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From Logos to a T Shirt: Graphic Design Basics

When you have a goal to demonstrate a certain process, explain complicated systems, persuade or amuse people, or sell or announce something, you have a message that needs to be communicated. How does this get done? The message could be broadcast over a loudspeaker or a radio. Or, you could let people know about it by talking to them individually. This is known as verbal communication. Using visual mediums such as typing letters, creating business logos, computer printouts, posters, or album covers, you are using visual communication which is known as graphic design.

What is a Graphic Designer?

A graphic designer works with photographed, computer-generated, painted, or drawn images. They design the typefaces used in television ads, movie credits, magazines, books, menus, and computer screens as well. They organize, choose, and create various elements including images, typography, and the surrounding white space, to communicate messages. Graphic design can be found every day from large things, such as a billboard, to small things, such as a wrapper from a piece of gum. Graphic designers also work in t-shirt design. The goal of graphic design is to stimulate, persuade, inform, organize, identify, locate, attract attention, and provide pleasure. It combines technology and art through a creative process in order to communicate various ideas. A designer uses various tools to convey these messages from their client to the intended audience but the main two tools used are typography and images.

Using Images to Communicate

Images are developed by designers as a way to make a representation of the ideas the client hopes to communicate. The images can be compelling and very powerful communication tools that not only convey the information but emotions and moods as well. A person responds to an image unconsciously based on previous experiences, associations, and their personalities. When using a design based on images, the image alone must be able to carry and convey the message in its entirety with no or very little words. The images can be graphically rendered, drawn, painted, or photographic in various ways and images are used when designers make the decision that the picture will be the best way to convey the message.

Using Typography to Communicate

There are times when graphic designers convey messages with words; however, it's not the same as the way a writer does it. To designers, not only is the meaning of the words important, but the look of the words is just as important. The visual forms of the words such as printed, perform various functions in communicating. Words can grab your attention on posters; they identify the name of a product on trucks and packages, as well as present text similar to the text found in a book. Graphic designers are professionals when it comes to presenting information on signs, packaging, or film in both print and visual forms.

Viewing ordinary text may not seem as though there is a lot of design involved, however, what would happen if someone asked you to redesign it? You could change the type size or typeface, you could divide the pages text into narrower columns, you could indent paragraphs or even begin the paragraphs with more decorative lettering, and so much more. When considering changes to text, a designer has to decide how the reader will react to the changes as they read the content. For instance, a t-shirt design with a humorous saying may come across funnier if a more colorful, fun font is used instead of a basic font such as Times New Roman. Of course, the actual words used in the text will play a role in whether the message is received as the designer intended.

T-Shirt Graphic Design

As mentioned, graphic design can be found almost everywhere, including t-shirts. T-shirt graphic design uses images, text, and in many cases, both. T-shirt graphic design can prove to be a very lucrative business. This only provides some basic t-shirt design tips but it will help give you a better understanding as to what you will need to do in order to get started. Prior to starting a business however, you will need to have original, creative t-shirt design ideas that'll spark the interest of potential customers. This means that you will need to create your own artwork. Once the designs are decided on, you will need to find a good quality, inexpensive printing company. Then you can work together to decide the best ways to get the designs printed. You may also choose to learn how to screen print and print your own. The following links will provide you with more in-depth t-shirt design tips:

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