Graphic Designer: the logical artist

Alana Lemke Creative, Design, graphic design, Marketing

We are all familiar with the theory that states each side (left/right) of our brain is responsible for different functions or thinking, and that individuals may be more dominant in one of these.

Those considered “left-brained” might make great lawyers, accountants or engineers. We can thank this left side for strengths such as:

  • Language
  • Math
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Logic and Reasoning
  • Critical Thinking

Those finding themselves more creative or “right-brained” are thought to be more suited to a career in the arts such as a musician, animator or graphic designer. The right brain is thought to be responsible for:

  • Creativity
  • Imagination
  • Color Perception
  • Intuition and Emotion
  • Spacial Awareness

Graphic designers… how “right-brained” are we?

Recent studies within the psychology field have shown this theory of right or left brain dominance to be a myth, yet many hang on to this notion of being one or the other.  Myth or not, as a graphic designer myself, I often ponder how we are so frequently stereotyped to be right-brained. A good understanding of art concepts such as color theory, line, form and shape are absolutely critical to being a successful graphic designer. And yes, we must be creative, but there is much more to the equation.

Let me explain.

A recent project of mine involved a label design for a cylindrical shaped package. Precise measurements were in order, and circumference, radius, etc. all had to be taken into consideration. This may not be engineering level math, but still. As a designer, extreme attention to detail (thought to be a left brain action) is required every single day. Everything must be perfectly aligned and pixel perfect. Before the majority of projects begin, we conduct thorough research of competitors (analyze data) and then make rational decisions, without letting those pesky right-brained emotions get involved.

Other times, all of the design elements such as written content and photographs have been predetermined by the client, yet we must organize these elements in a fashion that is not only visually pleasing but makes logical sense. Or, maybe we do have to create the written content, in this case we must apply those left-brained language skills. (There is much more writing involved in graphic design than many realize, but that’s another blog post in itself). And of course we have those designers involved in web design as well (coding anyone?).

When we are creating art for pure personal enjoyment, it seems to me there is much more of a free-flowing, emotionally based creativity involved. I feel that successful graphic designers must combine both creativity and logic. So, I believe that we are indeed creative and should certainly be considered artists, just logical artists.