Implications and Impact of Graphic Design

A graphic designer is always aware of the formal beauty or aesthetic value, functionality, communicability or utilitarian value, and semiotic value of the meaning of a design at an intuitive level. However, a professionally trained graphic designer uses these components with knowledge and in a more sophisticated way.

Aesthetics has always been associated with artistic activities, like in graphic design, the way the individual elements are organized within a compositional space to achieve organic unity, like dots, lines, colors, and shapes are all part of its design that create the desired look or expression that the creator tries to fulfill.

We are often amazed by certain ornamentation being drawn or incised on a mud pot or a water container, yet these marks may not have any bearing on the functionality of the object, but plays a role in the overall visual appeal. Sensory perceptions not only have a passive decorative purpose but have other key functions to serve – they are handy tools of attraction, desire generation in a competitive market place. In the contemporary world of retail marketing, for instance, beauty and visual appeal, styling goes a long way in giving a particular product an edge over the others.

 Also, the overall look or styling of a particular product or service goes a long way in determining its socio-economic placement-the economic strata that the product or service caters to. So the sensory appeal plays an important role in the creation of brand identity.

Teleological or functional concerns are at the core of any design choice as far as the user is concerned. The user will not accept a design if it does not serve the purpose. For example, a poster design is supposed to make an impact even from a distance. If the user has to go close to the poster for reading and understanding a message then the user will not accept such a design. A graphic designer has to build the hierarchy of slogans, captions, and other textual matter while designing a poster.

The main message or slogan should be prominently visible from the desired distance. It should have an impressive typeface with a large size. Secondary, captions can have medium size fonts while there can be a reading text in the small typeface. The user can always go closer to the poster and go through the details if he/she wants to know more about the message. Similarly, a graphic designer should build a visual hierarchy of images, illustrations, and other visuals to supplement the desired impact of a poster. 

This applies to all types of graphic designs. Similarly, the semiotic qualities of a design, such as a theme or a poetic idea behind the design make it meaningful for the user. Users are attracted to a good design because many times it appeals to some socio-cultural concern. At times the design has a historical value, a ritualistic value, or a traditional value. If a design carries certain features from a particular tradition then the user familiar with that tradition will have empathy for the design. For example, one can see features of Warli paintings, style of expression among the Warli tribe of Maharashtra, in modern designs such as greeting cards, lampshades, costumes, etc. People having an affinity for the Warli style will be attracted to the design.

Therefore, these three components — aesthetics, teleology, and semiotics are complementary to each other. Design is a  tool, a tool in the hands of a designer to fulfill certain specific needs or to reach specific target audiences. And to do that one of the minimum criterions’ that it has to achieve is to communicate, communicate with the target user at large. 

This is possible with the appropriate integration of aesthetics, teleology, and semiotics. Most of the time, the integration or blending of aesthetics, teleology, and semiotics in a design is seamless. It is very difficult to isolate these three forms from each other. The common user or the target audience is unaware of these three because their blend produces a tremendous impact on them and the user never notices it. Strategic use of graphic design as a popular media often promote certain ideologies. It points to the persuasive potential of communication strategies designed by the best brains and best graphic designers. The seamless blending of aesthetics, teleology, and semiotics take full advantage of a selection of corporate spokespersons, visual logos, audio jingles, catchy slogans, the style and pace of commercials, special technical effects, editing conventions, product packaging, and the melding of prints and electronic media, to name several central factors that are combined to generate the desired result.

 Social mediation talks about how mass media representations are recognized, interpreted, edited, and used in an audience member’s social construction of daily life. This is a very common occurrence in our social interactions while we often use media infested slogans and imageries. To a great extent, media is generating ideas that are purely hypothetical. However, society starts believing in them and try to manifest them in real life. Media is no more a reflection of society. On the other hand, many things in society are reflections of media imagery.

Graphic Design enters into even the most unexpected of domains body and health. We uncritically talk about the healthy and perfect body and pass of the desirable as something natural with pretensions of scientific objectivity when in reality it is designed a look into the history of the body will be a testimony to the fact that what is desirable as “perfect” or healthy or beautiful has been a variable from culture.

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