The Designer Dilemma  – Part V: Graphic Design


The Designer Dilemma – Part V: Graphic Design

Previous chapter here.


The new form of the city was starting to take shape when the last member of the artisan troupe entered the king’s court. She was dressed in fine yet simple robes and introduced herself as Grafia, the artist of the bunch, otherwise known as the Graphic Designer. Before the king could rise from his throne, the lady gestured for him to stay seated and then made another hand signal. In poured a crowd of workers with intricately woven tapestries, beautiful hand-made pieces of furniture and art and all the tools of their particular trades. Soon the familiar yet, even the king had to admit, gloomy throne room had become a controlled riot of colours and measured, majestic atmosphere. The king, quite dumbfounded by all of the sudden, boisterous activity in what was usually a very guarded and tense environment, looked on as the people under Grafia’s direction transformed his house into a shining example of royal status and benevolent governance, all the while making sure the details served a purpose without going overboard so as to seem vain or pompous.

Graphic designer

Grafia approached the throne with a warm smile and spoke in a soft voice: “It is my responsibility to breathe life into the designs of my fellows and the creations made from them. In accordance with their designs and in collaboration with them, I have chosen and created the imagery, iconography, symbols, colors and materials necessary to slot in the final pieces of the redesign work. As we speak, we are putting them in place throughout the city.”


The king could but stare in awe at the transformation taking place around him and, as conveyed by Grafia’s words, in the city. Whilst everything appeared beautiful and clearly made by expert craftsmen, nothing was overly luxurious or seemingly over the top. Like the missing piece of a puzzle that cracks open the mystery and allows all the other pieces to make sense, the king suddenly saw how ingeniously all the different design aspects came together to form a whole that was greater than its individual parts. While there was some overlap in their fields of expertise, each member of the artisan band also provided an individual and unique aspect to the overall design, without which, the king now realized, the entire project would have been flawed, lacking in a way that might have escaped realization had the observer not been tutored in them like the king now had been. Having been enlightened in such a way, Old Faithful now also understood how antiqued many of his own methods and processes were in comparison to this well-oiled machine and resolved to transform them as well. As a sign of this reborn dedication, the new name of the city was now emblazoned on the banners flying high above the city: Consilio Adorea, the Triumph of Design.

Graphic design leaf

With their work now completed, the artisans presented themselves one more time before the king, who thanked each one individually and rewarded them handsomely for their services. Murmurs had already been heard that Scrummus Maximus himself was on his way to see the new miracle his neighbour had built, with an ever so slight hint of jealousy and disbelief rumoured to be the main motivators for such a rare visit.


The reinvigorated city was now thriving and no soul could pass through it without stories to tell of its fresh new wonders. Under the sagacious leadership of king Old Faithful, the citizens enjoyed an era of prosperity unrivalled in the city’s long history.


Viewing their work one last time from a hill overlooking the city, the artisans nodded their approvals of each other’s work. Taking their leave in search of their next great challenge, the designers turned their steeds and rode into the conveniently placed sunset, because that is how classic stories end.


Design flower


Here we are then. It is over. Hopefully through this story you now have even a slightly better idea of what the differences are between visual designers, user interface designers, user experience designers and graphic designers. It is not uncommon for a person to be adept in more than one of these roles, indeed most of them have some overlap, but all of them are still distinctly unique, with some traits separating them from the rest. This is not a definitive list of roles either, with the world of IT constantly in a state of change and new jobs and work areas popping up left, right and centre, but those seem to be the usual suspects, at least to my own experience.


Now it is time for me to join my imaginary design troupe under the setting sun, thank you for your attention and until next time!

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Jyrki Turunen

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