What Do Graphic Designers Do?

What do graphic designers do? A lot more than you think. Here are some of the most important graphic design services to help you understand this profession.

Graphic Design
Graphic Design

Table of Contents

What do graphic designers do? Spoiler alert: a lot more than you think. Graphic design is an integral part of branding and marketing, and so graphic designers play a vital role in the success of any business. Harness the power of graphic design by learning what graphic designers can create for you.

By definition, graphic design is the creation of visual assets that convey messages to a certain intended audience. As you might expect, there’s more than one way to do this.

From a landing page to packaging design, every graphic design project is created for a specific purpose and intended for a specific audience. In that sense, it’s different from some forms of visual art (which are created for “everyone”).

So, what do graphic designers create? We’ll list some of the biggest graphic design categories and the design projects that belong in them.

Brand design

The look of your brand is almost as important as the idea behind it. If you can’t find a way to visually communicate your brand’s value proposition, values, and identity, you won’t be able to connect with the right target audience. As a result, your business will fail to make money and become sustainable in the long term.

When it comes to branding design, most of us think of a logo. But there’s more to it than that. Here are some key components of branding design that designers need to create:

  • Logo: A professionally designed logo is the cornerstone of a successful brand identity. It’s a single visual element that reflects a brand’s values, mission, and target audience.
  • Logo variations: Graphic designers can also create variations of a logo, such as a monochrome version, or a brand mark, which is a simplified version of a logo often used in app logo design, or with smaller spaces.
  • Typography: Not everyone needs custom typography, but it’s usually required if you want to use a relatively simple wordmark for a logo to ensure it’s unique and memorable.
  • Color palette: A brand’s color palette will be used in designs across the board, from simple advertising materials to a website.
  • Brand guide: Graphic designers tasked with creating a brand identity will always create brand guidelines that include details and instructions on how to design graphics for this brand - what colors, typography, images to use, how to use a logo, etc.
  • Business cards and stationery: Creating any type of print materials requires a lot of technical knowledge that an amateur designer usually lacks.
brand design 1.png
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Advertising design

Creating graphics for advertising purposes is of course closely related to creating the look of a brand, however, a skilled designer knows these tasks often need to be approached differently.

A professional designer knows what’s the right size for a Facebook, or a YouTube banner, and they also understand other technical aspects such as printing practices (the most basic example of this are the color mixing modes, CMYK and RGB, which are used for print and digital designs respectively).

Finally, although they’re not in charge of copywriting, graphic designers must understand how to incorporate textual messages into ads for maximum impact.

So what do graphic designers create for advertising? Here are some of the most common projects:

  • Display ads (banner ads): Digital ads come in all shapes and sizes and sizes, so it’s wise to have a professional create graphics for every type of use.
  • Social media posts and ads: Social media can be an incredibly effective marketing tool, because of its refined targeting options. However, in a sea of visually striking content, you can only stand out with truly extraordinary graphic design. - Fliers, brochures, pamphlets: For some industries, print advertising is anything but dead! It’s the job of a graphic designer to ensure your print collateral is both visually appealing and informative to entice people to keep and, hopefully, act on your promotional materials.
  • Video ads: Motion graphics and animated videos are a popular way to create engaging videos without expensive recording equipment.
  • Billboards, car wraps: Offline advertising still plays a big part in some industries. Professional designers know how to create graphics for any context or purpose.
  • Merchandise: T-shirts, bags, stickers, cups, badges, and more - you can place stunning branded graphics on virtually anything, and boost your brand’s visibility.

Of course, great copywriting is one very effective way to create a successful ad campaign. But with a great concept and a talented graphic designer, your ads might need little to no text to send a very clear message.

Website design

You might now need a developer to get your website up and running. But you should also know that before a developer can get to work, you need the help of a web designer.

Web design is one of the most complex areas of graphic design. It encompasses two key disciplines: user interface design (the look of your website) and user experience design (creating the context and rules for visitors to engage with the website). However, the graphic design career is usually called UX/UI designer and entails both of these.

What software do graphic designers use for web design? It depends on the specific project at hand. They can use design tools like Illustrator or Photoshop to work on the details of specific graphics, specific web design software like Adobe XD or Sketch to create pages, or wireframing tools like Justinmind to create the rough draft and logic of a website.

So, what do graphic designers create for websites? Here are some examples:

  • Landing pages: Whether it’s for a new product or a limited-time offer, carefully crafted landing pages will provide information and entice visitors to take action.
  • Mobile-responsive design: Half of the world’s internet traffic comes from mobile devices. So, if you only have a desktop version of your website it’s high time you hired a designer to help you create a mobile responsive version.
  • CTA buttons: The color and design of a call-to-action button can significantly impact conversion rates. A skilled designer can also create several variations that can be tested to figure out what works best.
  • Ecommerce pages: Shopping pages are often
  • Business websites: Homepage, products, team - all of these are separate web pages that should create one coherent professional website.
  • Icons: Although they can be used virtually anywhere, simple icons are most commonly used to enhance a website’s user experience. They provide familiar visual cues for users to take the required action.


When thinking about the question “what do graphic designers do” many tend to forget about packing design. Even the simplest clingfilm package usually contains a label that was created by a professional graphic designer.

However, packaging design goes much further than that. According to Ipsos research, 72% of Americans say packaging impacts their purchasing decisions.

