The 8 types of graphic design you need to know

the 8 types of graphic design you need to know

Before we dive into the 8 types of graphic design, let’s start with the basics: What is graphic design? Graphic design is the creation of visual compositions to solve problems and communicate ideas through typography, imagery, color and form. There’s no one way to do that, and that’s why there are several types of graphic design, each with their own area of specialization.
Though they often overlap, each type of graphic design requires specific sets of skills and design techniques. Many designers specialize in a single type; others focus on a set of related, similar types. But because the industry is constantly changing, designers must be adaptable and lifelong learners so they can change or add specializations throughout their careers.
Whether you are an aspiring designer or seeking design services for your business, understanding the 8 types of graphic design will help you find the right skills for the job.
A brand is a relationship between a business or organization and its audience. A brand identity is how the organization communicates its personality, tone and essence, as well as memories, emotions and experiences. Visual identity graphic design is exactly that: the visual elements of brand identity that act as the face of a brand to communicate those intangible qualities through images, shapes and color.
Designers that specialize in visual identity graphic design collaborate with brand stakeholders to create assets like logos, typography, color palettes and image libraries that represent a brand’s personality. In addition to the standard business cards and corporate stationary, designers often develop a set of visual brand guidelines (style guides) that describe best practices and provide examples of visual branding applied across various media. These guidelines help to ensure brand consistency throughout future applications.
Visual identity design is one of the most common types of design. Visual identity graphic designers must possess a general knowledge of all types of graphic design in order to create design elements that are suitable across all visual media. They also need excellent communication, conceptual and creative skills, and a passion for researching industries, organizations, trends and competitors. 
When most people think of graphic design, they think of designs created for marketing and advertising.
Companies depend on successful marketing efforts to tap into their target audience’s decision-making process. Great marketing engages people based on the wants, needs, awareness and satisfaction they have about a product, service or brand. Since people will always find visual content more engaging, graphic design helps organizations promote and communicate more effectively. 
Marketing designers work with company owners, directors, managers or marketing professionals to create assets for marketing strategies. They might work alone or as part of an in-house or creative team. Designers can specialize in a specific type of media (vehicle wraps or magazine ads, for example) or create a broad assortment of collateral for print, digital, and beyond. While traditionally print-centered, this type of design has grown to include more digital assets, especially for use in content marketing and digital advertising.
Marketing designers need excellent communication, problem-solving and time management skills. In addition to being proficient in several graphic design, layout and presentation apps, they must also be familiar with production for print and online environments. Entry-level positions in this area are a great way for new designers to learn processes and acquire valuable skills and experience.
A user interface (UI) is how a user interacts with a device or application. UI design is the process of designing interfaces to make them easy to use and provide a user-friendly experience.
A UI includes all of the things a user interacts with—the screen, keyboard and mouse—but in the context of graphic design, UI design focuses on the user’s visual experience and the design of on-screen graphic elements like buttons, menus, micro-interactions, and more. It’s a UI designer’s job to balance aesthetic appeal with technical functionality.
UI designers specialize in desktop apps, mobile apps, web apps and games. They work closely with UX (user experience) designers (who determine how the app works) and UI developers (who write code to make it work).
UI designers must be team players backed by both serious graphic design skills and an excellent understanding of UI/UX principles, responsive design and web development. In addition to graphics apps, they need knowledge of programming languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
Publications are long-form pieces that communicate with an audience through public distribution. They have traditionally been a print medium. Publication design is a classic type of design—think books, newspapers, magazines and catalogs. However, there’s recently been a significant rise in digital publishing.
Graphic designers that specialize in publications work with editors and publishers to create layouts with carefully selected typography and accompanying artwork, which includes photography, graphics and illustrations. Publication designers may work as freelancers, as creative agency members or in-house as part of a publishing company.
Publication designers must possess excellent communication, layout and organizational skills. In addition to graphic design expertise, they need to understand color management, printing and digital publishing.
Most products require some form of packaging to protect and prepare them for storage, distribution, and sale. But packaging design can also communicate directly to consumers, which makes it an extremely valuable marketing tool. Every box, bottle and bag, every can, container, or canister is a chance tell the story of a brand.
Packaging designers create concepts, develop mockups and create the print-ready files for a product. This requires expert knowledge of print processes and a keen understanding of industrial design and manufacturing. Because packaging design touches so many disciplines, it’s not uncommon for designers to find themselves creating other assets for a product such as photography, illustrations and visual identity.
Packaging designers may be a jack-of-all-trades or specialize in a specific type of packaging (like labels or beverage cans) or a specific industry (like food or children’s toys). Their work requires top-notch conceptual and problem-solving skills in addition to a strong working knowledge of print and industrial design. They must be flexible to meet the demands of clients, marketers and manufacturers and be aware of current trends
Simply put, motion graphics are graphics that are in motion. This can include animation, audio, typography, imagery, video and other effects that are used in online media, television and film. The medium’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years as technology improved and video content became king.
“Motion graphics designer” is a somewhat new specialty for designers. Formally reserved for TV and film, technological advances have reduced production time and costs, making the art form more accessible and affordable. Now, motion graphics is one of the newest types of design and can be found across all digital platforms, which has created all sorts of new areas and opportunities.
Motion graphics designers begin by developing storyboards and then bring their concepts to life with animation, video and traditional art. Depending on the industry, a strong working knowledge of marketing, coding and 3D modeling can be definite assets.
Environmental graphic design visually connects people to places to improve their overall experience by making spaces more memorable, interesting, informative or easier to navigate. Environmental design is a broad type of design, here are some examples:
Wayfinding is a specific type of environmental graphic design that consists of strategic signage, landmarks and visual cues that help people identify where they are and where they need to go so they can get there without confusion.
Environmental graphic design is a multidisciplinary practice that merges graphic, architectural, interior, landscape and industrial design. Designers collaborate with people in any number of these fields to plan and implement their designs. Because of that, designers typically have education and experience in both graphic design and architecture. They must be familiar with industrial design concepts and able to read and sketch architectural plans.
Traditionally, environmental graphic design has produced static print pieces, but digital interactive displays continue to rise in popularity as a means of creating a more engaging experience.
Graphic art and illustration are often seen as being the same as graphic design, however, they’re each very different. Designers create compositions to communicate and solve problems, graphic artists and illustrators create original artwork. Their art takes a number of forms, from fine art to decoration to storytelling illustrations.
Even though graphic art and illustration are not technically types of graphic design, so much is created for commercial use within the context of graphic design that you can’t talk about one without the others.
Graphic artists use any combination of media and techniques to create their work as they collaborate with writers, editors, managers, marketers and art directors across all graphic design types. They’ll often have a foundation in fine arts, animation or architecture. Overlapping skills and apps make it possible to find graphic designers who also work as graphic artists and illustrators (and vice versa). 
Graphic design is an ever-growing field, and the demand for specialized and skilled designers is on the rise. When you’re looking for the right person to take on a design job, knowing the different types of graphic design will help you identify the specialist you need.
This article was originally published in 2018. It has been updated with new examples and information.

