Getting beyond graphic design

Mark Busse – No Comments

While so much time and energy in a design education is spent on developing “graphic” skills, it is the ability to think BEYOND mere aesthetics that makes a designer successful. It’s unfortunate that clients often don’t understand or respect “graphic designers” for what they do and often think our role is merely to make things pretty like decoration. A group of working designers recently decided this was not an acceptable reality and proposed a debate and review of the professional title of “graphic designer” within the global graphic design community on a site called

They suggest that we replace the term entirely with the far more relevant and accurate title “Communication Designer”, reflecting the modern reality that, as professionals, we make contributions that go far beyond “graphics” and delve deeply into the worlds of communication, psychology and often multi-media to help communicate our clients messages. Communication designers use methodological, solutions-oriented processes to research, evaluate, conceptualize and develop real-world visual language strategies and solutions for real-world business problems.

There has actually been a trend towards adopting this term in design circles and curriculae in recent years, so perhaps their cries have been heard. Either way, it’s a very interesting topic worthy of more discourse. What do you think? Is “Graphic Designer” an outdated title only leading to misunderstanding in the business communities where we ply our trade? Let us know what you think.