A Brief Musing On Graphic Design and Art

This is a line. It's straight and plain—it's a 2 point stroke in black ink.

This is the start of a Graphic Designer, and an Artist's work.

Whether you're working on a digital tablet, with a pencil & pad, with code. It all starts with a single line. That line becomes styled with rhythm, color, shape, overlays and patterns, textures. That style is executed with the intent to communicate—whether that communication is an idea, a statement, a story, a call to action. With thought, that simple 2pt stroke goes from a sort of stock, primordial form to something tangible, something with effect and weight.

The process of coming to that tangible state is called design.

Now, there is another line that is often drawn.

 

The title of "Graphic Designer" has a tendency to be relegated to a specific way of being. One who is a Graphic Designer works strictly with paper, with logistics, letters and logomarks. Or so we tend to think, because that's the aesthetic that is somehow attached to the word. We, as both clients and creatives, tend to separate the technical nature of a Graphic Designers work from the aesthetic nature of an Artist's.

Why?

Both are logisticians who work in lines, color, shape and texture. Both must communicate in ways that resonate with reached and yet-to-be-reached audiences. Graphic Design is far from being a truly "Left Brain" task, in that the most visible successes of the craft are as much successes in beauty and execution as they marketing pieces. Human beings are drawn to things that can be touched, that are visually pleasing and straightforward, clever even. Approaching projects with a purely logistical eye does not foster that type of connection to the audience. To connect on a human level, one must embrace the sometimes indulgent sensibilities of the Artist.

For the greatest success in communication, an overlap of Graphic Designer and Artist is necessary, if not imperative. Propaganda art is—no irony intended—a great example of this. But also, product packaging. App UI/UX. Architecture. Art and Design go hand in hand.

Design is communication. Communication without intent is white noise. Intent without Art is careless. Art and Design must be champions of each other to resonate, instead of dissipate.