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Why Graphic Design Begins with an ‘F’

July 15, 2011 IADT General, IADT San Antonio, Graphic Design 0 Comments

Graphic Design IADT-San Antonio

How many times has a client asked you to create a logo or other item without telling you details like the exact dimensions of the project or how it’s going to be seen?

Much of the time when this happens, we are eager to help and to get the job, so we do not ask enough questions or have enough information but start to work on the project anyway. This can lead to wasted time working on a project and working in the wrong direction. As a designer, always be sure you know the format of a design before you start.

As described in the book Visual Basics for Designers – 2D, format is defined as “That defined perimeter and the area it encloses, where a designer begins composing a design with his or her first mark.”

A design can have a very different impact if it is in a square, round, landscape or portrait format.  All the lines and shapes within that format will have a different dynamic depending on the shape of its perimeter.  There are standard formats for Web pages, CD covers, posters and logos.

There are also single- and multiple-page formats.  A single-page format can be a poster, logo, billboard or any design that is within one page. However, magazines, books, annual reports or newspapers are multiple-page formats. Folded brochures are also considered multiple-page format.

The designer should consider how close the viewer will be to the design and how much time they will spend looking at the piece. Both the format and location of the format have an effect on the viewer.  A magazine can be held and flipped through and may have more time to impact its audience than a highway billboard one may see while driving.  A poster in a subway station may also have a different amount of time to impact the viewer and will need to be able to be seen across the platform and also convey its message when read up close. 

In order to create graphics with maximum impact and good design, a designer should understand all the details of the format before they make their first mark.  If the client has not given a printed outline of the project or enough details about it, then ask more questions.  As designers we only have a limited amount of time to create new designs, and that time should be used wisely!

- Jenni Klein, Graphic Design Instructor, IADT-San Antonio


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