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Graphic Design in Britain

From the iconic Art Deco posters of the 20s and 30s to contemporary interpretations of Olympic art, graphic design has long been a British strength. Wartime recruitment posters; cigarette packets and glossy magazine ads – throughout the 20th century, all have been used to convey the marketing message in startlingly different ways. Bold lines, daring concepts and original thinking have served to create timeless campaigns that have changed the face of graphic design.

In the 21st century, as the world has transited to the digital realm, British design has continued to flourish. While there is still a demand for print media, it has been largely superseded by its web-based equivalent. The inexorable growth of digital media has heralded good news for graphic designers, who have been exposed to a potential client base of millions. Not only has the web made it easier for designers to showcase their work, but it has led to a boom in demand for their services.

Logos; websites; flash animations and video titles. As the web’s ability to host multimedia has expanded, so has the need for graphic design. While there is still a market for print design, many designers now focus exclusively on digital design. Growing markets, including mobile applications and gaming, have ensured a steady supply of work for designers who are capable of creating original content across a range of multimedia.

For aspiring designers who are just starting out, there are several possible career paths to follow. Graphic design is a broad discipline with a number of specialist fields. After mastering the basics, many students choose to focus on a specific aspect of design. Some of the most popular graphic design roles are as follows:

Motion Graphic Design

With an emphasis on filmmaking and video production, this discipline calls for a good working knowledge of 3D software and animation tools. Examples of motion graphic design can be seen in film titles, web-based animations and television idents. Complex projects will require the development of a story board and the creation of screen designs. For talented, ambitious designers, motion graphic design can be a fulfilling profession.

 Web Design

 Most graphic designers will find themselves working in web design at some point, even if it’s simply creating a business logo or banner to appear on a client’s website. Many designers, however, choose to focus exclusively on web design. Whether building a new website or reskinning an existing one, the job will begin with a planning stage, followed by design and then development. With the exponential growth of mobile internet and the uptake of tablet devices, demand for quality web designers remains strong. In addition, the popularity of mobile gaming and apps has led to a steady supply of work for enterprising designers. Logos, headers, banners, slider images and composite graphics may all be required for the web.

 Packaging Artwork

 Packaging artworkers are responsible for designing graphics that appear on packaging and labelling. Typical examples may include soda cans, candy bar wrappers and shopping bags. Packaging artworkers are expected to ensure brand consistency across a product range and to work closely with other in-house designers. Although this can be a demanding profession with long hours and tight deadlines, it can also be a rewarding one. There is something deeply satisfying about developing an idea from scratch and then seeing it through to the print stage, refining the concept along the way.

 Print Design

 Although this article has focused on digital design, print design nevertheless has its place. Business directories, magazines and newspapers may be in decline, but there is still a demand for other print design services. Graphic designers can find work creating gig fliers, posters, POS displays and marketing material. There’s also a constant demand for office stationery including notepaper and business cards. In addition, signwriting and vehicle livery are other print mediums that are reliant upon graphic design.

 Whether in print or on the web, on shop fronts or on smartphones, good graphic design is easy to spot but much harder to master. We may now be living in a digital era, but designs that are bold, striking and highly original will continue to stand the test of time.

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