8 Myths About Graphic Design Debunked

Janine Dueck

By 

Janine Dueck

Published 

May 4, 2022

8 Myths About Graphic Design Debunked

Graphic design is kind of like the air we breathe — you don’t realize how important it truly is until it’s absent.

While this is a pretty extreme way to refer to graphic design, we believe in the importance of this unique art form. (And it isn’t just because we are a digital media company!)

Graphic design is all around us and is one of the most powerful tools we have in this media-driven world. You see examples of design every single day. Don’t believe us? Here are just a few everyday places you witness design:

  • Your cereal box
  • Billboards on your morning commute
  • Bumper stickers on that slow driver you tail on said commute
  • Visuals on your computer when you start it up
  • The wrapper on your afternoon Taco Bell crunch wrap supreme
  • Street signs on your drive home
  • Images as you scroll through Instagram

As you can tell, this list could go on and on! Graphic design is everywhere and it is so unique in the different forms it can take. 

Okay, graphic design matters, we get it. However, sometimes we overlook the intricacies, processes, and quirks behind graphic design and its corresponding profession. Let’s take some time to debunk some of these common myths.

  1. It is quick & easy

If you aren’t familiar with a particular profession, it is all too easy to make assumptions from the outside. For example, we make take our car to the mechanic and assume the work should be done in a certain time frame and should be a piece of cake. While it is true that something like an oil change takes less time and is less complex than a complete engine rebuild, it doesn’t mean this service should be branded under an ambiguous category of “quick & easy.”

Graphic design is intricate and cannot be executed in a split second. It is a unique artwork that requires intentionality and, as Liam Neeson may put it, a specific set of skills. (maybe insert this?)

If you are looking for something quick and easy from a seasoned graphic designer, you will be hard-pressed to find that. Unless you settle for something subpar at best. This leads us to a related myth.

  1. It’s cheap

Have you ever seen a sign that says “$10 haircuts”? Well, if you’re wise, you would most likely ignore that sign like the plague. If you don’t, you can be sure of one thing: you’re probably leaving with a very interesting new hairdo!

There are many people out there who look for the best bargain. Some spend a crazy amount of time looking for the best bang for their buck possible. But the truth is if you pay a cheap price you’re going to receive a cheap product. 

Graphic design is not cheap. While there are tons of products out there that offer design pieces for cheap, they lack the thing you're paying for: the expertise of the designer.

Some designers spend thousands of dollars on formal education and training to hone their craft. Even if they are self-taught, they have still invested a ton of time into their art and abilities. You are paying for a designer’s experience, product, and one-on-one interaction as well.

You get so much more than a cool social media post when you pay for design; you get the product of a skilled designer’s work!

  1. It’s only to make things look pretty 

Another common misconception regarding graphic design is that it’s just something you incorporate to make stuff look pretty. While graphic design is powerful enough to make a boring and drab concept and bring life to it, this isn’t all that graphic design serves to do.

Behind every good design, there is clear communication of a particular message. You can have a gorgeous image, but if the image fails to convey the intended message, it doesn’t matter how wonderful it is.

Graphic design pieces, especially in digital media, serve as the middleman between the client and the consumer. They are meant to take all that the company wants to tell its audience and wraps it in a concise (and yes, often pretty) bow. 

Graphic design serves as a language of its own. Its ability to communicate (even without words) is truly powerful. 

  1. It is all about art & creativity 

Along the same lines as our last point, it is a common myth to believe graphic design is all about art and creativity. But there is much more science and formula behind graphic design. Let’s use coffee to explain this point.

When you sit down at your favorite coffee shop with your favorite lemon-vanilla latte, you receive true artwork. This latte has delicious, crafted flavors and may even be poured into an intricate tulip shape with the latte’s rich milk. (Okay, if you haven’t had your coffee yet, now is your sign!)

But before this climactic moment of pure caffeinated joy, there was a long intricate process that had to occur. First, the coffee cherries had to be harvested, treated, and transported. Next, they had to undergo a very involved roasting process. Then, they had to be ground at just the right settings, extracted at the right temperature and poured with the right flavor and milk combination. 

What does this explanation have to do with art and creativity in design? Well, it serves to show that there is so much more to a piece of art than the art itself. There is necessary training, expertise, and even science that is necessary to create said art. What you receive is only the tip of the iceberg.

Many rules and theories are essential to have in your toolbelt as a designer. When you diligently keep these principles, it makes for even more incredible design!

  1. It’s just about creating a logo design

As a graphic designer, you either totally love crafting logos or you completely hate it. Logos can be a tricky part of the design process. They must simultaneously represent your brand and translate well to your audience. They can be minimal or intricate; colorful or neutral. Whatever form they take, they are absolutely important to your overall brand. However, they are not the most important part of your digital toolkit.

Graphic design surely involves logo design but something that is almost just as important is the branding that goes along with that logo. No logo can perfectly encapsulate all that a business, church, or nonprofit offers in just a small image. Branding serves to enhance the logo and further explain the company’s mission and services.

To use a Biblical example, Jesus is to Father God as branding is to a logo. Jesus perfectly represents the image of God to the earth; He fleshes out precisely what God stands to represent. 

Branding expresses what the logo stands to represent. The two are cohesively intertwined into one another and without one of these two, the fullness of the message can’t be communicated fully!

  1. You need to be naturally creative 

Creativity is absolutely a gift, but it is also a craft. While it is true that some people are born with the ability to create without a second thought, this does not mean that creativity cannot be something you learn and cultivate.

When someone says that they are just “not creative” they aren’t seeing the full picture. While not everyone is a Picasso or Michelangelo, every single person is uniquely creative. We believe all humans are naturally creative in their own right; that creativity just plays out differently from person to person. 

How do we know this? Because every single person on the planet was created by the ultimate Creator. God, in His infinite wisdom and creativity, fashioned you together in your mother’s womb. He put you together in a way that is completely different from every other person in the world. You were created to create. But that creativity doesn’t always translate to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and that is okay!

For some, it will take time to tap into that creativity. For honing in on graphic design skills specifically, there are so many different resources you can build expertise through. These don’t just give you new skills, but they awaken the very creative nature God has already instilled in you!

  1. It’s only about trends

Every year, New York fashion week showcases the latest style from the big names in the industry like Gucci, Versace, Tom Ford, and others. This event serves to show us the trends in high fashion and sets the standard for style. But in the life of an everyday person, we rarely gauge our entire wardrobe from these fashion gurus.

In graphic design, it is a myth to believe that the trends are the only parts of design that matter. While they may claim all the fame and glory, they are not the only design that exists. That is just like saying your $15 Target t-shirt can’t qualify as clothing because it’s not Gucci!

While trends can serve to guide design work, they are not the end all be all. Breaking from the typical trends may be one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd! 

  1. It is just about the visuals

The last myth we have about graphic design is that it is merely a visual thing. While graphic design is inherently visual by nature, there are so many other characteristics that are incorporated into this artwork. 

In videos especially, the combination of auditory sounds and visual elements brings a unique harmony to graphic design. The use of movement, sound, and music has a completely different effect on your brain than a mere static image. 

On this note, design can be highly emotionally engaging. Depending on the type of design, the message may bring up different emotions based on the associations you make from the image itself. Design can make you feel joyful, nostalgic, melancholy, enraged, and so many more emotions.

When you can reach the viewer on more than just a visual level, graphic design has the power to be so much more than a cool image!

There we have it — a few of the biggest myths surrounding graphic design. What myths would you add to our list?

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