Why Graphic Design is More Than Just a Visual Art

When we’re kids, we’re told to “sound out” words as we’re learning to read them. Even now, the voice in your brain is speaking these words in your head. So it’s safe to say that we can “hear” typography and graphic design. In an article published for AIGA’s Eye On Design blog, author Emily Gosling details the connection between graphic design and sound.

In her article, she speaks with graphic designers who also have an ear for music. They’re either musicians or have been working in the music field as designers for many years. Their designs reflect the music they’re designed for so that the two work together. Musicians need designers to be able to convey everything in their albums so consumers know what they’re getting when they listen. Just like with any product, the design of the packaging is what will let a consumer know what that product is.

For example, electronic music is likely going to have a digital rendering on the album cover loaded with colors and shapes. That way, people know the music is abstract and computerized.

Or take the classic punk album London Calling by The Clash. The type is bold, blocky and all capitalized, also it’s directly copying Elvis Presley’s album artwork, symbolizing a new era of rock that pushes the envelope. The image on the album cover is bassist Paul Simonon smashing his bass. The typography and imagery could not be more punk rock. So when you look at the album artwork, you know exactly what kind of music you’re going to be hearing.

Designer, Ran Zheng, describes architecture as “frozen music” and type as “frozen sound” and she couldn’t be more right. Certain types of lettering can sound elegant, like sloping and delicate cursive on a formal invitation, or it can sound young and playful like hand-lettering on a children’s day-care sign.

It’s important to note the connection between sound and graphic design to make sure your designs have the right voice. If you’re struggling with making that connection, reach out to Blue Parachute and we’ll have your designs singing perfectly in tune!

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