TGJ Communication Technology Communication Technology Overview To understand Communication Technology is to understand the components and how they are applied to our everyday experience of communication. We will first start by defining Communication Technology before examining the impacts and purpose of it. We’ll then concentrate on the various components of visual communication, and finally look at how this is all applied in the ‘real world’. This introduction sets the tone for all material presented in the course: That’s why Graphic Design is often referred to as ‘The Art of Business’. Definitions Communication is the transfer of information such as thoughts and messages; Technology is the application of scientific discoveries to the production of goods and services that improve the human environment. This includes materials, machinery and processes that improve production and solve technical problems. Communication Technology is the means by which a message/information is brought to a targeted audience through a developed medium. This medium sends a message either through your auditory sense of hearing or visually - or both. What it is Every day hundreds of businesses are talking to you, competing for your attention on the radio, the television, the internet, in newspapers and magazines and on billboards. The way they assemble and produce their messages is what Communication Technology is all about. Audio vs Visual The two main senses we use to acquire information are our sense of hearing (audio) and our sense of vision (visual). These two main categories of medium are audio and visual: Impact © TINGLE 2004 ☞ Audio: • radio ☞ Visual: • television • e-mail • billboards • newspapers • voice mail • telephone • text messaging • internet • flyers • magazines Take a moment and think about what your life would be like without communication technology’s products and processes: “What if there weren’t...” • ...Telephones, e-mail or text messaging?” You couldn’t quickly get in touch with them any time and anywhere. • ...Newspapers, television, internet or magazines?” You wouldn’t be able to know what’s going on in the world - and often just minutes after the event. • ...Radios, CDs, Cassettes, Records, MP3s?” You wouldn’t be able to listen to music unless it were played live. ➔ Impact (cont’d) There are many ways Communication Technology impacts our lives - some are positive and others negative. Here are a few; you can likely think of others: • Increased Personal Time - you are able to convey a message to someone faster by using e-mail, telephone or fax instead of writing a letter. • Increased Efficiency - business employees are able to respond quickly to customer demands. Where it took days for a customer to get information or place an order, they can now do business almost instantly through e-mail, internet or fax technology. • Increased Ease - it is now much easier for someone to send information to one or many people using telephone, e-mail, fax and presentation technologies. Its user-friendly design allows ordinary people to communicate more effectively. • Increased ‘Visual Noise’ - businesses are bombarding people with a constant, steady stream of carefully crafted, persuasive reminders of their products in the form of advertisements, billboards and commercials. • Creation of Revenue - businesses profit from using communication technology to reach more people more cost-effectively. This translates into more profit. At the same time it supports an industry that affects our daily life by offering such technological ‘toys’ as video and digital cameras and CD players/MP3 players. • Decreased Personalization - Many people may prefer to communicate with others using forms other than face-to-face communication. On the other hand, identity is often reduced to log-on identification and passwords. • Increased Access to Information - Rather than seeking potentially outdated information in a library, people can instantly search and retrieve information any time we want off the internet. Visual Communication Visual Communication is the process by which information is conveyed to someone through their sight. We are all surrounded by objects that have been designed by someone to do or communicate something. In each case a human decided to plan and arrange materials or components to meet a human need or desire. Design is therefore the process of planning and arranging physical elements to serve some perceived, intended purpose or need. Graphic Design Graphic Design is a form of visual communication: it is the creative planning and execution of visual communication. Graphic designers are visual communicators who communicate with you in a way that clarifies the idea, stirs your interest or catches your eye. They are successful when their message is memorable enough to get you to act upon it - such as with an effective advertisement or brochure. Purpose All graphic design projects share at least one of the following three main purposes: • To sell something to a specific target market; • To inform the audience/reader; • To influence your choices and actions. Many graphic design projects cover more than one of these purposes: a magazine contains advertisements (to sell), articles (to inform) and editorials ➔ © TINGLE 2004 Application/Goal (to influence). Information can also be used to sell or influence as well. Marketing Logo © TINGLE 2004 Graphic Design Principles/3 The goal of Graphic Design, as with all design exercises, is to successfully address and solve a human problem. Just as an electronic engineer solves a design problem by developing a circuit to perform a specific problem-solving task, the graphic designer uses his/her training and creativity to execute visual communication to solve communication problems. For example, a designer might be asked to solve such problems as: • developing a poster targeted to senior citizens for a Cineplex theatre • creating an eye-catching logo for a line of childrens’ clothes • preparing a presentation to inform an audience of some financial info. The ultimate sign of graphic design success is whether you have communicated the desired message to the targeted customer through words and images. Success can be measured through recall/feedback or sales. Marketing is the business activity that promotes a product or service to an intended consumer. Many aspects of marketing rely on graphic design to achieve these business goals, and the first thing marketers identify is what the characteristics are of the people they think will buy the product. This ‘ideal customer’ is described in the Customer Profile. It contains: • age group • hobbies/interests • income • geographic location • where it shops • what television programs it is interested in • what it reads • possible occupations • family situation/marital status • gender • personality traits (confident, group leader, trend-setter, timid, outgoing) • buying behaviour (looks for bargains, shops only when needs to, shops regularly, doesn’t mind driving to a good sale, is frivolous with money) The designer is given this Customer Profile and the details of the product. He/ she then uses creativity and a combination of • Words (text) • Images • Shapes to communicate the message to the target market, translating the businesses’ marketing goal visually. One key design challenge is often the development of a logo for a company or product. A logo is a graphic representation of a Brand - like Nike, Kelloggs, McDonalds, etc. A Brand is a promise of performance - something a company takes very seriously and is a key part of its profitability. Logos are therefore critical design elements, and top designers earn huge sums of money for designing good logos to represent these brands. In Canada. for example, there is the need to have a logo that is as effective in the French market as in the English market. This provides an additional challenge for the designer as cultural considerations are part of the equation. Of course knowing the precise target ➔ market/ customer profile is very important when developing the logo.