Communication design is a mixed discipline between design and information-development which is concerned with how media intervention such as printed, crafted, electronic media or presentations communicate with people. Some designers use graphic design and communication design interchangeably due to overlapping skills.
Communication design seeks to attract, inspire and motivate people to respond to messages. It aims to make a favorable impact. And this impact can be to the bottom line of the client. This be either to build a brand or move sales. It can also change behaviours, promote a message or explain information.
Why is it important?
The term communication design is often used interchangeably with visual communication, but has an alternative broader meaning that includes auditory, vocal, touch and smell. Examples include information architecture, editing, typography, illustration, web design, animation, advertising, ambient media, visual identity design, performing arts, copywriting and professional writing skills applied in the creative industries.
The process involves strategic business thinking, using market research, creativity, problem-solving, and technical skills and knowledge. Elements such as colour theory, page layout, typography and creating visual hierarchies are also important. Communications designers translate ideas and information through a variety of media. Yet their talents lie not only in the traditional skills. It is also their ability to think strategically in design and marketing terms. This in turn helps to establish credibility and influence audiences through the communication.
The responsibility of a communication designer is to develop the relationship between the viewer and visuals. Most important will be the message that needs to be communicated. Then they will work out how to strategically engage the viewer. It is important to capture the viewer’s attention first. Then also keep in mind how the psychology behind design elements (colour, fonts, imagery) affect the viewer’s mood. The ultimate aim is to create designs that communicate a message faster than words can. More importantly it is to ensure that the messaging is also clear and compelling.
So in essence communication design would make use of visuals that strategically express information. The rapid advancements in technology simply means that graphic design becomes even more important. When done well, audiences often aren’t even aware of all the information they were able to gather from just one visual.
Examples of communication design:
- Graphic design
- Data visualisation
- UX and UI design
- Art and illustrations
- Visual identity
- Writing and editing