What is graphic design? A designer choosing colours

Design surrounds you every day of your life. Everything that is man-made has been designed to a greater or lesser degree. Simply put, design is problem solving.

What is graphic design - a designer looking at colour swatches

Design Is Problem Solving

What is Graphic Design? Let’s start with design… Design surrounds you every day of your life. Everything that is man-made has been designed to a greater or lesser degree. Simply put, design is problem solving.

Not all design is successful. I’m sure as you read this you can think of one or two items you own that don’t work quite as well as you would like them to. At its best though, design makes ideas tangible—taking abstract thoughts and turning them into something real that not only looks great but importantly something that works great too. And that makes your product or service more successful.

So, in essence, everything has a designer—or at least some elements of design behind it. However, there are two fundamental things we can apply to all design; form and function.

To call a design truly successful, both form and function must be skilfully merged together to create an experience that satisfies your visual requirements and the needs you, and of course your client or user, have from the product—and that product can be a website, brochure, or any other visual communication tool.

For instance, let’s look at an everyday object, a lady’s shoe. As the wearer, you may readily accept some downsides in an area such as comfort if they have the killer looks you want, but at other times something comfortable is all that will do. The favourite shoe becomes one that combines great look, but with comfort to wear all night.

Or another may be a fantastically entertaining website, but if the navigation is too difficult to use easily, if it requires instruction to understand, then it has failed in its task (unless the task was to simply be entertaining).

Who Are Designers?

It’s probable that many people think of designers as overly touchy, delicate, creative types (and if you’ve worked in the field you will have met these characters). That may be worth reconsidering though. As everything that is designed is naturally human-centric, the people that call themselves designers care immensely about the people who will get to use the product or experience the visual communication. Therefore, they care immensely about the work they produce.

And what business wouldn’t want someone who really cares about what they make?

This doesn’t mean that the designer should be a lone-wolf; head down, eschewing the people around them to create something only they understand. Design is a collaborative affair between the designer, the marketing department, the printer, the coder, the various services that feed in to the design process, and the end user. So what is graphic design…?

So What Is Graphic Design?

Let’s think about announcing a new product, highlighting a new price, persuading someone to purchase, or trying to explain a system or process. So, simply put, you want to communicate.

The next question is how are you going to publish that message? If you choose a visual medium you are choosing a form of visual communication called graphic design.

From the very simplest item like a sweet wrapper to huge things like billboard advertising, graphic design is a part of everyone’s everyday existence. It persuades, informs, stimulates, helps, locates, identifies, attracts attention and, at its best, provides great pleasure.

So, fundamentally, graphic design is a collaborative, creative process that combines information, artistic attributes, and technology to communicate ideas.

We Understand People

Graphic designers work with (and are often the centre of) a large range of disciplines: illustration, art, photography, film, computer-generated images, animation, typography, copywriting and more. They create, choose, and combine these elements and the space around them to communicate a message effectively

The graphic designer doesn’t necessarily create all of the elements that are placed in to a final design. They do, however, have an innate understanding of all the parts and bring them together into a pleasing, engaging final product.

For example, a graphic designer will collaborate with a web developer to create your website. The graphic designer will understand the way humans interact with interfaces, respond to colour, typography, space, calls to action, company branding and more.

If you’d like to allow us to help your business create purposefully designed websites and printed marketing work, perhaps now is the time to chat? or find out more about us.

Caffeine Creative: Good people – Great design

We’d love to chat and discuss your project’s needs…


Creating strong relationships

“If everyone had the same level of pride in their work it would be a better world!”

Rhys David, Director, RTD Solutions

“Thank you for all the hard work you’ve done for us, getting this project finished. It’s been a pleasure working with you. You’re amazing!”

Michelle Gough, Barnardo’s Cymru

“Thanks Jeff! You’ve been a star! Thank you for your patience and we’ve been really impressed with the design.”

Emma Routley, Firing Line Museum, Cardiff Castle

“Charged with designing the Herb & Ellie’s branding—which we were delighted with—Great imaginative input and aftercare too.”

Jill Ronson, Director, Herb & Ellie’s

“I am so impressed with how you interpreted the concept in my mind to something tangible and aesthetically stunning… you have a real gift!”

Shelley Doyle, Owner & Director, Present PR

“We have implemented the branding across the practice, we’re incredibly pleased– it has elevated the product far beyond our expectation.”

David Chichester, Andrew Forbes

“I’m really happy with this! I think you’ve interpreted what we need extremely well. This is absolutely the direction I wanted.”

Sian James, Business in Focus

“I have very much enjoyed working with you. You made the task of re-branding very easy! Our logo is a real winner.”

Mike Walsh, City Hospice

“Thanks Caffeine Creative! You’ve all been stars! Thank you for your patience and we’ve been really impressed with the design.”

Emma Routley, Firing Line Museum, Cardiff Castle.

“Thank you for all the hard work you’ve done for us. It’s been a pleasure working with you. You’re amazing! And done so quickly.”

Michelle Gough, Barnardo’s Cymru

“The brand development and the new bespoke characters you’ve created are exceptional! We love it all.”

Rob Webber – Welsh Cycling
Say Hi!

Meet the Team

Jeff Patreane

Studio Founder

Jane Patreane

Project Manager

Benjamin Crooke

Graphic Designer

Justyna Nowosadko

Graphic Designer/Illustrator