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Old vs New Graphic Design

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Graphic design is art that exists for a long time already. But how can we exactly explain graphic design? Who can work with graphic design and which jobs can that person do? And how did graphic design change over years? To find out all of that I suggest you keep reading.

Just like I said in the beginning, graphic design is art. It is a way of achieving some goals with creativity and with the help of images, symbols or words. Graphic design is based on different combinations of various elements that include:

  • Type
  • Texture
  • Color
  • Shapes
  • Lines

Type. Type is responsible for creating a powerful message from simple text. That power can be added with different creative fonts that are combined with different size, color, spacing or some special alignments.

Texture. Texture gives a little different visual appearance because a good choice of texture can add depth to the whole picture.

Color. Color is one of the most important elements in design. Graphic designers must understand which colors will have the most influence on some design and they have to follow color trends of today. The absence of color can also be a way of improving some design.

Shapes. With different shapes designers get lots of ways to fill empty space and add additional balance to their design.

Lines. Lines can be different. Lines can be straight wavy, thick, thin, curved and you can make them look just like you want. They are used to guide the viewers from one point to another and to divide content and space in layout.

All those elements have to perfectly combined into something. That something can be called a design. But how to combine them? Graphic designers use different tools for graphic design. Some of the tools graphic designers must use are:

  • Sketchpads
  • Computers
  • Software

Sketchpads. If you are a graphic designer then you understand the importance of some rough sketch before taking the whole design to the next level. Sketchpads are used exactly for that, to create a rough sketch of some idea.

Computers. Well, this one is pretty obvious because almost every designer today uses different hardware as the way to create something special.

Software. One of the most important tools of graphic designer is software created especially for them. Some examples of such applications are applications in Adobe pack like Illustrator and Photoshop which help with creating illustrations, improving photographs and combining elements into a complete design.

Once you learn a lot about mentioned elements, get all the required tools and reach the certain level of creativity you need to become graphic designer you’ll realize that it isn’t that easy. Why?

Graphic design jobs

Why is it hard to be a graphic designer? Well, you have to do a lot of stuff to be a successful graphic designer and the level of knowledge and required time to do that job is really high. That’s why there are not lots of people who can actually put the term “graphic designer” on their business card. Instead of that, people do different jobs in the field of graphic designer.

One of those jobs is creative director. As a creative director your job would be to lead a team that will create advertisements and different visuals for advertising campaigns and branding of some product.

You can also be art director. The job is pretty similar to creative director one. If you get a job as an art director the main responsibility will be to combine artists and illustrators and make sure that they’ll finish all the projects on time.

The job of package designer includes designing a packaging for products or marketing campaigns. That packaging means designing a physical and visual parts of package.

You can also be visual image developer. His job is to create necessary visualizations in image editing and 3D modelling softwares.

One of the most popular jobs in graphic design field is the job of logo designer. But it is also one of the hardest jobs. The responsibility of logo designer is to create some visual representation of some organization that will send message to the people. Good logo is key element of good brand identity and it has to be done right.

Interface and web designers have a job of designing the necessary graphics, layouts, interfaces and pages for online services and websites of companies.

Content developer is responsible for creating aa video, sound, graphical or even written multimedia content, depending on the customer needs.

So, now you realize why graphic designer isn’t exactly the correct description for some job? Great! And what career in graphic design field would you like to start? This guide above should give you some help.

Old vs New Graphic

Before you start doing some work in graphic design field it’s important to know what people want nowadays. You can’t design something in a way is was popular 50 years ago, it just won’t work. Here are the main differences between old and new graphic design.

If you want to see how graphic design changed the most you can simply look at some products history. For example, original Macintosh 128k released in 1984 had a separate keyboard coming with him, only black and white display and 0.13MB of memory? The dimensions were 13.5 x 9.7 x 10.9 inches. Sounds somewhat funny when you look at what we have today. And MacBook released in 2015 had built-in keyboard, 8GB of memory, HD Retina display and its dimensions were only 0.52 x 11.04 x 7.75 inches. Quite a change, right?

Macintosh 128k
Apple Macintosh 128k

Other big difference in graphic design field is the way people done research. Imagine that you work on some project and you need information and inspiration. If you were born in some earlier times of graphic designer you would need to spend lots of hours in libraries to find information and get some inspiration for your project. Some designers even had a collection of their favorite books. Books wore portable and had official information but those same books were not updated and sometimes it was hard to find needed information. And what are people doing today? You simply go on the internet, search for what you need and there you go, all the information and needed inspiration is there. With the help of technology we have today it is easy to learn fast and the knowledge base on internet is constantly updated. But, anyone can update that information, you need internet access to search for something and constant use of computers can damage your health.

Dou you know what a T-square is? If you do I apologize for explaining it once again for other people. T-squares were used to draw horizontal lines on some table. People even used sets of squares to create vertical lines. And when you think about it “funny” is not the word you could describe that with. But people used that before. And now? Adobe Creative Suites are designed with finished layout in mind. You have smart guides, grid, rulers and lots of other tools to help you with creating perfect layout.

Another thing that changed a lot is typography. Nowadays you can easily change font on some design with just few clicks. But, people didn’t have Adobe or Fontbook before and designers had to use letterpress for manually setting a type. That process took a lot of work and time. Nowadays we have thousands of different fonts ready to be used. Just make sure you don’t use Comic Sans, Copperplate Gothic, Papyrus or Courier fonts. Why? Well, everyone hates them!

Comic Sans

What about color schemes? With different programs we have today graphic designers can easily create bold font, vibrant or some fluorescent design on their screen. You can pick lots of colors and simply choose what you think is best. There are endless options. And before? Well, designers used Pantone marker. If you could afford two pens then options were limited. And even if you had the money for large amount of pens the number of options would still be much lower than what we have today.

Since we got lots of cameras and mobile phones today everyone can be an amateur photographer. You can take photos with your mobile phone with just a few clicks and post them on some photography services or place them to Instagram with special app. People were impressed by photography methods we had before but this digital photography certainly improved everything. We only have to admire all those hours that designer spent in dark rooms while developing photos.


The traditional illustration methods require a lot of time and work to create something special but lots of people think that the results look much better than with computer made illustrations. What is better? I think it depends on the personal choice of every individual artist and designer.

Once you created some design you are proud of it and probably can’t wait to show it to the client who ordered it. But the presentation is also very important part of the whole project. And how did people present their work before? With the help of spray mount. And people would often end up with glued fingers and lots of foam boards used. Nowadays you can simply put the presentation up on different devices and explain everything to clients without any trouble.

Spray Mount
Spray Mount

That’s it. What do you think about graphic design nowadays? And what about the future? Will it get even better than it is today? I think it will and can’t wait to see what will happen. Check out the infographic below for some additional information. Good luck!

old vs new graphic design