Thank you for this great overview! I just realised that I am doing all this last 15 years and that still call myself just a “Designer”. LOL, I need to change something.
I want to do this job
Me too if you joined please tell me how and what i should do
Hey there,
If you’re interested in joining our global community of graphic designers, you can learn more here and submit an application.
Thanks! This was a good thorough introductory explanation.
thanx for this information
thank you i like the interface design and the Publication graphic design becauce they have magazine and buttons and menu
This is awesome
Wow this is amazing I still have a lot to learn
Thanks Mila
Thanks for the information.
It’s awesome
How to print image on colour separation.thank you
I want to learn please what do I do?
Here are some useful tutorials that will help you improve your graphic design skills. Youtube is also a great resource for finding more design tutorials. But the best way to learn is to keep practising!
I am also a graphic designer and this article Help very much to get some new information because Graphic Design is my passion and i want to make career on this.
I’m an artist currently talking A graphic design course and I’m super excited I can’t wait to have all this knowledge to be doing my own stuff
Very informative….. Thanks a lot
to me it’s good you open up my mind that once i designing something i must first kno types of graphics tha i want design
thank you so much!!! This is a really a big help for me as a beginner in graphic design industry!!! I am excited to know more about graphic design through your blogs. ❤
Glad you found it helpful! 🙂
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Glad you found it helpful!
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Glad you liked it!
I love this.
I never considered it this way
Great post..very usefull to me! Thank you Mila
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Happy to hear that you found it helpful! 🙂
I’m very grateful for this post! Changing careers and look forward to learning new skills.
Wonderful Reading!!. Thankyou so much for the information. Cleared a lot of confusion which i had being at the initial stage of learning graphic design.
Gracious! .
Glad you found it helpful!
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Hi everyone, I’m a senior high school and I want to take graphic designer since i think this is for me and will enjoy it but I’m confused right now, is graphic design is under in BS Information Technology?
There are lots of different design programs for students who want to become graphic designers. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits institutions that have art and design programs, including universities, postsecondary colleges and independent institutes. You can look through their directory here.
I found this very educative, thanks.
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I liked your way to show examples with pictures
Thanks! Glad you liked the article!
I needed a recap of what a graphic designer truly entails. I now realize I am not JUST a designer. I may not have done ALL of the descriptions, but I have done quite a few. Coming from the Ole School days… I have kind of lost track of what is a designer/artist. Going to enjoy being apart of this page/group. thanks
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Thanks for your information…
I’m really new to design and still trying to find my ground and this article was extremely helpful. Thanks.
Dear Author,
Thanks for the full information you provided above, but, if I want to study each of them as courses, how could i get the tutorial of these diferrent designs. Please help.
Thank you
seen the the great overview you gave to us, makes me appreciate over and over and over. i have taken a step by including graphic design to be my schedule curriculum . over past years i was engaged into these other arts like the word,art and culture; and i strongly feel to take this into anther paradigm shift.
for i know it transforms and changes the perception of the world around us . thank you once more ..
I’m so excited am in Woooo!☺️
Thank you for this timeless information that is well presented and easy to understand. I have a clearer understanding of where I fit in and what I need to improve and add to become better. Thanks again, All the best to everyone who contributed.
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Wow amazing post, I had really been doing great design for people without knowing my type of design, but this article have put me on a kind. I’ve love to work for any company for free just to develop my skills more… I am really interested in the marketing and user interface graphics design
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Please how do I succeed in a graphic design.
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I am starting now
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i want to learn
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A person who edits in vfx form called as..?
The given information was very helpful for those who are beginner and also for those who don’t know that which industry is related with their skill. ☺️
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This was really helpful, and it has motivated be in my dream of being a great graphic designer, buy showing me how wide this field is.
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I would like to be a graphics designer and I like this page……………………………………………………thank you so much /…….
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Thank you…this is useful knowledge that I will apply in my graphic designing course.
I am a graphic designer with four years’ experience. I use adobe photoshop and adobe Illustrator to make designs. My service is packaging design, logo design, flyer design and business card design.
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