The beginning of graphic design can be traced all the way back to 38,000 BCE from cave paintings! Graphics were used to story tell and convey messages way before the first written languages by the Sumerians in 3,300-3,000 BCE were utilized. While written messaging is still important and essential to marketing, eye-catching graphics draw an audience to a brand or organization (no pun intended).
At Communications LAB, we utilize graphic design to create brand guides, social media posts, digital ads, websites, newsletters, PSAs, event display boards and more. Our talented and experienced graphic designers are vital in every aspect of our marketing and outreach strategies. They are master visual communicators that ensure designs are accurately reflecting an entity’s information by using key skills such as audience targeting, color theory, computer-aided design software, typeface design, and website development.
Learn more about Communications LAB’s Jessica Van Oyen, Arman Abidnejad, and Gary Plather’s creative process and thoughts below!
1. What inspired you to get into design?
Arman: Growing up I was always interested in advertising, and I would collect printed ads, watch ads for fun and read advertising's creative process. I got really into Graphic design after learning how to use FLASH back in high school and made posters for school events and our soccer team.
Gary: I've always been an artist since I was a young child. In elementary school, I loved drawing cartoon characters and cars. I was drawing still-life art in middle school and creating portraits and paintings. Once I was introduced to graphic design and the ability to create the same kind of art with a computer, I never looked back.
Jessica: Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a creative child, and for the longest time, I struggled to decide which field I wanted to pursue in order to channel that energy; I looked into animation, acting, set design, and so many more potential fields. Nothing ever felt quite “right”. I graduated without a set major in mind, but as it often happens in life, I found my calling when I least expected it. During the summer before my first semester started, I began watching the show, Mad Men. The costuming is what initially drew me in, but what got me hooked was watching the creative process that happens behind the scenes when an ad agency is launching a successful campaign. Something about the entire design process—receiving a brief and interpreting it, bringing an idea into reality—fascinated me. I said to myself, “I want to do that”, and the rest is history.
2. Describe your creative process. Do you have any rituals?
Jess: Once I’ve received the brief from a client, be it fully fleshed out or simply a vague idea, I begin by selecting a playlist online to listen to while I work. I find that listening to music with the same “vibes” as what I’m trying to capture helps me get in the right mood and headspace. Then I’ll go onto Pinterest to see what is trending in the design world, and often while scrolling I’ll find things with similar energy as my current project, which I cherry-pick little bits of inspiration from to start mocking up an initial first draft. And from there, it's simply a matter of working through as many revisions as it takes to land on a final design with which all parties are happy.
3. What is your go-to design software and what is one you’ll never touch again?
Arman: My go to program is Adobe Illustrator and the program I try to stay away from is Adobe After Effects.
Gary: My go-to design software would be Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Those two are the beginnings of every design I have ever done. One I wouldn't touch again would be Adobe Flash.
4. What (have you noticed) makes a viewer pause on a post? What grabs your attention?
Arman: What grabs my attention is a design that is not text heavy—I hate cluttered designs.
Gary: A captivating image.
5. What trend has gained traction in the digital marketing world that you enjoyed incorporating in your work?
Jessica: An interesting trend that I’ve seen gain immense popularity in the last five years or so is a return to design sensibilities that were being used in the 1960s and 70s. This includes text that has been intentionally distorted, muted color pallets with a bright splash of vibrant contrast, cluttered layouts with text that overlaps images, and fonts with a vintage flair. I think the general reason we’ve seen this trend take the world by storm comes from a general backlash against the sleek modernism that we were stuck in for so many years in the wake of the juggernaut that was Apple’s impact on the design world. It was all about clean lines and minimalism. Everyone got a little bored of it. We’re experiencing a return to this sense of spontaneity in design. I’ve enjoyed scanning in my hand-drawn illustrations to be used in work for clients, as opposed to relying on software that can only produce mathematically precise vectors. It hasn’t permeated the government/public-service sectors as thoroughly as it has fashion and entertainment, but I’m excited to see where this trend could lead us.