The dictionary defines a graphic designer or graphic artist as one who specializes in the art or profession of visual communication that combines images, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience, especially to produce a specific effect. And while this is a broad definition of what graphic designers do, I prefer the definition of a graphic designer as a person who specializes in visual communication through a skillful combination of text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, books, etc.for print, the web and other media.
But the most awesome description (in my opinion), was coined by the Walt Disney Company with the term “imagineers“.
According to Wikipedia, “The term Imagineering, a portmanteau, was popularized in the 1940s by Alcoa to describe its blending of imagination and engineering, and was adopted by Walt Disney a decade later to describe the skill set embodied by the employees of WDI, known as Imagineers.
Imagineering is responsible for designing and building Disney theme parks, resorts, cruise ships, and other entertainment venues at all levels of project development. Imagineers possess a broad range of skills and talents, and thus over 140 different job titles fall under the banner of Imagineering, including illustrators, architects, engineers, lighting designers, show writers, graphic designers, and many more.”
The internet and the computerization of traditional design tools has vastly changed the skill set and job tasks of what a commercial graphic designer traditionally used to do. The web has opened a whole new field in design that is suited specifically for this medium rather than traditional print media, although both skills sets are still used by many graphic designers.
Most graphic designers are aware that fonts (or typography) add personality and customization to their print media and web designs, so when they find high quality fonts for free in one or two locations this makes his job easier. With a variety of fonts at his or her fingertips, a designer has the ability to personalize his or her designs to accommodate his clients’ taste and budget. However, building a font library with a variety of design styles can get expensive. The good news is that several website owners have joined with professional font designers to make open source and free fonts available for personal and commercial use.
If you are a fan of tech sites like Techcrunch, etc, or have worked with large design companies, you will probably already know that QR codes are taking the tech and design world by storm. The push for the use of the QR code is being driven by a new opportunity that is being referred to as context sensitive marketing. For further information and details, you might want to read the article, “Why the Best Online Marketing May Be Headed Offline” which goes into extensive detail as to how QR codes can be used for a business owner’s product’s marketing.
In a previous post, I wrote about how you can incorporate QR designs into your business card design, as I have seen more and more print collateral provided with QR codes that led either to a business’ website or to a special online promotion. Another popular use for QR codes is to connect a user to the App Store via their Android smartphone or Iphone for the promotion and sale of web developer’s apps. While there are several websites offering this service, my problem was finding good QR code generator software that integrates with the Adobe design software that most designers use.
Once you get beyond the basics in Adobe Photoshop, as a graphic designer you are always on the look- out for great Photoshop resources that will enhance your web designs or print media graphic designs for your customers and clients. So, finding a site that provides free high quality Photoshop Brushes, Background Patterns and Textures in order for you to utilize is like finding gold! These tools will save you time in overall graphic production and assist you in designing professional and high quality graphic designs for web and print, and of course, even artwork. It’s a great boon to find these tools in a good economy, but it becomes even more vital in a tough one.
Most people would like access to design elements and graphic resources, especially if they are either designers or small business owners getting started with their blogs and marketing materials. And when those resources are free that makes obtaining them a whole lot sweeter! However, many will scoff at the idea of “free” resources, simply because in the Web 2.0 age, this can sometimes mean cheap and poor quality images. However, I have done the research for you and want to add these three additional sites as a great resource for aspiring and up-and-coming designers and anyone who wants to move beyond basic clip art. (Just a reminder though, you will need to know how to open the .ai and .eps files and in some cases own the software in which the images were created. Some files are provided in other formats).
This list is different from my last post because although the websites provide high quality and high res images; they either specialize on the type of graphic elements they provide or they provide a range of graphic elements from icons to typography available for your use. Read the rest of this entry
As a graphic designer, one needs to have a library of graphic elements from buttons, web graphics, icons to backgrounds. If you are purchasing all your graphics, building this library can get very expensive pretty quickly. Here’s where the web has become a great resource for finding high quality, high resolution vector graphics for all your design projects. They are usually created by other graphic designers and given away for free as a promotion and so website owners compile these free resources and make them available to you.
However, like anything else these freebie websites that provide free vector graphics vary in quality of content as well as graphics provided. I have compiled some of the five best free websites. They’re good because not only can you find top notch vector illustrations but they also provide information such as the design company who authored them, the description of what you get in your downloadable file, the licensing arrangement and the file type, either .eps, .ai or .png and carefully organize and categorize their images.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, these five great sites should get you started. You’ll feel like a kid in a candy store grabbing up all the goodies you can! Of course, you’ll have to carve out some time in order to spend time searching, downloading and organizing all your new graphics! Read the rest of this entry