Graphic designer

The term graphic artist (from Greek γραφική [ τέχνη ], graphics [ téchne ], " the art of writing to draw, to paint ,") refers to both application areas within the applied arts and the visual arts. As a graphic artist who primarily with funds from the artistic graphics by hand works ( hand drawing, etching, woodcut, etc. ), and (often hand individually signed and numbered) whose works across relatively small numbers or appear to be unique, most of the visual arts is attributed, is a graphic artist who creatively with text and images works primarily with the computer in combination, and whose works are mostly commercial purposes and appear in relatively large contact, rather the use of art, ie the so-called applied arts, associate. In the wake of media development and the expansion of the concept art since the late 20th century, the transitions between two graphic groups are now fluent.


The origins of the graphic profession (in the sense of today's applied arts ) are chronologically at the end of the Renaissance. With the development of the printing press came craft -intensive activities such as manuscript illumination and calligraphy in the background. Quick the need to design the printed signature and a printing technology adapted compilation of text and image is detected. The direct precursor to the graphic artists were therefore also the typesetter. This often designed the layout and thus made ​​creative designs and specifications for a harmonious interplay of print space, typography and images. Certain graphical work such as designing logos or emblems up to the production of typefaces and font stereotypes were also performed by typesetters.


With the emergence of the consumer industry and lithography as industrial printing technology ( forerunner of today's offset printing ) developed in the late 19th century a special form of the graphic, the graphic designer, who was first known as a billboard painter. In the further course of technological development, the professional branch of the so-called commercial artists began to emerge who worked mainly in and for printing.

Later it emerged publishing houses and advertising agencies who prescribed mainly for the book and advertising design. Thus the profession of graphic designer is changed again. Classically, many graphic designers have had in the 1950s also free artists (painters, illustrators and designers ), which, trained their students, the later graphic artist in their own studios. Also, a previously completed training as a typesetter or printer in the form of an apprenticeship or work placement was common.

The development went on to the graphic designer who has now replaced the commercial artist of the old school. This change is also reflected in the name of the Professional Association BDG, which was founded in 1919 as the Federation of German commercial artist and graphic designer named German Confederation from 1968. 2009 changed its name to the BDG Professional Association of German communications designer.

In professional fields, working almost exclusively on the computer today.


The professional graphic design offered at various universities and colleges as a course with the diploma and diploma ( FH) or even as a bachelor's or master 's degree. The term "designer" but is in contrast to academic degrees such as Diploma Designer or Diploma Designer ( FH) or the like. not protected.

In recent years, a variety of public and private schools that offer a "designer education " emerged - many of them also in the graphic area, which is why these degrees will be understood also as a graphic designer. The training is not uniform. It usually takes three years. In Switzerland, the training will be done in both advertising agencies and graphic design studios in the apprenticeship or in graphics specialist classes at schools of design (so-called dual training model). The training lasts for 4 years and ends with the attainment of the Federal capability testimony EFZ ( State- protected title ).

The graphic designer is now called the communication designer and is consistent both with its customers and with the exporting printing or advertising material manufacturers in close contact.

Fields of activity

  • Conception and design of print products ( flyers, posters, brochures, catalogs, etc.), but also monitor-based online and offline designs as well as other multi -media advertising, teaching and visual aids
  • Design
  • Layout
  • Print set
  • Typography
  • Illustration ( mostly digital )
  • Image processing ( digital photo retouching, photo composition, etc.)
  • Prepress (even contact pressure or pressure monitoring)
  • Webdesign
  • Screen Design
  • Animation

Work areas

  • Corporate Design
  • Photo Design or Photography
  • Communication Design
  • Grid systems
  • Signage
  • Packaging Design

In the classical field (usually by hand)

  • Woodcut, etching, lithography, inter alia, artistic printing process
  • Illustration ( book and press illustration )
  • Artistic Drawing ( Art Gallery free )


  • Alliance of German Designers
  • Art Directors Club
  • Professional Association of German communications designer
  • Professional Association of Swiss Graphic Designers
  • Design austria - Austria knowledge and information center for design work and advocacy
  • Swiss graphic Association


  • Designers Digest
  • Design Report
  • Form: Journal of Design
  • Novelty
  • PAGE