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Graphic design comes of age in the digital world

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The field of graphic design has gone through many changes. For a time, it seemed that original design was dead. This was due to the advent of computer software such as design templates; this included clip art and other royalty-free or copyright free tools, as well. There was no charge to use them and they could be downloaded easily. They are still in use today for the do-it-yourself, small business type of operation. But for any company that wants a brand it can stand behind, original graphic design is an essential commodity.

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One of the first signs of graphic design's rebirth was the introduction of the 'Facebook Timelines for Business Page Covers' layout guidelines. This major change for Facebook brought more visual information to its social media platform. It required two images. The first was an icon measuring 180 by180 pixels. The image used has often been the company logo. Then came the powerful action or storytelling space. It was called the page cover photo and measures 851 pixels wide by 315 high. Facebook keeps changing their guidelines and the uses for these two areas of visual real estate. But the bottom line is that Facebook endorsed the need for visual material.

Over time, more and more social media venues began adding visual components. It had started with Facebook. Then it eventually went on to include Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Infographics and more. The reason for this visual flourish was the introduction of Pinterest. This tool rocked the social media world.

Pinterest was the first application to rely completely on visual design. There was no time to wonder if it would work. Pinterest was an over night success. This proved several crucial things. It showed how valuable visual information could be. It illustrated that visual information was essential to social media communication. It even proved that if done well, as it was with Pinterest, that visual information could stand on its own as a social media tool.

Thanks especially to Pinterest, visual stuck and was proven to be indispensable. Social media venues need to have both visual and verbal components. The types of visuals have expanded from being still images to videos and beyond. But what is most important is that visual tools have gone from being dessert to being the main course in social media marketing.

There has been another breakthrough. They are called Infographics and are a visual storytelling tool. One can use unlimited creativity and eye-catching visuals to tell a story with Infographics. Traditional media essentially had charts. Thanks to digital media, charts have been transformed into amazing, eye-catching Infographics or stories.

There is no telling how graphic design will morph next. From charts, to social media partners and then to Infographics, who knows what is next. Fortunately, graphic design is alive and well. It has clearly claimed its place as an art form and an indispensable communication tool in the world of social media marketing.


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