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Design services

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#Branding

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Design services

#ManyPixels

#Branding

What Does A Designer Do: Scope of Graphic Design Services

April 21, 2021
7 MINUTES
Danica_Popovic.png
Danica Popovic

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If you tend to equate graphic design with drawing, then this guide will help you understand what a professional graphic designer does—and why you might need to hire one.

Graphic design has many definitions (and famously quoted designers gave some good ones), but the simplest way to explain it is that it’s the creation of visual assets that communicate ideas or certain messages to a certain group.

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 than some forms of visual art (which are created for “everyone”).

So, let’s dive right in and look at everything graphic designers do.

Brand design

Whether it’s corporate or small business branding, you need a professional designer to create the look of your brand.

In the first place, this means a logo that will communicate your brand’s mission and values in a visual way. On the basis of that, a graphic designer has to create a color palette, typography, additional visual elements such as icons or illustrations that can be used for any visual asset belonging to the brand.

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This is a huge task that usually takes a designer several weeks (if not months to finish). If done properly, however, it means you will end up with a complete brand guide. This document is an indispensable asset, as it helps anyone you might work with in the feature (freelancer, design agencies, marketers) know how to create graphics that adequately reflect your brand.

brand design 1.png

brand design 2.jpg

brand design 3.jpg By Pharus Bright Design, Patricia Clarckson and Cris Inoue

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 LinkedIn ad, 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).

Next, target audience awareness is most important in these types of design. For example, from the technical skills required to create a post, a professional designer needs to know the relevant social media trends, and understand the key objectives of a campaign.

Creating things like display ads and web banners can really put designers on a test: understanding basic principles such as balance, contrast and rhythm will help them create ads that perform effectively.

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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.

ad design 2.jpg By Illusion CGI Studio

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.

There is no doubt that having a professional website is a must.

Creating websites requires a set of specific design skills, including the knowledge of particular computer software like Adobe XD or Sketch, which is used for creating web pages.

Web design consists of UX and UI design, or user experience and user interface. In other words, the look and feel of your website. This is a highly sought-after design skill since it requires both the technical knowledge of relevant software and experience in similar projects. For that reason, UX/UI designers are usually paid more, with a median salary of about $40 per hour.

web design.png By Dhemie Seguerra

Packaging

Have you ever picked something up at a shop because of appealing packaging? Well, you’ve got a talented graphic designer to thank for that.

Packaging designers need to understand the brand and target audience but also need to have technical knowledge of materials used in packaging (for example, many contemporary designs focus on sustainable or recycled packaging, which might mean a different set of design challenges).

packaging design.jpg By Mireldy

packaging design 2.jpg By Tainá Ceccato Julie Frank and Kreatives Co

Illustration

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.

illustration design 1.png By Darya Semanova

illustration design 3.png By John Macleod

illustration design 2.jpg By Martin Dimovski

Typography

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.

type design 1.jpg By Brent McCormick

type design 2.jpg By Outer Studio

Where do graphic designers work

There’s definitely no shortage of graphic designer jobs, although the competition for the same position can be rather high. That also might be the reason why around 40% of designers quit the profession after two years. Here are some more eye-opening stats about the industry:

  • About 90% of designers are freelancers
  • Only a third are hired as in-house designers
  • The median pay for graphic designers in 2019 was $25.05 per hour
  • The print sector registered a 22% decline from 2018 to 2019
  • Digital categories grew by 24% in 2019

In other words, specialized skills in creating print designs might not be that worthwhile in case you’re not able to make awesome computer graphics as well. And if you’re a company looking for quality talent, be sure to check out freelancing platforms for potential candidates: it’s where most designers are!

Find out how and where to outsource your graphic design needs

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What to include in your scope of service contract

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

Writing the design brief is the job of the employer. 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. Sometimes, a designer will need 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 a 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 is included in the designer’s 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.)

Workflow

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, it’s absolutely essential that both parties are clear on what design programs are used to create projects. 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, it’s preferable that the design software used on both sides is 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.


In case you are still on the search for your next graphic design partner, make sure to check out what we do at ManyPixels! From branding to web design, we can take care of all your graphic design needs for an affordable monthly rate!

Check out what you can create with ManyPixels!

Check out what you can
create with ManyPixels!

Check out what you can create with
ManyPixels!

Download our design library to see our latests creations: illustrations, brand guides, ads, logos and much more!

Download our design library to see our latests
creations: illustrations, brand guides, ads, logos
and much more!

Download our design library to see our latests creations: illustrations, brand guides, ads, logos and much more!

Danica_Popovic.png

Danica Popovic

April 21, 2021

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.