My philosophy for what “graphic design” means: first, let’s break down each word: Graphic: visual, Design: strategy. I take those definitions and expand on them this way: Graphic Design is taking a defined problem and creating the ideal strategy for finding the best visual solution.
When used properly, graphic design brings a strategic value to the business of communication - hands down. It’s not just about “making things pretty” but rather it’s the collaborative process between the designer and the client that reveals the path to finding the best solution. I think Mr. Saul Bass sums it up perfectly here:
“A client comes to you with a definition of the problem, or ideas about what they want to accomplish. Sometimes they have a sophisticated view of it, sometimes they don’t. I find myself frequently spending time with the client redefining the problem, backing up, going back to the beginning. Not infrequently the “problem” turns out to be the “symptom.” You have to sometimes move back, in order to move forward to really understand what the nature of the solution should be.”
- Saul Bass, when asked on his approach to a new design project; as published in Communication Arts, November 1989