When I first entered school to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, I thought that
I would be able to design and create anything. Then one day I was asked, “What kind of designer you are?”
I answered, “A graphic designer!”
And the person replied, “No, I know that. But what kind of design do you do?”
I had to think about it for a moment, before saying, “I’m still exploring my choices!”
Smart answer, right? :)
I returned home, opened my laptop, and started searching about the different types of design. What I found was that the field of graphic design is not simple, and designers and artists can’t design everything.
I discovered 11 different career paths or types of design within the graphic design field. Keep in mind that designers often specialize in multiple types of design, rather than just one.
1- Logo/brand designer: This designer is a specialist in designing logos and brands and understanding their client’s business vision and goals as well as the target market. Many logo and brand designers won't design other materials or use other design types.
2- Print designer: A specialist in printed materials and deliverables, such as posters, flyers, and other items for the purpose of advertising.
3- Web designer: A specialist in coding and designing websites. Usually, a web designer would get the brand elements (logo, specific graphics, and customized icons) either from the client or from another graphic designer.
4- Environmental designer: This design work is a combination of graphic design, landscaping, and interior design. It focuses on the visual design aspect of wayfinding, the location profile, and creating an identity experience for people to stay connected with the place.
5- Photo editor: Works mainly with Photoshop and Lightroom. The editor is responsible for choosing, editing, and positioning photos. Plus, negotiating fees and rights for photos and getting permission to shoot photography. Most photographers work as photo editors, as well.
6- Animation and game designer: This designer creates flat, 2D, and 3D animations for games, production, and film purposes, using special software, such as Character Animator, Maya, Flash, and After Effects.
7- Package designer: This designer's job is to create graphics and the visual external design for products, starting with labels and tags and ending with the package box.
8- UI/UX designer: The UI/UX designer's job is to create responsive websites and apps, choosing the right colors, fonts, layout, sitemap, and website flow.
9- Multimedia artist: This work is similar to that of the animator. The multimedia artist creates visual designs with special effects and motions and uses computers or other electronics to create movies, ADs, music videos, and other media.
10- Digital artist: Digital artists use digital technology as part of their creative process. It’s a kind of shift from regular drawing and sketching to the digital drawing style.
11- Layout designer: The layout designer works with text and images to create prints or on-screen pages, and he or she makes sure that the material is easily readable. The layout designer works within the publishing and advertisement fields.
Well, I was surprised by all of these options, and it took me some time to figure out what type of design I personally wanted to do. The deal-breaker for me was my internship. I gained an opportunity to work on many different projects, so I was able to gain experience in most design types. I found myself especially interested in branding, print, photo editing, and layout design. (Remember, designers can specialize in multiple types of design, not only one.)
All 11 design types mentioned here (and likely there are more) are very interesting and challenging, and some designers would choose to do them all. But other designers would prefer to focus on one, two, or three types so they can concentrate their efforts to emerge and shine.
For the designers out there: find out what kind of design you really want to focus on.
And for clients: make sure you pick the right designer for your project!
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