But while visual appeal is critical, packaging designers need to consider several other factors, such as:

  • Materials: Liquids can’t be packed in the same type of materials as shoes. Packaging designers must consider how their graphics will be reproduced on an appropriate material.
  • Context: Products of mass consumption need to stand out on packed shelves, among dozens of competitors. That’s why more prestigious products often have simpler packaging that suggests exclusivity (e.g. the simple black design of Chanel makeup products).
  • Production: Although it’s not the designer’s job to worry about the costs of production, they should at least understand why and how different design choices (color, materials, etc.) will impact production costs.


Illustration is a very specific field of graphic design that not all designers specialize in (for example a UX/UI designer probably won’t be the most experienced illustrator). Illustrations can be found in an array of different styles, from modern and minimalist isometric illustrations to photorealistic illustrations (illustrations so realistic that they look like photos), there is something to fit almost any style.

If you want an illustrated logo design, you should probably look for an illustrator, rather than a logo designer, as the latter might be able to combine elements into a successful logo, but not necessarily provide good, original illustrations themselves.

What types of illustrations can designers specialize in? Here are some popular types:

  • Line drawing: This type of illustration is created using simple lines to convey the shape, form, and texture of an object or scene.
  • Vector graphics: These illustrations are made up of points, lines, and curves that can be easily resized without losing quality. They are commonly used for logos, icons, and illustrations that require crisp, clean lines.
  • Digital painting: This type of digital illustration mimics traditional painting techniques such as watercolor or oil painting. Artists use a digital brush and palette to create realistic or stylized paintings.
  • 3D modeling: 3D illustrations are created using specialized software to build and manipulate 3D objects and environments. They are often used for product design, architecture, and animation.
  • Pixel art: Pixel art is a style of illustration that uses small, colored squares to create images with a retro, video game-inspired aesthetic.
  • Motion graphics: This type of digital illustration combines graphics and animation to create dynamic and engaging videos. It is often used for explainer videos, advertisements, and social media content.
  • Watercolor: Watercolor illustrations are created using water-based paints that produce soft, fluid lines and a translucent quality. This style is often used for children's books and greeting cards.
  • Cartoon: Cartoons are often used to tell a story or convey a message in a humorous or satirical way. They are typically characterized by exaggerated features and simplified shapes.
  • Technical: Technical illustrations are used to explain complex machinery, architecture, or scientific concepts. They are often highly detailed and precise, with a focus on accuracy and clarity.


Every single typeface we use in print and digital design was created by a graphic designer. Though a layperson might not see a huge difference between two similar fonts, creating a typeface requires meticulous attention to detail, and making all sorts of specifications to ensure that fonts have a consistent and unified appearance.

What software do graphic designers use for creating typefaces? You can use design programs like Adobe Illustrator, or even InDesign. However, to create professional custom fonts (and save them for future use) you’ll need specific fonts, such as FontLab, Glyphs, and FontForge.

What to include in your scope of service contract

Now that you know the answer to the question “what do graphic designers” do, it’s time to talk about actually collaborating with a designer.

Whether you’re hiring or looking for work as a graphic designer, before starting a project everyone should be clear about the scope of responsibilities this creative professional will have.

For example, creating marketing materials with a brand guide in place is completely different than coming up with different ads for several different brands in various industries.

Here are some key things to include in your scope of service agreement.

Creative brief

Employers are the ones who write creative briefs. Some people will know how to do it well, others won’t. However, it’s important to note that any deadlines set will depend on the final approval of the brief.

It’s the job of the graphic designer, however, to ask additional questions in order to fill in the missing information. In that case, the whole process will be pushed back and the agreed deadline for the final result has to correspond.

Scope of work - SOW

This includes the responsibilities of both the designer and the employer. For example, the designer might have to do competitor research before starting a big project like devising a brand image. On the other hand, the employer could choose to do this themselves, to reduce the number of billable hours.

Apart from specifying what do graphic designers do in the scope of work (create a logo, social media graphics, packaging concepts), it’s also critical to specify what isn’t included. Commonly, this might be:

  • Proofreading
  • Copywriting
  • Trademark clearance (in case the design requires a trademarked element)
  • Purchase of design assets (stock photos, fonts, etc.)


Like any other creative process, design is sometimes impossible to predict. But professional designers and graphic design firms know how important it is to keep their clients informed about the work. At the end of a working day, designers should generally provide an ETA (estimated time of completion) for ongoing projects.

Next, both parties must be clear on what software do graphic designers use in their collaboration. Apart from finished projects, designers usually provide source files, but if their clients don’t have the required program to open the file, this can be a problem.

Similarly, if you hire someone to help your own design team, the design software used on both sides should be compatible so that any changes made can be seen and adopted by everyone.

Schedule and deliverables

While the previous point relates to how work is done, this one refers to when it is done. Again, sometimes it can be difficult to give an exact estimate of when the work will be finished.

But setting a completion deadline, a limit on the number of hours worked, revisions, or what exact deliverables need to be provided in the course of a project is a good way to keep everyone on track.

One service for all your graphic designs

We hope this sheds some light on just how broad graphic designing really is. While your business can’t survive without professional design, finding the person with the right skill set can be tiresome.

Moreover, if you don’t have the budget to hire a design agency or an in-house design team, you may end up spending a lot more than you plan when working with freelancers on a per-project basis.

However, there’s a budget-friendly solution that covers virtually any design project you need - ManyPixels unlimited design service. From branding to web design, our team of experienced professionals can take care of any request. Best part? You always pay the same affordable monthly price. No contracts, no hassle!

Find more about the service here, or go ahead and book a free consultation with one of our reps. We’d be happy to hear about your needs and tell you how we can help!

What do graphic designers do? A lot more than you think. Here are some of the most important graphic design services to help you understand this profession.

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