I believe graphic design is a universal language expressed through visual communication.
I remember when I was 8 years old. My father had bought me my first sketch note and the 48-prismacolor-pencil set. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to open them and smell the unsharpened pencils. I started drawing and drawing. Day after day, nothing could stop me. From numerous coloring books to drawing superheroes on the outside of my bedroom door, every time I drew, I felt I could transmit a message, an emotion. Art expresses itself. It’s a worldwide language, which doesn’t need to be oral, just visual.
I will never forget the summer when my best friend and I went to wonderful and exceptional Japan. We didn’t read or speak any Japanese. We were two the geeks carrying a bilingual dictionary, everywhere, 24/7, thinking it was going to help us somehow. It was pointless; we don’t even share the same alphabet. As we were walking trough one of the most populous cities in the world, Tokyo, we were trying to find our way to a high-technology museum that a tourist flyer had recommended. My friend and I were asking for directions, some people didn’t even stop to help us. At last, a short, skinny old guy, with “Harry-Potter” glasses, stopped to listened to what we were trying to say. He wrote on our little note-pad the address for us, but we still had no idea how we were going to get there. We felt lost, we couldn’t communicate with anybody, not even taxis stopped for our rescue. Finally, the only way we were able to understand the directions from the “Harry-Potter” guy, was by the symbols on the street signs. We were also able to find restrooms, bus stops, and the airport through symbols.
When I was 18 years old I decided to pursue a career in Graphic Design. I used art as an arrangement of colors, forms, and other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic medium. In my junior year, I had to do a poster of something meaningful, relatable to anyone, without using typography. I had done a poster of a pedestrian traffic sign, but instead of a silhouette of someone walking, I did a silhouette of a soldier walking with a riffle. With no words, I was able to send a message to anyone, anywhere.
To me graphic design is a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas. Graphic design has been around since cave paintings in the early 14,000 BC. Now days, we see it everywhere, from companies branding such as Nike and Apple to traffic signs. I believe we wouldn’t be were we are today, if it weren’t for Johann Gutenberg’s printing press and Adrian Frutiger’s typography designs.
Now, I’m a senior in college and I believe I can communicate myself visually through my designs, because, art is everywhere, waiting to emerge.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.