The 8 Types of Graphic Design

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When we hear the term graphic design, we have different associations. Someone’s first thought is of web design and mobile applications, someone thinks about business cards and brochures, and someone about packaging design and brand identity. Because graphic design as a communication skill focuses on the visual interpretation of the message. It can be psychic, digital, or anywhere in between. In today’s competitive world, graphic designing has become integral to every business.  It plays an important role. By combining technology, aesthetics, and creative thinking, you can communicate your message, which will remain etched in the mind of your audiences. If you look around, you will find design everywhere—from a morning cereal box to the process of booking an apartment for holidays.
But there is one crucial thing to point out. Each type of graphic design requires a specific set of skills and design techniques. Many designers specialize in a single type; others focus on a set of related, similar types. Although often overlapping, designers usually focus on a specific design area and build their skills for years. So don’t expect the web designer to do the top job of video editing or as someone who has been doing this for years. This was just an example, but you get the point.
Knowing the different types of graphic design will help you identify the design specialist you need. Below we highlighted 8 types of graphic design to better understand each design area and help you choose the designer with the right skills for your job. So let’s start.

#1 Visual identity graphic design

Every small, medium, or large business has a different story. In order for their audience to hear their story, there is brand identity. So, visual identity graphic design is precisely that: the visual elements of brand identity that act as the face of a brand to communicate those intangible qualities through visual elements (images, shapes, colors). Designers specializing in visual identity graphic design create assets like logos, typography, color palettes, and image libraries representing a brand’s personality. In addition to the standard corporate design like business cards and memorandum, graphic designers often develop a set of visual brand guidelines that describe best practices and provide examples of visual branding applied across various media. These guidelines help to ensure brand consistency throughout future applications.
Visual identity graphic designers must possess a general knowledge of all types of graphic design to create suitable design elements across all visual media. They also need excellent communication, conceptual and creative skills, and a passion for researching industries, organizations, trends, and competitors. Visual identity graphic designers usually have their skills upgraded in marketing and advertising graphic design. Because when creating the visual identity, they should always consider how it will fit later in marketing and advertising. However, you should pay special attention to the tone of voice with which you address the audience.

Tone of voice

Every brand has its unique tone of voice. It is essential to be consistent and recognizable. Brand voice is what you say to your audience and how you say it. The tone of voice is the mood or emotion you convey in messages to your target group through specific word choice, writing style, and choice of visuals.
In order to create your own brand voice, first, you have to identify your audience. Your brand voice should align with the company’s values and goals but also think about who you’re talking to and why. After you establish the first step, you should audit your current tone and voice and tailor it to different content and channels. Developing a brand voice is not a one-time effort. You should certainly be consistent, document, and review everything.

#2 Marketing & advertising graphic design

Advertisements are all around us. They bomb us on TV screens, scream at store shelves, and paint every possible free space in public areas. The result of any successful advertising is the sale of the product or service the advertiser propagates. But have you ever wondered how much time it takes to create a successful campaign and a compelling advertisement that perfectly transmits the story? Here we are not talking about hours. We are discussing days or months of developing ideas, researching consumer habits, and visual creation. So, marketing designers need excellent communication, problem-solving, and time management skills. They need to be familiar with the products and services brand and the habits of their target groups. Designers who create advertisements are talented in creative design and know how to sell a product and capture consumers’ minds. This means they work with company owners, directors, managers, or marketing professionals to create assets for marketing strategies. They might work alone or as part of an in-house or creative team. Of course, it depends on the budget that invests in advertising.

Barbie 2023 movie campaign

Unless you were trapped in a plastic toy box, there’s no escaping experience the Barbie pink marketing blitz. As we have already mentioned, marketing & advertising design can be divided into the printed advertisements that we see in the form of posters, billboards, flyers, catalogs, packaging, cardboard stands, and all printed materials that pass through the printing machine. And it can be divided into digital advertisements which we see on TV ads and phones in the form of banners, video ads, promotional posts on social media, and radio commercials.

Below is an excellent example of a genius marketing move for the Barbie movie. No headline, no visual – just a pink billboard with a date at the bottom. Barbie has owned the vibrant pink shade to a great extent that it’s the only thing needed to generate brand recall.

#3 Web design

Design is a combination of aesthetics and function, as is web design. We could say that web design is the art of arranging content on a website so that it can be shared and accessed online with the world. However, there are websites that are easy to access and those that are difficult to navigate. What is the key difference?

UI and UX design

You have probably already heard of the term UI and UX, but do you know what that means exactly? A user interface (UI) is how a user interacts with a device or application. The UI is the process of designing interfaces to make them easy to use and provide a user-friendly experience. A UI includes all of the things a user interacts with—the screen, keyboard, and mouse—but in the context of graphic design, user interface design focuses on the user’s visual experience and the design of on-screen graphic elements like buttons, menus, micro-interactions, and more. It’s a UI designer’s job to balance aesthetic appeal with technical functionality. UI designers specialize in desktop, mobile, web, and games. They work closely with UX (user experience) designers who determine how the app works and UI developers who write code to make it work.
The mobile industry is growing very fast. Companies have started delivering their content and services through apps. With great mobile app design, you are responsible for making a product look beautiful and building a relationship between the app and the user. Professional App designers are aware of the latest trends. They know how to design user interfaces in order to be elegant, with perfect icons and excellent art.

#4 Publication graphic design

Print was the main medium for providing news and information in the olden days. The printing industry was in full swing, releasing large quantities of prints such as books, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and many others. But time is changing, and technology is progressing. Today digital media is at the very top. The average users spend 5 hours per day on their mobile devices. So it’s not surprising that people are less and less reading newspapers and reading the news on the web sites. They have replaced books with ebooks, fashion trends following on social media, and they shop online.
A graphic designer specializing in publications works with editors and publishers to create layouts with carefully selected typography accompanying the artwork, including photography, graphics, and illustrations. Publication designers may work as freelancers, as creative agency members, or in-house as part of a publishing company. Publication designers must possess excellent communication, layout, and organizational skills. In addition to graphic design expertise, they need to understand color management, printing, and digital publishing.

