films.

Your computer graphic design training will open new doors for you into a world of greater opportunities. Your computer design knowledge, combined with your dedication and commitment, will surely help you reach your goal.

Considering a Career in Graphic Design? Artifact Advertising Designers Give Some Insight

“I realized Graphic Design is an easier way to pay the bills – as opposed to being a starving artist contemplating slicing off and eating your own ear”

Why do many artistically talented people end up as Graphic Designers instead of artists and was it a good career choice for them? We spoke to the design team at Artifact Advertising to get some entertaining insights about their graphic design careers…

What is the thing you love most about design and being a designer?

A: Coming up with a concept and having creative freedom. Doing my own designs. (when I get a free moment).

B: Exploring new ideas! You love to hear that your client is happy with what you have done.
I enjoy designing corporate identities the most…I really enjoy that!

C: Definitely being creative, seeing design differently to the average Joe and finding it’s something that ‘feeds your soul’… and of course coming to work in slippers if I really wanted to

D: The challenge of a difficult brief, coming up with something fresh.

Are there any designers that inspire you?

A: Oh yes! I love browsing thedieline.com. Looking at all these designs always gives me a kick!
My favourite, favourite South African designers must be Louis Minnaar and Anthony Dart

B: Yes! And I love the site “Behance”, where they showcase other designers. I just love the creativity and new ways of thinking!

C: There is an illustrator and designer that I absolutely love – Rachel Riordan.

D: Designers like Charles S Anderson, Daniel Palavin, Neville Brody, Louise Fili, Paula Scher and Adolphe Mouron Cassandre Inspire me every day.

What are the design trends at the moment and how have these changed over the years?

A: Hand drawn and 3D fonts, and of course textures and retro shapes. Mmm, they kind of change a bit each year, so I can’t tell – that’s what makes it so exciting!

B: The saying “less is more!” Now design is neater and not too busy, more vectors and illustrations are being introduced than the past.

C: I personally like clean, flat colours (no drop shadows). The “vintage” look is very big at the moment with website design, with natural textures.

D: Keep it simple.

Where do you get inspiration for original designs?

A: From those designers and sites I’ve just mentioned. I’m also very much inspired by nature! Also the fact that we’re not American, but African! South African design rules!

B: On websites such as Behance – and Exclusive Books!

C: I have a few sites I am addicted to -thedieline.com for awesome packaging ideas and webdesignerwall.com for the latest trends in web design. Sitting for hours in a book shop looking at design books gives one great inspiration too.

D: Answer Censored

What would be your ideal job as a designer?

A: I suppose I’d love to work for myself or to be a creative director – just coming up with the big idea and everybody loves it!!

B: For one day to work my way up as a designer and learn from others. It would be great to be a creative director one day

C: I would love to conceptualise themes and ideas for events and do all the design work that goes behind it. Something that involved traveling and designing would be great too but don’t think those two go hand in hand.

D: Designing Music graphics, posters, Cd covers. Oh and designing book covers

Any funny or crazy experiences you have had in your career?

A: Everyday we enjoy a few laughs in studio. Every day brings something new. We once had a client who thought he could do his own photo shoot for his products and it would look fine. This client sells food and one of the burgers he shot, had a big fly on it. Epic fail!! What’s the chances!

B: Yes!! I had such a blonde moment at college! There were two PC’s next to each other in class and my friend asked me to help him. I took the mouse and looked at his screen to show him where to go, and spent ages wondering why the mouse was not working! Meanwhile I was moving my own mouse!

C: While studying I was a finalist for a packaging competition and had a photo shoot and an article written with a magazine about my design. Anyways, about 4 years later I went on holiday and we stayed in this little hotel in Kimberly – I think we might have been the only ones staying in the hotel – and the hotel had supplied reading material next to my bed. Out of all the magazines they could have chosen in the world, it was the magazine I was in. I ran around the hotel holding the magazine up to my face, smiling and pointing to the staff that that was me. I think they thought I was crazy, definitely not anyone even mildly famous as I didn’t even get asked for an autograph

D: Answer censored

When did you first realize you wanted to be a graphic designer and why?

A: I’ve always been interested in art. When I was little drawing and painting were my favourite things! My parents are both very creative people an architect and an art teacher. I grew up watching my Mom in the pottery studio and my dad always made me draw and page through art books.
In high school I took art as a subject. I went to a university’s open day for graphic design, and I just knew – this is for me!

B: In high school I took art as a subject and can draw very well. After I matriculated I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew that I must do something that involves being creative. I was advised that I could either study graphic design or fine arts. I did not want to draw (fine arts) as a career because then something that you enjoy would just become another job.

C: I first realized I wanted to be a graphic designer in Standard 5 (I went around telling everyone I was going to be a ‘graphic artist’ and that they used actual computers to do the art). I always loved drawing and being creative and I was set on becoming a graphic designer.

D: I came to love design through studying the history of graphic design, designers throughout history have been great artists, although times have changed. I was studying Fine art, but realized I could still be creative if I followed a career in commercial art, plus finding its way easier paying the bills opposed to being a starving artist contemplating eating your own sliced off ear. I love typography from the first half of the twentieth century and the modern designers who revived it.

What was your perception of being a designer then and what is the reality?

A: I expected it to be more exciting and creative. Unfortunately we spend a lot of time sitting in an office in front of a computer. Not really that creative. Sometimes sticking to the same corporate Id’s really kills your creative spirit. But hey, I don’t regret anything. Graphic design is filled with amazing possibilities!

