Why 'graphic' is not the most important word in 'graphic design'

Contrary to the belief of some clients, design is as much about process as end product, as Pablo Berger explains.

Making it clear to clients, the public and especially other designers that graphic design is not necessarily graphic - it's more design than graphic - is my biggest daily challenge. 'Graphic' is but a medium; a sort of modulator. The true essence of 'graphic design' lies in the design.

Design, at its very core, is a labour through which one must constantly learn how to learn. In doing so, processes are developed where information can be understood, structured, shaped and given meaning.

Design isn't exclusively about an end product: it's about a process

Design isn't exclusively about an end product: it's about a process. This, what some call the 'designerly process', can become an applied system to approach almost every problem that surrounds us as a society. Therein lies our true contemporary value as designers. We are designers first, visualizers second.

"Design isn’t exclusively about an end product: it’s about a process," says Berger.

This is such an exciting profession. As designers we can make anything: a fork, a poster, a facade or a letterform. If we don't have the technical knowledge concerning the project at hand then we read up on it and learn how, or we learn who to establish a collaboration with, and allow for everyone involved to grow. As Bruno Munari said, "A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense." This is quite a challenge.

Mexico-born Pablo Berger is a designer and art director based in Basel, Switzerland. The 2012 ADC Young Gun winner counts the Swiss Red Cross and Shanghai Biennale among his clients, and recently started a new studio called berger+stadel+walsh. Read our interview with him here.

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 219.

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