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What does a graphic designer do? A complete guide

Graphic designers work visual miracles. They can distil complicated messages into single images without you even realising!

From an unforgettable logo to a multi-channel brand guideline, graphic designers make eye-catching visual media that builds brand awareness for the customers and brand pride for the owners.

If you wonder, “what does a graphic designer do?” read this guide. 

As a bonus, at the end of this article, you can read an interview with our Head Graphic Designer extraordinaire, Nathan Coombes. 

The responsibilities of a graphic designer

Branding awareness

A lot of thought goes into a well-designed logo. It needs to communicate the brand’s values and purpose but should also have some characteristics that make it easily recognisable. That’s a lot of responsibility for a single image!

To make magic happen, graphic designers use colour theory. It outlines how colours make people feel and which ones stand out. Experimenting with different colour combinations is a big part of what makes the job so fun. 

Another fun part of graphic design is breaking the rules! If you know the proper design conventions, you also know how to break them for maximum effect. 

Practical graphic design skills 

While graphic designers still do occasional pencil scribbling (especially when brainstorming!), it has become a digital role.

There is a whole host of software that graphic designers can use, such as Adobe Creative Suite, which includes InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and many more. This software is constantly improving, and they are creating new and exciting opportunities to push artistic boundaries. 

Knowing and understanding various types of media such as DL flyers, business cards, folders etc., and platforms like WordPress is also an excellent way for graphic designers to be more employable. Not to mention seeing a wonderful-looking website that you created is a great feeling!

Interpretation and presentation 

While graphic designers might enjoy doing it, their work can be challenging. A great logo communicates everything it needs without you realising it – so the average layperson might not appreciate the nuance. 

For a Graphic Designer to be of value, they must be able to do two things.

  • First, they must gather as much information from the client or brief as possible. This demonstrates the strategy to the client and usually leads to better results. 
  • Second, they need to explain what they’ve done and the reasoning behind it. A great way they can do this is by showing the stages of the work, from the original idea to the finished product. This shows how much information has been condensed into a ‘simple’ graphic. Plus, it’s also nice for the designer to look at their progress!

Skills graphic designers need

There are many skills, both occupational and behavioural, that are essential for graphic designers. They include:

  • An understanding of graphic design techniques across multiple applications
  • Able to construct a brand identity and make that consistent across different applications
  • An understanding of colour theory and typography
  • Familiar with current design trends and conventions
  • Knowledge of modern digital design tools
  • Able to balance multiple projects simultaneously
  • Can articulate the meaning and purpose of designs to clients verbally or through a presentation
  • Highly creative
  • Strong time management skills

Nathan has over 20 years of experience in graphic design. He is the mastermind behind our creative direction, and his incredible designs often get rave reviews from our clients. 

What does a graphic designer do, and why is it necessary at Think Tank Digital Marketing?

The graphic designer ensures that your imagery looks professional, we represent businesses daily, and they want to put the right face forward. They want to impress the best representation of themselves online, and people stop to look at the visuals. They might stop for the copy, but the image attracts them.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The creativity, the changing technology. I love watching new things that photoshop and Adobe bring out each year and the Graphic design trends. 

What’s your most outstanding achievement in your role so far?

My outstanding achievement is that we can charge more for our services as our quality improves year after year. We can help small businesses look like big businesses and help them compete online because they have professional imagery.

Every client that walks away loving how their branding looks is an achievement. It isn’t always the biggest jobs or clients that are the biggest ‘achievements’. 

Sometimes the smaller clients taking their branding seriously for the first time are the most memorable. As much as I’m creating something, I’m also educating them on my reasoning. Whenever I do this successfully, I’ve achieved something!

What’s something unique about working at Think Tank Digital Marketing?

There aren’t any competitive egos here. We are a down-to-earth, creative fun team. 

Do you want to be a graphic designer?

As the digital landscape becomes increasingly visual, graphic design is more critical than ever. People will pay for high-quality designs that stand out from all the other graphics that people are bombarded with daily. 

Think Tank Digital Marketing is a constantly growing business. 

We’re constantly growing and expanding, so if you are thinking about a career in Graphic Design, please leave your details, and when a position opens up, we’ll be more than happy to reach out.