Advertising Design and Graphic Art
In modern times, advertising is the most prominent conduit for the creation of graphic design. The transmission of commercial messages are enormously sophisticated and articulated through various studies incorporating such dimensions as psychological, demographic, economical, and ethnological issues, among others. Such communications are in relation to multinational corporations, global mass-media networks and a host of the alphabetic soups of international entities, such as the IMF, OECD, APAC, OPEC, EU, NAFTA, NATO and so on. The medium and the message both transcend frontiers and cultural divides. However, as John Berger in Ways of Seeing has argued:
… although every image embodies a way of seeing, our perception or appreciation of an image depends also upon our own way of seeing . . . when an image is presented as a work of art, the way people look at it is affected by a whole series of learnt assumptions about art . . .Many of these assumptions no longer accord with the world as it is. (The world-as-it-is is more than pure objective fact, it includes consciousness.)
It is clear that advertising tries to introduce new assumptions about the world that are in conflict with its reality. According to Berger:
We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice. As a result of this act, what we see is brought within our reach-though not necessarily within arm’s reach. To touch something is to situate oneself in relation to it.
Publicity turns consumption into a substitute for democracy. The choice of what one eats (or wears or drives) takes the place of significant political choice. Publicity helps to mask and compensate for all that is undemocratic within society. And it also masks what is happening in the rest of the world.
Advertising in modern times and modern Design
Advertising in modern times have become more and more centralized, globalized, generalized and, therefore, standardized — like the economic forces that produce it, and the products it deals with. Graphic design, on the other hand, as practiced by artists, continues to be created and to structure itself in a humanistic manner, which is in direct correlation with the specific social fabrics of different societies around the world. It is this humanism that provides the possibility for the development of graphic communications across the world in the future. In summary, there is a fundamental difference between commercial advertising and graphic art in today’s world.
The rich variety and presence of multimodal texts, as Sharon Goodman reminds us, are now a familiar feature in newspapers that contain photographs, diagrams and changes of typeface, and even in company letterheads that are carefully designed, with their choice of graphics and color of the paper to craft the company’s image. We now take it for granted that an electronic text, such as a page on the web, will use more than one of the language modes. In fact, in today’s market place graphic designers are doing much more than the visual engineering of most printed matter, as they are engaged in a host of related activities that in part include; strategy and consulting, information and experience design, branding and broadcast design, and road- signage systems. Visual communicators are expected not only to acquire a certain classic set of skills including; drawing, photography, composition and typography — the design and structural characteristics of letterforms, but also an ability to work with software programs such as Photoshop, Gimps, and so on. In doing all these tasks, it should not be forgotten that a graphic designer is an artist, and as an artist can act as a social critic, a historian, or a creator of pure beauty so long as he/she is honest and believes in the integrity of his/her creation; and businesses that respect the artistic integrity of their graphic designers are those that will thrive in the longer run.