Anyone can be a graphic designer
Computers have made access to design tools simple. Heck, you can download a design app for free on your iPhone if you really wanted to! The truth is that it takes years of practice and experience to become graphic designer. Designers need to be constantly watching trends just to keep everything looking up-to-date. They have to understand what people think looks good and what actually looks good (I’m talking to you comic sans). Computers allow me to add anything I want to a design, but should I? Does that banner ad really need a rocket turtle flying across the screen? Most likely not. Designers study these things so you don’t have to. Not everyone agrees on what looks best, but that’s ok! Feedback is always welcome, and sometimes considered (see number 2).
Graphic designers know everything
I truly hate to admit it, but graphic designers don’t know everything. Information and guidelines focus our design process and allow us to create better work. We get information by talking to the client and working through a problem with a marketing strategist or creative director. Working with others and allowing clients to provide feedback gives perspective. Being a good graphic designer is about understanding your audience. The only way to do that is to work with others.
Design is only done on the computer
It’s true that computers have revolutionized the graphic design industry, but they are not always the only tools to determine a design. A lot of designers begin a project by making sketches and taking notes with a pencil and paper. A computer allows you to fix an error with a keystroke. To me there is something to be said for making errors when you’re sketching and having to erase it—everyone knows it never fully gets erased. Those errors turn into something more or make me think about something better and different. Sketching things out first keeps my feet on the ground and allows me to not get carried away with the cool paint filter in Photoshop. Who knows, maybe my next design will use actual paint.
Fixing a design is as fast as a flick of a wrist
At one time graphic designers were mythical creatures with markers, pencils and rulers, cutting up images and pasting them on a page. Nowadays computers do the heavy lifting for us, but that doesn’t mean fixing a design has become easier. No good design comes from rushed work, there are many variables that go into a design that sometimes are not perceived by a client or an end user, and making a change may throw the whole thing off. When a change is made to a design, we designers must consider how that change affects the brand.
Logos = Brands
Everyone wants a logo these days, for some it’s what determines their brand and sets the tone for what they are all about. Brands may have started out as a simple mark but they have become something much more. A brand is determined by all the senses, meaning that it involves visuals, experiences, tastes and much more. A logo is only a small part of a larger idea. That feeling you get when you watch a TV series or drive your car is part of the larger brand for those companies.