7 Types of graphic design skills for your career: The different elements of graphic design.
Learn more about the different types of graphic design used in the industry.
Graphic design as a whole is a very broad career with the main categories of graphic design often overlapping that require a specific set of design skills and graphic design tools. Please note that this should not be confused with graphic design styles, such as art deco, pop art, or minimalism.
That being said, graphic designers often choose to specialize in a single type of graphic design while some focus on sets. The skillsets for each of the categories of graphic design are similar yet different. Graphic designers may find themselves more attracted to certain types of graphic design more than others.
The beauty of graphic design however is that it’s not limited to doing one thing and if you feel later in your graphic design career another type of design is more appealing to you, you can go for it.
Whether you are a freelance graphic designer, a graphic designer in a graphic design agency, or simply somebody who is interested in the service, busy with graphic design studies or eventually seeking a graphic design career understanding the different types of graphic design will only serve to benefit you.
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visual identity graphic design
1. Visual Identity Graphic Design
A brand is a relationship between a business or organization and its audience.
A brand identity is how the organization communicates its personality, tone, and essence, as well as memories, emotions, and experiences.
Visual identity graphic design is the visual elements of brand identity that act as the face of a brand to communicate those intangible qualities through images, shapes, and color.
Branding is a type of corporate graphic design that focuses on the visual identity of a company or product. These designers must be in tune with the marketing message a brand wants to send, as well as the target audience they wish to reach. Brand identity designers are responsible for crafting the visual identity of the companies they work for.
Every element of branding design must align with these goals, as well as fit into the larger aesthetic of the company or organization. Consumers’ perception of a company is often driven by their branding, so graphic designers in this specialty put all their skills to work developing a visual brand that will connect with the target audience and project the right message about the company. Visual identity graphic designers must also possess a general knowledge of all types of graphic design in order to create design elements that are suitable across all visual media.
Visual identity graphic designers require good communication skills need to be creative and have a passion for research and design trends. This is because there is a lot of brainstorming and research involved on the part of the graphic design team, branding or marketing department, and the key members of management involved as the finalized creative’s and designs become the face and expression of the firm.
Types of Branding design produced:
- E-mail Signature
- Uniform for the staff
- Business Card
- Social media pages
- Marketing collaterals such as brochures and leaflets
- Hoardings and Billboards
- And design templates amongst others
Visual Identity Graphic Design Career Jobs and Salaries:
1. Logo designer
Average Net Salary: R275,29 Per hour
2. Packaging designer
Average Net Salary: R332 Per Hour
2. Packaging designer
Average Net Salary: R332 Per Hour
2. Marketing & Advertising Graphic Design
Marketing and advertising design are one of the bigger types of graphic design and also require strong creativity and good knowledge of marketing. This is often why marketing is taught within a graphic design in college and university. See more on graphic design courses.
Marketing graphic design is all about communicating and promoting a brand’s products or services in a visually appealing way. Not only that, but all the materials created need to adhere to the company’s visual identity. Great marketing graphic design is also about making sure that all your materials are following the brand guidelines. This means making sure that you incorporate your logo, color palette, typography, and other brand elements that are specific to your business (like an icon, a pattern, or a particular photographic style).
Whether appearing online or in print, marketing and advertising designs are key elements of any company’s promotional strategy.
Marketing designers take the initial visual identity graphic design and extent it into the marketing and advertising goals of a company. This means they are usually involved in designing print collateral, digital media, content marketing, and ads to name a few. A marketing designer’s main job is to bring to life the marketing & advertising strategies that a company has decided on.
It’s important that the designer’s work connects with the target audience and furthermore relays whatever message the design is meant to spread. Graphic designers of this type will often work in teams and will require strong communication skills. Since people will always find visual content more engaging, graphic design helps organizations promote and communicate more effectively.
Marketing designers work with company owners or marketing professionals to create assets for marketing strategies from the established visual identity design.
Types of Marketing & advertising graphic design produced:
- Postcards and flyers
- Magazine and newspaper ads
- Posters, banners, and billboards
- Brochures (print and digital)
- Vehicle wraps
- Signage and trade show displays
- Email marketing templates
- PowerPoint presentations
- Social media ads, banners, and graphics
- Banner and retargeting ads
- Images for websites and blogs
Marketing & Advertising Graphic Design Career Type and Title:
1. Advertising designer
Average Net Salary: R327.42
3. Marketing specialist
Average Net Salary: R934 per hour
2. Art director
Average Net Salary: R934 per hour
3. Product & Packaging Design
Product and packing design requires another set of skills from a graphic designer: the ability to visualize designs in 3d. As often products and packaging are in boxes or labels it’s important for a graphic designer to understand how their flat design will look on a 3 d item. Tools such as photoshop allow the use of mockups to make this aspect easier and put forth concepts for approval
These types of graphic designers need to have a strong grasp of branding as well as consumer behavioral psychology to create packages that make customers want to make a purchase.
From a graphic designer’s point of view, design is is how the brand’s design is reflected in the product boxes. In this sense, the design concept needs to attract the attention of a customer, but also provide information about the product.
Packaging graphics should also take the brand’s design and motives and show it off on the box. Considering hiring a professional graphic designer or using simple yet effective online graphic design tools to simplify the process
This type of graphic design requires that designers conduct market research to make sure their product will appeal to the target audience and won’t violate competitors’ copyrights. Then they’ll create early illustrations and prototypes of their designs before they’re sent into production.
