When we hear the term graphic design – each of us has 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 an integral part of 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 from the web designer to do the top job of video editing as someone who has been doing this for years. This was just an example, but you get the point.

Below we highlighted 8 types of graphic design to understand each design area better and to help you choose the designer with the right skills for your job. So let’s start.

#1 Visual identity graphic design

Every business, whether it’s small, medium or large has a different story to tell. 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 images, shapes, and colors. Designers that specialize in visual identity graphic design create assets like logos, typography, color palettes, and image libraries that represent a brand’s personality. In addition to the standard business cards and memorandum, 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 design elements that are suitable 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 also upgraded in the field of marketing and advertising graphic design. Because, when creating the visual identity he should always consider how it will fit on later in marketing and advertising.

Graphic designer workspace

#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, of course, 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 talking about days or even 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, as well as with the habits of their target groups. Designers who create advertise are not only talented in creative design but also know how to sell a product and capture consumers mind. 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 the advertising itself.

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 networks, and radio commercials.

advertising displays in urban city

#3 Web 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 design 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, UI 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 apps, mobile apps, web apps, 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 not only responsible for making a product look beautiful but also building a relationship between app and user. Professional App designers are aware of the latest trends. They know how to design an app with an elegant interface, perfect icons, and excellent art.

#4 Publication graphic design

In the olden days, the print was the main medium for providing news and information. 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 medium is on 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 read the news on the web sites. They have replaced the books with ebooks, fashion trends following on social networks and they shop online.

Graphic designers that specialize in publications work with editors and publishers to create layouts with carefully selected typography and accompanying the artwork, which includes 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.

graphic design typography text creative composition

#5 Packaging graphic design

The packaging has a dual role, to protect the product while storing, distributing and selling and also communicating directly to consumers, which makes it an extremely valuable marketing tool. Packaging designers create concepts, develop mockups, and create the 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 on 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, must stand out, must “call” consumers to choose this product.

#6 Motion 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, and subtitles and much more. The huge popularity nowadays has a gif that is eminently spread among young people. “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.

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

#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 not even aware of how environmental graphic design actually affects our everyday life. Environmental graphic 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.

Environmental graphic design in metro station

#8 Illustration for graphic design

There is a difference between a graphic designer and graphic artists. Graphic designers create compositions to communicate and solve problems and graphic artists create original artwork. Graphic artists 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’ll often have a foundation in fine arts, animation or architecture. Overlapping skills and apps make it possible to find graphic designers who also work as graphic artists and illustrators.

illustration on macbook with some tool kit on table




Dina Matijević

Designer at Kontra. Love to cook, drink good craft beers and take care of plants.