The Craft is Communication

I really liked this thing that Aaron Draplin said to The Great Discontent. He essentially said that he wasn't just in design for the commerce and cash—he's in it to help people. To bring something different and useful to the hands of people and causes and organizations that need it.

Yeah...I dig that.

It's taken me a little while to define for myself why I love all aspects of graphic design so much, and hearing Aaron say that resounded with me. As a student and as a creative gun-for-hire for others, I've encountered the occasional odd sort of who doesn't understand what the term "graphic design" relates to, or who tends to clump graphic design into some vague "artistic" category that, to them, doesn't signify much in the grand scheme of things. And that's not necessarily a wrong thing to's simply uninformed. Take what google tells you if you ask what graphic design is:

the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books.

Ehhh....yes and no.

Graphic Design is communication.

Design isn't merely about pretty pictures and making things look good.

It's about helping people.

Design does an important deed in helping to change people's lives because it helps to tell stories and send messages. And this is how you speak to people—to audiences. Tell them stories, engage them viscerally and visually. People love to feel engaged and pampered, and good design, like good storytelling, good code, good strategic planning, helps to accomplish that. The craft of graphic design is the craft of communication, and to disregard it is to disregard a key step of the communication process. And honestly, a good designer should be able to explain that in some way or other to someone who doesn't.

A key reason I love this craft is I'm a generally quiet person who keeps her vocal opinions to herself in conversation. But in writing and in design, I find that I at last have an outlet to speak my voice and be heard and not interrupted (hashtag: introvertproblems), and to even help others be heard. Which is incredibly rewarding. I love well crafted stories, and with design—whether a logo or a poster commission—I'm able to help people craft visual narratives, which is a great source of joy for me. The written word can speak louder than the spoken word in many cases, and with the supplement of strong, thoughtful design, even more-so. It's a powerful, to be able to help people communicate. It's a tool I'm proud to wield as a designer.