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  • Alexa Leardi

The Difference Between Communication Design, Visual Communication Design, & Graphic Design

If you’re a CMO, CMI, Creative Director or involved in any way with marketing and design projects, chances are you’ve heard all three of these terms before. But do you know what they mean? What’s the difference between the practices ‘Communication Design,’ ‘Visual Communication Design’ and ‘Graphic Design?’ Let's dive in! 

woman lies on ground with computer and other creative supplies such as scissors, pens, markers, and yarn.
Learning about what type of designer you need for your next project can be difficult. Let's explore three different design practices that all play essential roles in creation.

Communication Design 

Communication design is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of disciplines from branding to advertising to UX design. In essence, the purpose of this type of design is to communicate a message or idea to an audience. It can be used for both digital and print mediums. A communication designer will take into consideration all aspects of their project including color palettes, typography, imagery, and layout when creating a cohesive and effective piece of work. The goal of the communication designer is to clearly convey a message or brand to its audience.

Visual Communication Design 

Visual communication design is closely related to communication design but takes it one step further by focusing on the visual elements. This type of designer specializes in creating visuals and illustrations that are used to convey complex messages quickly and effectively. Visual communication designers often use colors, textures, shapes and symbols to create visuals that grab attention while still delivering information in a clear manner.  A good example of this would be a designer that partners with an architect/interior designer and focuses on wayfinding for a project.

Graphic Design

Graphic design is another form of visual communication that focuses on the aesthetic side of things as opposed to content-driven pieces like those created for branding or advertising campaigns. Graphic designers typically create logos, posters or other printed materials using text and images to convey a message or idea in an aesthetically pleasing way. The goal is usually to draw attention without overpowering readers with too much information. 

 All three types of designs play an important role when it comes to communicating messages effectively across multiple mediums and platforms. While there may be some overlap between them at times, each discipline has its own unique set of skills which should be taken into account when deciding which type best suits your project needs. With this newfound knowledge on your side—you're now well equipped to decipher the difference between 'Communication Design,' 'Visual Communication Design' and 'Graphic Design.' or as we like to call them, CREATIVES!



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