Type of Product & Packaging design produced:
- Various types of products,
- product packaging,
- marketing designs,
- product illustrations and prototypes.
Product Packing Graphic Design Career Job and Salary:
1. Packaging designer
Average Net Salary: R327.23 per hour
2. Product developer
Average Net Salary: R420.23 per hour
4. Animation or Motion Graphic Design
This is basically an animated graphic, whether it be in the form of gifs, a set of slideshows, or even a video designed in adobe aftereffect. Motion graphic design is essentially an animated type of graphic design. Motion graphic designers used to be a specialist role. This was because they wore mostly used in the film industry. However, with new technology allowing us to publish videos and all kinds of other design formats all over the web, on places such as websites of the various social media platforms, this role has become more popular as there is now more than ever bigger demand for it.
Motion graphics designers, sometimes just called motion designers, create artwork for the web, television or film. This could include movie clips, trailers, commercials, title sequences, etc. They use visual effects, animation and other cinematic techniques to bring life to their creations. They design graphics that are in motion—just as their title suggests.
By animating graphics and creating vivid visual effects, motion graphics designers bring films, websites, commercials, and more to an entirely new level. With the increasing prevalence of video content online, motion graphics designers could find themselves working on almost anything, on any digital platform.
Type of Animation or Motion graphic design produced:
- Animated logos
- Promotional videos
- Tutorial videos
- Video games
- Remarketing Banners
Motion Graphic Design Career Job and Salary:
1. Multimedia artist or animator
Average Net Salary: R342.63 per hour
5. Print-Publishing Design
This type of graphic design requires strong attention to detail and command of the language of the publications. As design mistakes could end up costing companies a fortune after going to print. Graphic designers who work in the publishing industry typically work on books or magazines.
Publication designers specialize in creating layouts, typography, and accompanying artworks which include photography, graphics and illustrations. They work with editors and publishers to produce printed materials such as newsletters, magazines, books, brochures, etc.
Graphic designers in the print and publication industries need to understand the principles of good design, as well as the technical specifications of creating print-ready files.
They need to be able to work with photographers and writers so it goes without saying strong communication skills are a must here. Putting together a layout for the various elements from other creatives which includes photography, graphics, and illustrations. Requires them to have strong organizational skills. They will also need a good knowledge of printing and digital publishing.
When printing a product, it’s necessary to take design into account to create a high-quality and professional-looking printed work. When utilized correctly, publication design can inform and instruct an audience through the combination of words, graphics, and layout.
Types of Publishing designs produced:
- Annual reports
Publishing Graphic Design Career Job and Salary:
1. Publication designer
Average Net Salary: R654.12 Per Hour
6. Environmental Graphic Design
Environmental graphic design, or EGD, is a multidisciplinary field of design in which the disciplines of graphic design, architecture, art, lighting, landscape, and other fields are utilized as a way to enhance the user experience through the visual translation of ideas in the built environment.. Environmental graphic design combines basic design principles with elements of architecture and landscape design to create signs, maps, and other visual elements that people use to navigate the world around them.
It encompasses the broader notion of all communication in the built environment,” including visuals like digital text that appears on the exterior of buildings, museum exhibit layouts, and the upcoming development of cities.
Environmental graphic design is a multidisciplinary practice that merges graphic, architectural, interior, landscape, and industrial design.
These enhancements within a project are expressed through a broad array of applications and techniques and may take the shape of signage, identity, super graphics, art installations, and the strategic use of color, just to name a few. The concepts and implementation of EGD within a project make the discipline exciting and diverse, yet oftentimes somewhat difficult to neatly define.
Types of Environmental graphic design produced:
- exterior building displays,
- wayfinding systems,
- retail store design,
- museum exhibits, and
- exterior design elements such as fountains and sculptures.
Environmental Graphic Design Career Job and Salary:
1. Interior Designer
Average Net Salary: R249 per hour
2. Graphic Designer:
Average Net Salary: R296.01 per hour
7. Website and UX Design
Yes, website and user layouts are also part of what a graphic designer does. Traditionally before a web or app developer even starts creating code he will have a PSD layout to work with provided to him by a graphic designer.
This type of graphic design focuses on the visual layout of apps and website designs, the on-screen graphic elements such as buttons, text, menus, and more.
Like with most types of graphic design the design has to be based on a target market and create visual aspects that are appealing to them.
Types of Website and UX Design produced:
- Web page design
- Theme design (WordPress, Shopify, etc.)
- Game interfaces
- App design
Web Ux Graphic Design Career Type and Title:
1. Web designer
Average Net Salary: R347.32 per hour
2. User interface (UI) designer
Average Net Salary: R872.62 per hour
3. User Experience (UX) designer
Average Net Salary: R623.69 per hour
In summary, we divided graphic design into 7 main types, you could however subdivide those into even more types. Our 7 main graphic design types are:
- Branding design
- Marketing & advertising graphic design
- Product & Packaging design
- Animation or Motion graphic design
- Publishing design
- Environmental graphic design
- Website and UX Design
Get the right types of graphic designers for the job
Graphic design is an ever-growing field, and the demand for specialized and skilled designers is on the rise. When you’re looking for the right person to take on a design job, knowing the different types of graphic design will help you identify the specialist you need. Read more about graphic design careers and job descriptions here.