Judea Faith


Not just 'Pretty but Dumb'

Writers write, publishers publish, producers produce, so designers design?

The role of graphic designers has always been one that is almost impossible to define and challenging to understand. To the mass, our profession has often been associated with frivolous visual luxury that is ‘pretty but dumb’. This common misconception about graphic design has led many to believe that our expertise is easily replaceable; by machines, artificial intelligence or softwares. Anyone who has photoshop can easily include the role of a ‘graphic designer’ in their resume. How convenient! How inaccurate. We are more than ‘beautifiers’ of the world. We are the authors, producers, and thinkers, of our generation.


Design practice today requires the intellectual power of a think tank and the turnaround capacity of a quickie-printer
— Lorraine Wild

Truth to be told, our tech-saturated climate has carelessly replaced many of us in various areas of the creative industry. Today, you can get your very own ‘designed logo’ within minutes at half the price, simply by punching a couple of company information into an online smart generator. So where does our value reside? They lie in the intangible facets of design. Ideation, conceptualization, analytical research, the crafting of strategy — all that only comes along with a certain depth of understanding and the accumulation of experience, exposure, passion, and grit.

In this case, branding is more than logo generation, but the art of perception management. Brands today are increasingly conscious of public perception as it constitutes their ‘brand image’. This is where they look towards creatives and brand strategist to give them a distinct voice and a strong visual identity. Designers assume the role of behavioral researchers to understand the target audience, strategist to interpret that data into innovative tactics, and visualist that translates these values into tangible outcomes.

With this understanding, we now know that graphic designers are both authors of content and form. We can take up multiple roles and put on different hats whenever the situation calls for it. As visual authors, we seek to collaborate with readers to inspire conversations and further influence their responses. We produce, you interpret.

This post was inspired by an absolutely brilliant publication that I chanced upon titled 'Graphic Design: Now In Production'. I highly recommend EVERYONE to get your hands on this book and devour it because trust me it will completely change your (design) life.

Images taken from http://emilolsson.com/archive/sagmeisterwalsh.com

Judea Faith