B: I was told by many designers that it’s really rough working in the industry and you don’t get any respect as a new designer. What I have experienced is quite the opposite! I really enjoy the work and feel part of the team!

C: I thought being designer you would have more freedom to be creative but it is sometimes rather restricting. I probably enjoyed studying more than working as the ideas were limitless and there was never a budget. The real world of a working designer isn’t what I expected but then I didn’t really know what to expect. I still wouldn’t change it for anything though!

D: I think every design student thinks they will land in their first job and everyone will be in awe of your talent, you’ll be the toast of the Loeries and supermodels will fall at your feet as you hold your mac up in the air. I still enjoy the challenge, the creation of concepts and putting a bit of your self in everything, even if your soul gets stomped every now and then.

What tips would you give someone who is thinking about a career in graphic design?

A: If you’re dreaming of being an artist (painting and drawing all day) – don’t study graphic design – it’s much more formal and corporate than you think.
Studying graphic design is a huge commitment – prepare to say bye-bye to your social life – this means intense hard work! So many late nights, but in the end – I’m still so happy with my choice. I’m excited about the possibilities I’ve got – being a designer!

B: Are you prepared for being creative and using most of your time designing? Be inspired by what’s out there for creative ideas. I was told that if you have a creative block, stop, relax and go do something you enjoy. Go back and try again when you are more calm and relaxed.

C: Know what it’s like in the real world. In the real world people have deadlines and budgets and your biggest idea can squished by a client and leave you feeling very despondent. You also spend nearly all of your day in front of your computer… and your chair becomes your buttock’s best friend! Don’t do it if you don’t have a passion for it.

D: Find designers that inspire you, even if you start emulating their work, you’ll eventually find a style of your own. Also question everything, never follow a brief word for word, be a rebel.

Where did you study design and would you recommend it – if not where would you recommend studying design?

A: North-West University, Potchefstroom (Ci-Lab -Creative intelligence Lab). This institute is definitely one of the best in the country. I’ve been to a few design school exhibitions in Jhb, and nothing comes even close to the standard I was used to. I will definitely recommend North-West University. This institute usually walks away with the most Loeries and Pendorings each year. Watch out!

B: I was at “Vaal University of Technology”, I enjoyed it there a lot and they took us to every exhibition and to indaba if we wanted to go. This place has a high standard of work, according to the evaluators we had.

C: I studied at Greenside Design Center but I often wish I had studied at Vega. Design Center was a lot of fun though and I made friends for life there that share the same passion as I do.

What is the thing you like least about being a designer?

A: Sitting in front of a computer.

B: Clients that are really difficult to please.

C: Sitting all day in front of a computer, in the same chair, doing the same routine.

D:The narrow mindedness of some clients

Well there you have it – some valuable insights from our team that we hope will be useful to anyone considering a career in Graphic Design.

Accomplished Graphic Designers Expand Into the Digital Media Market

The definition of graphic design is expanding as new technologies grow. Skilled graphic designers solve visual communication problems or troubles. Proficient in design, drawing, color, typography, production, and rendering methods, off-set printing, as well as common software used in the graphic-design market such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are necessary. With the development in new media, a comprehension about photography, and time-based and interactive media including film, video, and computer multimedia also are of great importance to keep abreast of technology. Although graphic-designers find solutions primarily for print, advertisements, annual reports, packaging, business stationery, brochures, flyers, catalogues, logos, and just about anything you can think of to help businesses stand out, their design “eye” is also used in electronic media sources such as video and audio recordings, multimedia presentations, slide presentations, CD-ROM and website content.

Determining the social and cultural norms of a specific audience helps graphic artists efficiently construct visual solutions. They need to identify the communication’s issue, then collect and examine information related to the issue, and finally crank out numerous approaches to solve the problem. Effective graphic design is perceived as understandable, appropriate, and useful. We see graphic design everywhere in our daily lives in magazines, newspapers, and books, in hand made work, on painted canvas, expressed through photography, or in pure text. The work of graphic artists and its impression has been around for many years.

While in art school, students take graphic and design courses aimed at both print and multimedia design. It is in the best interest of graphic artists to be introduced to both areas, because many designers work in the visual development of web design. If artists want to remain competitive, graphic / web designers must keep up to date with the latest software and computer technologies. In the constantly changing field of graphic design, there are website designers who also are graphic designers and vice versa. However, there are other artists who have decided to specialize only in print related graphic design or only in web site design and its development with a concentration on the technical side of web site building.

It’s fascinating to note that currently many people associate graphic artists only with the print medium. But the times are changing. Even though website designers are not able to exist without the web, and graphic artists really don’t need the web to practice their profession, there are numerous artists involved in the visual creation of websites. Within just the commercial art field there are discussions among artists about the differences between graphic and web designers. Many feel that website design is a sub category of graphic-design.

However, website designers have to take into consideration content design and usability, user experience, and other functional criteria which all relate to the particular features of the Web medium. Website designers need more skills beyond those of traditional graphic artists, whereas the conventional graphic designer continues to find answers to communication problems by deciding on color, font, and images. The conventional graphics job may call for branding such as logo design that showcase a particular idea or identity to be used in a business enterprise’s advertising and other marketing strategies, or almost anything you can think of to enable a group stand out, or it may require constructing posters, signs, brochures, books, or incredible images in the digital media.

Discerning graphic artists do become knowledgeable about the wants for elegant web design while working closely with the web developers, who will turn their visual web designs into the code which enables them to be displayed on the Internet. For the artists who also welcome the technical side of web site creation, they may end up either exchanging their graphic artists’ role for website designer hats or just using both simultaneously!