26 May, 2022

What Is Graphic Design | A Beginner’s Guide For Creative Career

What do you imagine whenever you hear the term ‘Graphic Design’? Do you think of graphic design as a visual illustration of graphics used for digital marketing and advertising, to design software, or illustration on websites? You are right here, and there is more you need to know about the term. So, what is graphic design?

Designing on various sectors such as posters, logos, business cards, magazines, infographics, website layouts, etcetera overall encompasses graphic design. In this era of digitization and the popularity of designing, you get to see the use of graphic design everywhere. It is one of the most effective communication mediums for conveying messages and ideas.

Similarly, graphic design is the strongest medium to connect with customers by business personnel. You can promote your company and its products, convey messages, and even distribute your goods and services to distinct areas and targeted customers through the design. 

Overall, graphic design is an online medium to communicate with customers through visual effects. Also, there are various types of graphic designers. Now, let's learn more about “what is graphic design?”

Elements of Graphic Design 

Elements and principles of graphic design are the basics that you need to be acknowledged to create a creative career in graphic design. The proper use of elements in design results in visually impactful designs with a strong message to consumers. 

The elements of Graphic Design are listed below.

1. Color

The use of various types of proper colors in a design creates emotion. Colors are catchy and one of the most important elements of graphic design. It can either be used to make background or on other elements, such as to give texture to various shapes and in-between lines. Colors also deines user experience. Moreover, colors are distinguished into three categories. 

i. Primary Colors: Primary colors such as red, yellow, and blue are used to make different kinds of shades. These colors cannot be made by using a mixture of two or more colors which is why they are termed primary colors.

ii. Secondary Colors: Those colors formed with the mixture of primary colors are secondary colors. The colors that fall under this category are violet, orange, and green.

iii. Tertiary Colors: The grouping of primary and secondary colors results in the formation of tertiary colors. Six basic tertiary colors are red-orange, blue-green, yellow-orange, red-violet, yellow-green, and blue-violet


2. Line 

Another graphic design element is a line that organizes a business’s message in various possible ways. Lines are made with differing lengths, colors, shapes, and weights to blend the structure in the design. It can also be curved or dashed, or you can use lines to attract the viewer's attention. 

There are numerous options and ways to use lines in graphic design. They are:

  • Lines can be diagonal or vertical, or horizontal.
  • It can be curved or straight.
  • You can make the line thick or thin.
  • It can also be solid, broken, dashed, and so on. 


3. Shape

The elements of design where you can have a closed outline or boundary are shapes. Also called forms, shapes are made of lines. There are many different shapes, including circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. 

In the visual arts, shapes may symbolize different things, such as unity or structure. Shapes can convey different feelings depending on their colors, styles, backgrounds, and textures.

Two types of shapes used during graphic designing are,

i. Geometric Shape: Triangles, squares, rectangles, pentagons, circles, hexagons, etcetera are a few examples of geometric shapes. These shapes are created using lines that can be formed either in two-dimensional or three-dimensional ways. 

ii. Organic Shape: Organic shapes are not defined and accurate as geometric shapes. Some of the shapes that fall under this category are crystals, blobs, or any other kinds of abstract shapes. Based on the examples, it is clear that these shapes can either be in symmetrical or asymmetrical form. 


4. Scale

Some design elements can have more dynamic effects because of their scale and size. Using a scale, we can create a visual hierarchy and highlight important areas by presenting focus points.

5. Texture

Likewise, when asked about ‘what is graphic design,’ you probably have texture in mind. Backgrounds consisting of stone, brick, concrete, and paper are becoming less common, replacing them with textures. You may use them sparingly or liberally, and they can be subtle or obvious. You can also use textures to add depth to your design.

The use of texture on graphics is all about the experiment, and it is so because you are inspired to use organic texture when you come in contact with tree barks, leaves, flowers, and stones. It makes the design more polished as you can assure visual engagement and give the illusion to consumers when they come through your design. 

6. Space

The best way to engage users in your design is to make it readable, obtained through space. Space used while designing can be either negative space or white space

You can emphasize space with the message by using accurate spacing, as white space depicts weak relationships and narrow space defines strong relationships. The association exists between visual elements.

The two types of space used in graphic design are:

i. Positive Space: Positive space is the element used in graphic design where important information or messages are presented.

ii. Negative Space: Apart from visual elements, space between elements or wordings represents negative space. 


Principles of Graphic Design 

Principles of graphic design are guidelines for graphic designers to make the design aesthetic and visually appealing. It helps to create balanced and impactful designs. These principles also enhance user experience. 

The graphic principles design are listed below.

1. Balance

The proper distribution of elements all over the design, including shapes, lines, color, space, etcetera, is known as balance in graphic designing. The design can be made either static or dynamic layout also termed as balanced design and off-balanced design.

Three different types of balance are,

i. Symmetrical: In this type of graphic design, elements are evenly distributed on each side, distinguished by the horizontal and vertical axes.

ii. Asymmetrical: The type of balance which is asymmetrical denotes the use of color and scale to make the layout even. 

iii. Radial: The next type of balance that gives the viewers dynamism is radial balance. Here, the visual elements of graphic design are represented in a circular pattern. 

2. Contrast

The art of using diverse elements and colors within a harmonious framework is known as a contrast. In addition to making a layout's overall legibility easier, distinguishing between similar elements in a design helps to maintain clarity.

Contracts can be formed using different methods. A few of them include,

  • Thick or thin
  • Dark or light
  • Traditional or contemporary


3. Rhythm

Rhythm is another graphic design principle. When rhythm incorporates patterns, it is more easily noticeable, but it can also be defined as repetitive elements or the visual use of lines to convey energy or activity. A brand's logo or color repetition can make it easier to recognize the brand and strengthen the overall aesthetic design.

Two types of rhythm used in graphic designing are:

i. Progressive: In progressive rhythm, visual elements are used in a controlled way in which the elements are represented sequentially.

ii. Fluid: If you want to design a design that denotes the flow of elements in a single direction, learn more about fluid rhythm.

4. Unity

The degree of unity refers to how well one element functions with the others. All the design elements are brought together by unity, the principle that applies to graphic design. All the pieces of designs you use should be composed as a whole single element rather than isolating one component with another. 

Follow these guidelines to achieve unity in graphic design.

  • First of all, plan and set a vision on how you make things work together.
  • Use colors during designing properly.
  • It is important to use patterns, reputation, and textures to form designs.
  • The design will be more appealing if you use general elements all over.
  • Select the font and message that goes well with the design theme.  


5. Hierarchy

Furthermore, another effective way to highlight certain elements over another can be done by using hierarchy. Hierarchy is another crucial graphic design principle that distinguishes features based on priority and dominance. For example, you can highlight a quote or important message by using a large font or adding frames.

Some of the best ways to hierarchy during graphic design are,

  • Focusing on the important message or title by making it bold or italic and using a large-sized font.
  • Make a frame covering shapes to gain attention.
  • Prioritizing important text by keeping it in the first order.
  • Using the color that symbolizes emotions. In contrast, red symbolizes confidence and power, yellow portrays happiness and warmth, while blue represents trust and stability.


In a nutshell, graphic design is professional and more polished art and illustrations to reach out to targeted customers. These are the interactive designs that target to meet users' needs and demands and optimize users' experience specially in the field of marketing and advertising. The designer's job is to design software, web designing, to create motion graphics and so on. 

In the article, “what is graphic design,” we learned about background knowledge of graphic design and its elements and principles. Go through the beginners guide and let us know if the article was helpful to guide you to establish a creative career in graphic design and to get professional graphic designer jobs. Stay in touch with us through the comment section below.