Part 1 discussed who is a graphic designer but I didn’t go into much detail about what a graphic designer does. My biggest and most important job as a graphic designer is thinking.
Ideas, concepts, roughs, drafts, wips, brainstorming, call it what you want, it is the key role of a graphic designer. You might be a great artist but without an idea you only have an empty sheet of paper.
Creating ideas may not be that hard, we can all do it but creating workable and successful ideas is a challenge. Throw in a set of rules (a design brief) and now you have limitations on the thinking process. The idea must reach a goal whilst following a criteria, yet still be creative! Last but not least can that idea be executed?
Ideas are common components which surround businesses but for a graphic designer, ideas are the business. Without an idea there is no springboard to start from, no guideline to adhere to and no goal which means no business.
So how does a designer produce ideas? Sometimes it comes in a flash and sometimes it takes days to get it right. My motto is get RANDi.
RANDi = Research & Inspiration
They go hand in hand and one will not appear without the other. Research for a designer comes in many forms ranging from an intensive study of design history to exploration of the clients industry. The goal is to be inspired and find the beginning of an idea.
Likewise the process can work backwards. Maybe you’ll be inspired by a billboard advert and then you’ll go away and fully research the style to refine the concept.
It can happen in many ways but the common factor is Research & Inspiration. Before any project will start a graphic designer will research to get the start of a brilliant idea.
A huge problem which creative types may suffer from is a creative block. I find that this occurs for a few reasons:
- Trying too hard
- Not enough research & inspiration
Trying too hard basically brings a lack of concentration. Whether you have an overflow of ideas or none, the lack of concentration will tear apart any attempt of creativity. The key is to step away and compose yourself. Take your time and rethink the process by clearing your mind and slowing down.
If you’re trying too hard then it’s possibly because you haven’t done enough research or the brief was not decisive enough leaving you nothing to go on. Once again rethink the process and clarify the brief.
It’s incredibly hard to create a good idea but by using a concept it can become the backbone of what a designer will produce, that’s why thinking is so important as the job of a graphic designer.
After finishing the final design its easy for others to say “Oh I could have done that” but the question is would you have thought of it!
That’s what a graphic designer does;
They think and then they think again.