What Is A Graphic Designer?

Content Maestro

/blog/best-of-the-blogosphere-february-2017Two people at a party meet and introduce themselves as Graphic Designers. At first glance, you would assume their line of work would be the same; art, form, line, color, etc. Yet the more they reveal about their profession, the more you realize they are speaking different languages. The first Designer uses terms like typesetting, pantone colors, identity and bleed. The second speaks of content management systems, image optimization and user centric design. Today’s digital media has created a broad spectrum for Graphic Designers enabling them each to claim their own niche in the design world. This is my attempt at sorting out the different areas of Graphic Design and how they relate to one another.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics simply defines a Graphic Designer as someone who will plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communication problems. The media used dictates what type of Graphic Designer is best suited for the job. The following organizational chart will help you visualize the general areas of graphic design while also highlighting Briteskies’ areas of expertise.


Illustration is a broad category that including services such as t-shirt design, typography, informational graphics, painting and drawing. Within the area of Illustration, some artists specialize in Identity and Branding projects. This can include anything from a logo redesign for a growing company to bottle label design for a new brand of wine. Others, in the area of Illustration specialize in Typesetting. These designers know the ins and outs of print material such as newspapers, magazines and brochures. The intended output for most of these projects is different print material. Frequent tools used by these artists are pen and paper, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, swatches, inks and printers.


Web design focuses on generating concepts for web media such as computer screens, mobile devices, projectors, etc. A mock up would be conceptualized using tools such as Adobe Fireworks, Photoshop and Illustrator. From there, an Interactive Designer would cater to the end user by creating an intuitive, fun and easy to use environment. This area would be home to Flash Developers, User Interface Designers and Information Architects. A Front End Developer would be needed to convert a visual mock up into a working website. These designers are experts in languages such as HTML, CSS, jQuery & PHP. They would also use Content Management Systems such as Joomla! and Wordpress, and identify the best practices for image optimization and browser compatibility.


Multimedia, like the name suggests, is an area of Graphic Design that uses many different tools and outputs. This is why I made it a child of both Illustration and Web. Websites and videos need animations. Documentaries and films need credits and titles. Interactive websites need informational graphics. The Graphic Designer who specializes in Multimedia has a general knowledge of the entire design field in order to accommodate a wide range of projects.

The Big Picture

Graphic Designers share the same goal in mind; visually communicating a message. The way they arrive at the result and the tools they use determine what kind of Graphic Designer they are. The different areas transform and blend into one another, so a Designer’s knowledge can usually span a few fields.

Your Thoughts

So what do you think? What areas do you fall into? Do you agree with the way I organized the different types of Graphic Designers?

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