Communication Technology Overview TGJ Communication Technology

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’.
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:
© TINGLE 2004
Audio: • radio
• 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
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 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.
All graphic design projects share at least one of the following three main
• 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.
© 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.