What Is Graphic Design? Graphic design, also known as communication design, is the art and practice of creating, planning, and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content. This form of the communication can be physical or virtual, and may include images, words, or graphic forms. Most of the time, graphic design is used for creative communication and marketing for business brands. What is the Purpose of Graphic Design? The purpose of Graphic Design is to help your brand or logo be recognizable and differentiate from others in your market. There seems to some discussion on the idea of using graphic designs in branding, so let’s clarify: branding is a marketing concept. A logo is not a brand, nor is it an identity. Designing a graphics logo, building an identity, and establishing a brand are three different things, yet together they form the public’s perceived image of your brand or product. A brand is the emotional effect of company’s image as a whole. An identity is the aspects of a company’s presence that form part of the brand’s vision, mission, and purpose. A logo identifies a business in its simplest form as a symbol or icon. Great companies that have success in marketing usually have clearly defined all three of these areas and use them in partnership to present themselves. If done correctly, a good logo can evoke positive feelings and encourage consumers to trust you and buy your product. For any business to be successful in their marketing and sales, they must keep their brand, identity, and logo defined and visible all the time. What Are The Benefits of Good Graphics? Trust – People like brands they feel comfortable with. A solid logo with positive colors can help people to trust your brand. Relevance – Cheesy or dated logos often communicate that you don’t care about your business enough to update it. By keeping your logo refreshed, your business will come across as up to date. Professionalism – The most important part of a graphic is that it never says “I was done in a hurry.” Good graphics and logos take time and require intentionality. Remember that they speak to your excellence as a business. Personality – If done right, a logo can often reflect a lot about who you are and your personal architecture. Fonts, colors, shapes, and angles can do a lot to convey the heart of your business. Graphics and Branding Branding is the process of displaying the personality or character associated with an organization, product, or service. This personality is shaped by audience and market perceptions. Even the best graphic designer cannot make or force a brand – only the audience can. The fundamental concept behind a corporate “image” is that everything the business does, owns, produces, and displays should say something about the values and style of the business. Consistency in this total picture is what identifies the company and drives its marketing – by showing what it stands for and why it exists. It is not flashy graphics and a distinctive logo. It is the total image others perceive. This is the goal of graphics: to remind people through visual art of who you are as a brand and your values as a business. Marketing Graphics Digital and print ad campaigns are developed and executed to incorporate all of these concepts of displaying personality, value, and purpose. Advertising options such as e-mail, press releases, web design, and the majority of advertisements feature images to catch the eye and convey meaning more readily than text can. And if your brand has been well established, then your logo will represent so much more than just an image. Common Issues With Graphics Of course, the use of images in any of these venues for marketing and promotion has several legal obligations and ethics. Protected images cannot be used in whole or in part even if altered. Here are few issues that can come up with the use of images and graphics on the internet: Photos of People – A common issue in the public domain are legalities over photos of people. If these are used for editorial purposes, such as a news story, it’s usually OK without their permission. But if the same photo is to be used for business purposes, you need permission from the subject or owner of the logo. People have the right to prevent someone exploiting their likeness, and even in the event of their death, that right passes to their heirs. Copyright or Distribution Ownership – Copyright is a concept of legal rights granted to the creator of original work, and applies to any intellectual property. Normally it means exclusive rights to use and distribute an image. This usually applies for a limited time, and there are some exceptions to “exclusive rights” under fair use laws. For instance, a company may copyright a design featuring the text “Digital Scanners”, but that does not give them exclusive rights to those words, only to use of the image as a whole. Public Domain – Public domain refers to images or works where copyrights never existed, have expired, or been waived. Public domain images are usually distributed or marked as such. Trademark and Servicemark – Be careful about using any logos, symbols, brand names, devices, or anything appearing with TM (trademark), SM (service mark) or the registered trademark symbol in either image or text. Trademarks do not expire and their use is protected so long as they are used by the registered owner. Final Warning Yes, it’s normal for people to borrow and use images all the time, especially if they believe them to be in the public domain. Others have tried to craft graphics that are “similar” to those from well-known corporations to take advantage of the subconscious association with the original brand. That’s an issue to be hammered out by lawyers, but you probably don’t want to go there. Be very careful about selecting graphics for use by a 3rd-party marketing service. Both the publishers and the person who supplied the image could be liable. Being sued over the simplest image could not only cost a lot of money, it can ruin companies and careers. How We Can Help Our team at eXpect3 is familiar with the careful navigation that goes into the creation and use of graphics. We understand both the possibilities and the dangers that can come with using words, pictures, and graphics to represent a business. If your business hasn’t been able to nail down a good logo or graphics, we would love to help. Contact us today by calling 918-379-9400.