types of graphic design

Explore Your Career Options: The 8 Types of Graphic Design

Thinking of becoming a graphic designer? There’s more to it than designing logos. In fact, there are all kinds of different types of graphic design.

That’s probably why graphic designers have the potential for employment in a range of industries from advertising to computer systems.

Here, we’re breaking down eight types of graphic design and the types of graphic design projects you might see in each role respectively.

Ready to dive into your new career?

1. Visual Identity Designer

If you think about it, branding is all about the relationship between a company and its audience. Usually, branding is discussed in relation to rebranding campaigns. In reality, branding is central to building a company identity.

The brand is how a company communicates its personality, values, and tone to customers. It gives them something personal to connect with.

That’s where a visual identity designer comes in.

As a visual identity designer, you’re responsible for creating the visual elements of a brand that customers will identify. This type of graphic designer collaborates with brand stakeholders to create assets like logos, color palettes, and image libraries.

You’re also responsible for developing a visual style guide. This is the brand’s go-to checklist for visual branding across mediums. This will ensure that the brand is consistent in their image and marketing.

2. Email Marketing Designer

Email marketing focuses on smaller tasks than visual identity design. However, as more businesses discover the value of email marketing, this job is becoming more valuable than ever.

Every time a brand sends an email, they’re sending out a piece of marketing material. An email marketing designer is important because each email must be clean, consistent, and on-message.

As an email marketing designer, you’ll work with writers, user interface specialists, marketing managers, and other designers to ensure that email campaigns fulfill brand strategies and standards.

As such, this job acts as a kind of cross-section between a user interface and pure marketing design. You’ll need a significant knowledge of HTML and CSS, as you may be asked to code your final product.

3. User Interface Designer

On a related note, a user interface designer deals with the customer side of things. But unlike an email marketing designer, they aren’t just concerned with marketing.

A user interface (UI) designer builds application interfaces connecting a customer with back-end processes and data. You’re a design bridge between the front-end designers and back-end developers, and you’ll ensure that interfaces are usable and accessible while still meeting brand design standards.

Because of this, most UI designers have a great deal of coding experience, including JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Ajax.

4. Creative Services Manager

A creative services manager can be a good career option for experienced graphic designers.

The specifics of the job vary depending on the company you work for. As a rule, creative services managers act as a liaison between senior management and the creative team they oversee.

This is a big picture job–managers will often oversee whole creative projects and act as a guide for team members to ensure the project is completed satisfactorily, on time, and on budget.

Because of this, this position takes you beyond your graphic design skills and demands strong people skills and management abilities to effectively keep your creative team on track.

5. Information Architect

If a creative services manager is all about managing the big picture, an information architect is about helping you see the big picture.

Similar to how an architect helps individuals and companies design buildings, an information architect helps their clients define content strategy and analyze the needs of their potential audience.

From there, they help clients design their site accordingly using mockups and process maps to envision what the completed site will look like.

6. Motion Designer

You can think of a motion designer like an animator because, in many ways, that’s their job.

A motion designer is responsible for bringing graphics to life on the Internet and TV. Like a cartoon animator, they use their extensive knowledge of animation to tell a brand story with visuals.

This could take almost any form, from a YouTube video to a homepage animation to a transition effect on a television program.

7. Packaging Designer

Have you ever looked at a product and wondered who designed the packaging because the packaging was just so cool?

Product packaging is just as much of a marketing tool as advertisements and videos, which is why it needs graphic designers.

Specifically, it needs packaging designers, who look at packaging as yet another tool for a brand to tell its story.

While product teams develop the product, packaging designers are responsible for creating concepts, mockups, and print-ready files that will go from your desk to a product. This means you need to have an in-depth understanding of industrial design and the manufacturing process.

That said, product design touches several different disciplines, so packaging designers often develop other design elements for a product, especially with regards to visual identity.

8. Art Director

Of course, if you’re an experienced graphic designer who wants to take your creative skills to the next level, you should also consider becoming an art director.

An art director is like the next step up from a creative services manager–they’re responsible for all creative aspects related to a project, campaign, or even an entire brand.

Art directors should have an excellent eye for detail and a broad knowledge of what makes various design elements work together. They have a hand in everything from the makeup a model wears at a promotional shoot to the typography the brand uses on its products.

Art directors work closely with management teams to gather an in-depth knowledge of campaign goals and the desired audience while mobilizing their creative team to bring that knowledge to fruition in a campaign.

The Types of Graphic Design That Work for You

Now that you know the many types of graphic design work, are you ready to dive into your new career?

If you want more ideas about graphic design, check out our blog for all kinds of tips, like these five graphic design ideas that will turn heads this summer.