Change is one of the most challenging and satisfying aspects of a career in design. The evolution of taste and technology keeps our skills sharp and demands we stay connected to the people we create for. But what about the future of design? What can we expect and is there still a place for the origin of graphic design?
The essence of what graphic design used to be is becoming obsolete. Even though the future is unclear and nobody knows precisely where the future of design is heading, this career has to frequently adapt to an ever-changing environment. New skills and tools are continuously being developed to adjust and navigate this change. Michael Buckley, creative director, and digital marketing specialist believes that with these transformations graphic design isn’t as vital as it once was. With upcoming professions as digital designers and user experience designers, his question is; what role does graphic design play now?
Before the internet graphic design utilized media such as billboards, direct mail, and print advertisements to achieve business goals. The value of graphic design was apparent and essential for visual communication and reach. In today’s modern era, the internet changed the design world. We no longer need compelling advertisements and appealing campaigns to achieve business goals. Instead, digital marketing and technology-related strategies allow us to hit our target audiences right in the face. The invaluable data digital design can provide us to increase conversion or other business goals, that simple print advertisements cannot provide. Buckley does see an opportunity for graphic design to shine in this world, website templates and other digital elements have to be created by graphic designers. The need to develop reusable system elements is important in the development of certain projects. So you see, graphic design skills are still very much needed and relevant in the future, but only graphic design skills are simply not enough to work in the field nowadays. Graphic designers need to adapt to more digital design principles.
Differences between graphic and digital design
Although they both apply the fundamental design principles, digital skills are often lacking in traditional graphic designers. With different backgrounds and the growth of the internet, these concepts drift more apart. Graphic and digital design are both in the same street, it’s just that one is a bit fresher and up to date than the other. Just as these cameras below, one is newer and has more and advanced features than the older one.
Graphic designers focus mainly on print products, like magazines, brochures, and reports. Digital designers on the other hand focus more on designing digital elements. They use graphic design skills and combine them with technology to create digital products, such as banners, animation, and graphics. One of the biggest differences between graphic and digital design is movement. Graphic design is mostly static, while digital design involves movement. Digital designers can also use audio and sound effects in their products. The role of data and analytics also creates a difference between the two. It’s harder for graphic designers to track the performance of their products because they are printed materials. In the digital world, it is way easier to track data through clicks, views, likes, and shares. This makes it easier for digital designers to improve their work and test their designs. Interactivity also plays a role in the difference between graphic and digital design, interactive design is more complex than static design. With interactive design, it is also important that it is usable for the user. This is why user experience design is also a big part of the digital design field.
In the work field
In the last 25 years, digital design has made a big leap. Almost every brand has an online presence and uses more online communication than print. It’s difficult to find a job nowadays as a graphic designer if you don’t have the skills for digital design. Graphic design includes all the basics but for modern-day communication is a more advanced skill set needed, key elements are responsiveness, engagement, user experience, and interactivity.
Digital design stands at the forefront of today’s digital world and is therefore extremely important to know. It’s a highly competitive world and only with the right skills, you will get there. Graphic design and digital design are similar in some aspects, but in modern-day society digital skills are required for the right job. “A brand voice that can successfully market across a multitude of platforms can be more potent than visual branding. This effectiveness is because you’re explicitly targeting users with messaging that resonates with them — no amount of graphics and fonts can manage this achievement. With the saturation of businesses on the internet, having the right voice produces incredible results and can make a company stand out” (Buckley, 2019). (Foto door Markus Winkler via Pexels)
You can compare graphic design to a typewriter, it’s one of the first tools in design. Even though typewriters are used barely anymore, we still use parts of their skills in nowadays writing. The exact role of graphic design in the future is unknown, but it is not going to vanish. There will always be a need for graphic designers, but with only the right skills, you will make it in this world.