Why graphic art is a fundamental element of technology today

Graphic art is essential in the ever-developing world of technology, says Haydn S. Adams, President of the Graphic Artists Guild.

In 1996, the director of MIT’s media lab, Nicholas Negroponte, wrote the book Being Digital. The book was a series of articles put together from his column in Wired magazine. In the book, he talks about the need for the job market to shift their skills into the digital market. Back in 1996, I read the book in its physical, tangible goodness. I also read Wired magazine monthly, always anxiously awaiting the glossy-paged periodical to be inserted into my physical mailbox.

Fast forward to 2011. I recently re-read the book and still currently read Wired. However, this time around there are no pages to turn, no dust jackets to lose. In fact, I downloaded both wirelessly on a device that, until ten months ago, didn’t even exist.

Technology changes by the minute, and it is continually growing and expanding, bringing with it the need for countless jobs. I’m now starting to design interactive magazines for the iPad, much like Wired magazine. That industry didn’t exist six months ago.

The evolving world of the graphic designer

“The field of web design is constantly changing. Yes, design-basic websites will always be around, but a split is happening”

Another new industry has been created to meet the demands of the evolving digital market: UX Design, or User e(X)perience design. This field, while new, is one of the most important in today’s world. UX design is the study and design of how users navigate digital media. Think about how many apps you’ve used on your iPhone or Blackberry. Did you at all stop to read the manual on how to use them? That’s UX design.

It’s essentially the study of how a user operates an interface. The knowledge of graphic design is inherently paramount. In fact, good graphic design knowledge is the foundry in which UX design is built upon.

The field of web design is constantly changing. Yes, design-basic websites will always be around, but a split is happening. Today, modern day websites are built in two (if not more) languages: HTML & CSS. HTML is still the brick and mortar of the web, and it is essential to learn if you are going into any digitally-related field. If HTML was the foundation of a house, CSS code is what you decorate your walls with. The CSS is where all of the design takes place; from what colour your background will be, to what size and style your font is on your page. All of the controls stem from the CSS. When you are looking for a web design related field, look for whether the college or university offers classes in both languages.

In the world of media, arts and design, the key is to be flexible while creative. Standards change, systems get upgraded and new products will be revealed. However, it is still essential to know the basics of design. Good grids, along with excellent typography, will excel you forward in any arts endeavor you choose. Just remember to have fun, as this is one of the most exciting, challenging, yet extremely rewarding careers out there today.

Haydn S. Adams
Graphic Artists Guild