What Is Graphic Design? Thinking Outside the Box – Literally

July 23, 2013 / Design, Package Design, Marketing /

What is graphic design?

I could answer that question by giving you a lengthy dissertation on practice, theory, history, skills, tools and applications, but that’s what Wikipedia is for. Besides, your eyes would glaze over 10 minutes after I began explaining the theory of color.

My late grandmother described my job as a graphic designer in one simple sentence: “He draws pictures all day.”

Her frame of reference was watching me draw fight scenes between tigers and knights with my busted up Crayolas while she cooked boiled chicken.

Making great trash. 

But seriously, what is graphic design?

Let me answer that with another simple sentence: “It’s making trash.”

In our business, when we design packaging graphics our ultimate goal is to see our work in the garbage can. Meaning a consumer purchases the product, opens it …and throws it out. Mission accomplished.

While that sequence sounds simple, and in some ways it is, what starts as a random shopping excursion at Target on a Saturday afternoon can quickly become sensory overload.

Remember the Cavity Creeps?

Think about shopping for toothpaste. Plain, simple toothpaste. Maybe mint flavored. Now go and find the “Dental Hygiene” aisle. What happens to you as consumer when you are confronted with hundreds of products, waiting to find a home in your shopping cart?

Our goal at Bevel Design is to create packaging that is appealing, informative and unique – so it catches your attention, and then quickly informs you of the product’s features and benefits. This has to happen in about two to five seconds.

As you toss your newly purchased tube of toothpaste into your cart, you may not be aware that a team of creative and marketing experts worked countless hours on research, concepting, designing and printing, just to have that toothpaste go home with you.

And once you arrive at your home, you discard the packaging and use the product. (Hopefully that packaging winds up in a recycling bin.)

Senses working over time

Our senses provide us the information to make purchasing decisions in our every day lives. Whether you remember the product’s multimillion-dollar Super Bowl ad campaign, or whether your mother, grandmother and grandmother’s grandmother used the same product, research shows that we as consumers are more apt to make a purchase that uses all of our senses.

Graphic design employs the sense of sight – that toothpaste box might feature a cool, soothing green color. A snappy logo, bursting with reds and blues immediately creates an image in your mind. Fonts and shapes capture your attention, and a short yet cheeky slogan helps seal the deal.

Graphic design and dollars

Now think about how design surrounds you every day. It is an essential part of communication that reaches consumers through sight and touch.

From that first inception to the final version, from sketchpad to shelf design, design is a driving force behind a product’s success.

Marketing is another factor – and we will be talking about that in future posts.

Finally, it helps to have a killer product.

Combine all of these factors together into one package – and you have made great trash.

The good kind of course.