Fanzine (shortened: Zine)

At the moment, the most popular publications are fanzines. First and foremost, zines are self-published magazines that have acted as methods of expression and communication for marginalized communities. Similarly, art zines are also self-published magazines that usually focus on a particular medium or area of the art world. They represent collections of drawings, written works, photographs, and other artworks that are printed and distributed to people with the same interests. Today, zines are returning to the mainstream with Generation Z. Artists, illustrators, and graphic designers have realized that zines are a very suitable way to express authorship and creativity, which would lead to the creation of artistic collectives.

#5 Packaging graphic design

Packaging has a dual role: protecting the product while storing, distributing, selling, and communicating directly to consumers, making it an extremely valuable marketing tool. Packaging designers create concepts, develop mockups, and create print-ready files for a product. This requires expert knowledge of print processes and a keen understanding of industrial design and manufacturing. They have to keep track of trends and competition. Imagine that a product is found in a retail store next to its competition in the same color and shape, it doesn’t stand out at all, and the consumer will find it harder to spot it or not notice it at all. Packaging must be innovative, stand out, and “call” consumers to choose this product. In order to design a good package box, bottle, or bag, a packaging designer has to be aware of brand identity and try to tell a brand’s story. It’s not uncommon for designers to find themselves creating different types of designs for a product, such as photography, illustrations, and visual identity. Also, product designers must be flexible to meet the demands of clients, marketers, and manufacturers.

Art Sponges

Consumers of Shuba products are people associated with art, lovers of modern and classical art, pop art, and all those who appreciate unusual, interesting things, creative gifts, non-standard solutions, and high-quality products. The task was to develop packaging for colored shower sponges. They were inspired by the color portraits of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol. They notice that the brightly colored sponges turned out to be very similar to Marilyn’s hairstyles. Packaging designers decided to approach the problem with humor and turned the hair of the famous Marilyn Monroe into a shower sponge! They have developed a package with cutting in place of the hair of a female portrait. Then put a sponge in the box and got a 3D effect. Brilliant!

#6 Motion graphic design

Ever since motion graphics first appeared on the scene, there has been a debate about the line between them and animation. Motion graphics is animation but with text as a major component. Essentially, it’s animated graphic design. Motion graphic design has become a real trend. There is a growing demand among companies to display their products and services with short animations. Except for marketing purposes, animations are used in video games, applications, banners, animated texts, subtitles, and much more. “Motion graphics designer” is a somewhat new specialty for designers and can be found across all digital platforms, which has created all sorts of new areas and opportunities.

Kinetic typography

Kinetic typography is the most popular and favorite design solution among designers and others. The animation technique uses moving text to capture attention, set a tone, and entertain. Almost every animated or live-action video may benefit from this method due to its very nature. It can be used in social media design, explainer and educational videos, brand videos, business presentations, internal communication videos, etc. It seems to be everywhere right now —everyone uses it to make their words more impactful and add an element of artistry.

Also, here we will mention 3D graphic design because it is gaining a lot of importance these days. It has become the most popular effect used in almost all industries. 3D artist posses strong computer and technical skills. Apart from photography and various computer-aided software, they are trained in lighting, effects, and animation techniques.

A visual of kinetic typography saying "cool"

Source: Google Images

#7 Environmental graphic design

Whether you are talking about office branding, public transportation navigation, or retail store interiors, environmental graphic design visually connects people to places to improve their overall experience by making spaces more memorable, interesting, informative, or easier to navigate. We are unaware of how environmental graphic design affects our everyday life. Environmental design is a multidisciplinary practice that merges graphic, architectural, interior, landscape, and industrial design. Designers collaborate with people in any number of these fields to plan and implement their designs. Because of that, designers typically have education and experience in both graphic design and architecture. They must be familiar with industrial design concepts and able to read and sketch architectural plans.

Wayfinding system

Have you ever wondered how often people would get lost at airports, train and bus stations, roads, hospitals, universities, and other campuses — if no wayfinding system was established? A wayfinding system is a tool or suite of tools that work to help people orient themselves in the environment or their location in space. Effective wayfinding signage helps create a more productive, organized navigation experience, getting people where they want to go quickly and safely. In terms of graphic and environmental design, used elements should be simple, visible, and readable. Also, directional signs don’t have to be boring to be effective. Designers usually try to add a little creativity to those signs, show off brand identity and make the most of existing space by using available surfaces.

A photo from the Croatian airport with the wayfinding typography

Source: Typography and wayfinding by Nikola Đurek i Damir Bralić

#8 Illustration for graphic design

There are four main categories that illustrate can be classified as character illustration, conceptual illustrations, technical illustrations, and graphic design illustrations. In the following text, we will discuss illustrations used in graphic design.


Graphic artists and illustrators create specific artworks to tell a story, and graphic designers join other graphic elements and take care of the overall appearance and function of the product. Usually, when we say illustration, we usually think of a drawing. However, drawing is a visual expression used to convey your own thoughts and feelings towards a subject, whereas illustration is a tool of visual communication for people to visualize and understand the subject by looking at a picture rather than the accompanying text.

Illustrators use any combination of media and techniques to create their work as they collaborate with writers, editors, managers, marketers, and art directors across all graphic design types. They will often have a foundation in fine arts, animation, or architecture. The style of drawing and the atmosphere of the illustration is very important for communication, so you should carefully choose illustrators in relation to the needs of the product.