In my 13 years as a graphic designer, I’ve heard a lot of “Just make it look nice!”
In some cases certain projects are simple and self explanatory, but graphic design is not only about making a product or service offered look nice on a pamphlet, flyer or package. There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff going on before you can arrive at a good looking final printed product.
Every project is different, but the same recipe applies to more or less all projects. A graphic designer first needs to be made aware of the service or product offered; how it works, what’s its purpose, its goal, features & characteristics, how it needs to be portrayed, its market, target audience, price range , etc. Once a graphic designer knows and understands all this, one then needs to research the competition, if any, and see how others get their message across and see how we can make it better without necessarily copying what others have done. Inspiration can lead to innovation. What I like to do a lot of the times, is actually look up stuff in non-related markets and try to get different ideas! You’d be surprised how a packaging idea used to market dog accessories, can give us a great idea to market your new “life jacket” for example! Researching prices and materials with various suppliers in order to fit within your specific budget and sometimes offering other solutions are other aspects of the job. Problem solving and compromising on design issues whether we like it or not are part of the game too.
Then comes the fun part of the job where, yes, we make it look nice, and try to keep a design consistent throughout various printing materials or formats. (ex. business card to letter head to brochure to packaging , etc.) Branding, to be more precise, is key. People need to recognize you throughout all the time. You can’t have a black box with funky graffiti and then have a serious looking corporate brochure for the same product. It’s just too confusing for the consumer. It’s telling people that you are not sure where you want to go with your product and that you do not know how to market yourself. Making sure to have a proper layout so that text and images flow properly on a page in order to be understood by your target audience. Information needs to be clear, concise and to the point. Saying too much can bore and frustrate your audience and totally turn them off about your product or service.
A graphic designer can help you through all this process in order to give a “nice” result and then some!