There are an infinite amount of ways to define what graphic design is, but here is how I define it:

Visually communicating messages or ideas through the combination of typography, color, imagery, photography, illustration and written content in a print or digital format.

While graphic design is an inherently visual medium, it is much more than just pretty aesthetics (although, that is a very important facet!). A truly successful design will serve a purpose and do it efficiently. To achieve this, you must do your research, know your audience, strategize and problem-solve.

Now that we know what graphic design is, let’s walk through some everyday examples.


1. Logos

Ah, the magical logo! What every person thinks of when they hear ‘graphic design’. And they’re not wrong! It is the foundation of how any business visually represents itself.


2. Brand Design

Although incredibly important, logos are just the beginning of what graphic design really is! Successful businesses have strong brands. That’s a fact. Brands (or brand identities) are systems that carry a specific look and feel through every facet of your business. This includes the logo, color scheme, font choices, photography, illustration and any other visual element you can think of. All of those elements are then carried through every design material like websites, merchandise, packaging and print collateral.


fishweir brewing company craft beer logo and brand identity design cedar rapids graphic designer
best of flea market style editorial magazine design layout cedar rapids iowa graphic designer

3. Editorial Design

Think of anything that has page numbers in it. While the world seems to always be moving towards digital, there are still plenty of relevant examples of editorial or layout design. Magazines, books, and newspapers are all considered layout design.



4. Website Design

You got it, every time you open your favorite internet browser a graphic designer (and/or web developer) created the website you’re viewing. In an increasingly digital world, having a professional, functional and informational website is key for a successful business.


Cedar Rapids Iowa wedding photography website design
Fishweir Brewing Company Craft Beer Growler and Crowler Label Design

5. Packaging Design

Let’s think 3D. Every single item you purchase at the grocery store is an example of graphic design! From your favorite sparkling water brand right down the the shampoo you buy, a graphic designer created a visual system to differentiate a product from others items on the shelves.



6. Print Collateral

Business cards, notecards, brochures, menus, flyers just to name a few! Think of any paper good that you can share information on.



Forever Green Studios botanical logo and brand design business cards

7. Environmental Graphics

These include signage, wall graphics, and vehicle wraps. Environmental graphics tend to be large in size and printed on a variety of materials like metal, acrylic, and vinyl.




Why is it important?

So now that we know what graphic design is and where we see it, let’s talk about what purpose it serves businesses and consumers.

1. It’s informational.

For businesses, large and small, graphic design is extremely important in informing potential consumers who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Humans are visual creatures. Beautiful aesthetics paired with effective information ensures that your clients quickly understand what you’re all about.

2. It ensures people that you’re professional and reliable.

When running a business, trust between you and your consumer is everything. Looking good, giving a solid first impression and following up with consistent branding helps build trust and show that you’re dedicated to your craft. Back up all of your beautifully designed materials with quality goods and services and you’ll be set for success.

3. It sets you apart from your competitors.

One of the hardest things to do as a business is stand out from the crowd. You’re probably not the only business that offers the product or service that you offer. But there’s always something that you do, whether it’s your impeccable customer service or quality of your products, that sets you apart from the rest. Let your branding reflect those values and show your customers that you’re different that your competitors.