Graphic artist's, what are they ?
Who do you hire ?

First and foremost to remember is you are hiring an artist, one whose work you like one assumes :) but a few things to remember

Know who you are hiring for what task, as we are not all the same.

As a run down, here is what to look for, depending on what you want created, and on art in general

Graphic designer: general definition ... is a form of visual communication using text and/or images to present information, or promote a message

These are all forms of "Graphic designers" depending on what your after ( Definitions thanks to Wikipedia ) with modifications by yours truly

Marketing Communications: Those who practice advertising, branding, direct marketing, graphic design, marketing, packaging, promotion, publicity, public relations, sales, sales promotion and online marketing ( Logo or trade marks, labels etc. would come under this heading )

Communication Design: is a sub discipline of design which is concerned with printed, crafted, electronic media or presentations that communicate with people. A communication design approach is more concerned with messages communicated than aesthetics. The distinction between communication design and other applied arts is in the motivation: while the communication design process does involve a certain amount of self-expression and creativity, the goals are often those of the commissioning body, rather than the artist's. ( This is who you want, if you want a thing just thus and so, with little imput from the artist )

Instructional Design: Instructional design, also known as instructional systems design, is the analysis of learning needs and systemic development of instruction. Instructional designers often use instructional technology as a method for developing instruction. Instructional design models typically specify a method, that if followed, will facilitate the transfer of knowledge, skills and attitude to the recipient or acquirer of the instruction. ( meaning the makers of training manuals, text books and the like )

Information design: Information design is the design of visual displays of data. It is defined as the art and science of preparing information so that it can be used by human beings with efficiency and effectiveness ( sign and bill board creators would be under this heading )

Illustrator: An Illustration is a visualization such as drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that stresses subject more than form. The aim of an illustration is to decorate a story, poem or piece of textual information (such as a newspaper articles, book covers ), traditionally by providing a visual representation of something described in the text.

Web design: ( my own definition here ) is NOT an art skill in of itself ... even though a great many artist skills are used, as the look of page ( the art part) is useless without functionality, so a web designer must have the skills to make it functional in the web world. So "art" skills are secondary. Looks must balance with indexability and form.

Digital art, which is mainly what I do, even though I also do many of the above.. :) as many of us do, overlaps from one "field" to another being common, but our "specialties" may vary

Digital art: is art created on a computer in digital form. Digital art can be purely computer generated, such as fractals, or taken from another source, such as a scanned photograph, or an image drawn using vector graphics software using a mouse. Reserved for art that has been modified by a computing process (such as a computer program, micro controller or any electronic system capable of interpreting an input to create an output )

Using electronic versions of brushes, filters and enlargers, these "Neographers" produce images unattainable through conventional photographic tools. In addition, digital artists may manipulate scanned drawings, paintings, collages or lithographs, as well as using any of the above mentioned techniques in combination. Artists also use many other sources of information and programs to create their work.

3D graphics are created via the process of designing complex imagery from geometric shapes, polygons or NURBS curves to create realistic 3 dimensional shapes, objects and scenes for use in various media such as film, television, print, rapid prototyping and the special visual effects. There are many software programs for doing this.

The mainstream media uses a lot of digital art in advertisements, and computers are used extensively in film to produce special effects. Desktop publishing has had a huge impact on the publishing world, although that is more related to graphic design.

Nonetheless, digital art is yet to gain the acceptance and regard reserved for "serious" art forms such as sculpture, painting and drawing, perhaps due to the erroneous impression of many that "the computer does it for you" and the suggestion that the image created could be infinitely repeatable.

Short comment here on digital art in general:

It's a shame the "art community", defines "art" as a thing that is one of a kind and cannot be reproduced and therefore there is an "original". One must recall the "art" world said the same thing about photography when it first came out.. :) And very few would dare say now that photography is not a real art form, even though one can reproduce a photograph endlessly.

So we need a new definition of the word Art that has nothing to do with there being one and only one, as being the only viable art form. This idea has been forced on the digital art world, to the point where many digital artists are deleting the file once a work is printed, so there is only one, to increase its value. Which is not really workable, as its easy to scan that same image and reproduce it, so wiping the file is not really productive and if anything happens to the print, their work is gone. Its ease of reproduction is its saving grace, in that it never need be lost , as long as the file remains.

Another is their life span, with current reproduction processes, a print of a digital work can last over a 100 years before it starts to fade and that's the same thing that can be said of oil paintings, so the arguments against the form are more a matter of perception of its "value" ie, its cost, not its artistic quality. To demand that a piece be a unique artwork, in the fact there are no other copies, is an effort to force up its price, due to rarity, not the quality of the work. I have seen many a painting on sale for high high prices, that to me were dreadful, but they command such a price as there is only one of them. Which is all well and good, however ....

To me the idea of an art form that anyone can own a copy of does not decrease its value in terms of its artistic quality, it only means that anyone can own a copy. And prints are nothing new, it's how I have "Starry Starry Night" by Van Gouge on my wall, the original of the work might be worth millions but its hanging in a museum. Whereas the print I have cost me 30.00 to buy and its been hanging up there for years, to my great enjoyment, and if it ever fades out on me, I can always replace it.

Art in a form for the whole world to share, makes a lot more sense to me. If I can have a print of a masterpiece hanging on my bedroom wall, why the demand that there be no copies of my work for it to have value ? We must change our perceptions on what is "serious" art, and not allow the "art community", who has a great deal invested in maintaining the current definition, to define it for us. Art should not be defined solely by its price tag, but its beauty and form.

A word more here about hiring an artist, you cannot "force" art, not even for the Communication Designer, who mainly creates your idea on the page, hard deadlines are another bad idea, as art is ... well, art ... it flows or doesn't, some days you have it nailed and the ideas just roll, other days you don't and expecting a creative process to roll out like a copy machine is not being realistic. 

Trying to force an artist is counterproductive to your intentions, if you like their style, then trust them to create your concept. We cannot see inside your head to the idealized form you have in mind, unless you are very good with words and can outline it exactly. But if you want what's in your head, and only what's in your head, for that you want a Communications Designer, as such persons specialize in such forms, not a free form artist. Communication Designing, as you might suspect, is not my forte, I can do it, but it comes very hard. It's a special skill that should be left up to very special people, who make it their job to create such things, and do it very well :)

Where as Web design is very much a forte, as well as Marketing Communications, which goes hand in hand with Web Design. Information design and Illustration are others I do well.

So it comes down to, know who your hiring and use those persons who can fit the bill for you, as doing otherwise is asking for frustrations on both your parts.

More soon

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