We’ve been doing this graphic design thing for the last 25 years, and in that time we have come across our fair share of myths and misconceptions about what we do. Some of them are understandable, needing the practitioners of these dark design arts to pull back the veil and explain our practices. Some of them are rather strange, leading us to believe that they may have gleaned their opinions from TV shows or social media rather than actual designers or experience. Some are just laughable, and we do enjoy a chuckle every now and again. So, here’s a breakdown of some the best (worst) myths and misconceptions about graphic design.


There is a pervading myth that graphic design is or should be cheap. The reality is, if graphic design is cheap it’s usually not to as high a standard as it could be. A good graphic designer has honed their craft through years of experience and practice. You are not only purchasing a logo or a website, you are paying for a bank of many years’ experience, a craft that has been forged in the fire of trial and error. You’re paying for more than the product, you’re paying for the vast knowledge that creates that product. Put it this way: if you were to visit a private doctor’s surgery and only pay £5 for your operation, would you really trust that they knew what they were doing and had done the best job possible? Probably not. It sounds like a sketchy black-market surgery which you should probably avoid; higher prices are usually a better guarantee of professionalism and quality. In the case of graphic design, you pay for the quality you wish to receive.


One of the strangest and usually most catastrophic myths is that if you own a licence to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign, it automatically makes you a graphic designer. Before we dive into why this isn’t the case, let us frame this scenario in a different way. Does owning and kicking a football make you a footballer? Does owning a scalpel make you a surgeon? At risk of labouring the point, does owning a car make you a Formula One driver? If you answered ‘no’ to any or all of these, then you understand the issue. Being able to understand and use the basics of design software doesn’t necessarily mean that you can create output to the standard required for branding or business use. We won’t bamboozle you with all the lingo and techniques you’ll need to know before you can call yourself a professional designer here, but you can read all about it in this article.


To be honest, when embarking on writing this article, we didn’t truly understand the real extent of this myth. But, here we are, and it’s a doozy. There is a myth that all graphic designers work solely on Apple Macs. There’s an assumption that Macs are the only piece of technology used by graphic designers, as if there’s some unwritten rule. This is just simply not the case, with the only designers using Macs being those who want to. It’s a preference thing. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes we can’t help but chuckle.


One of the greatest myths in the world of design is this: whatever you imagine will always look good once created. Naturally, output will always look different to what your mind imagines. The greatest issue with this myth is that it can lead to clients holding more to their imagination than design principles or fundamentals. Graphic designers do more than just play around with shapes and draw, they measure, adjust colours, compute ratios, translate brand values and aims into artwork, and communicate your company’s message in the branding. There’s a lot more to design than just manifesting your imagination, and that’s why it pays to hire a professional.


Interestingly, there seems to be a myth going around that graphic design is only for print mediums. We can’t discount the value, importance and necessity of print design, and the scope that it affords the designer. But, it is not the only medium graphic design is for. Almost everything involved in creating and running a company involves graphic design. You need a logo, which will be the face of your brand; design standards, which will become the backbone and guide of your branding; a website that will be your home base for all your customers, and so much more. Graphic design includes, but is not limited to, print design.


A consistent myth with graphic design is that it follows trends, as if that is all it can do. Following trends is important, yes, but being a slave to trends stifles creativity. A good graphic designer keeps a finger on the pulse, but doesn’t let the trends dictate their entire creative process.


Just because designers work primarily on computers, it doesn’t mean that they can help you with yours. They’re not your IT guys and they probably don't know how to configure your email.


Graphic designers are graphic designers, not all on them can edit photos or videos, as some clients expect. The problem is when people make graphic designers responsible for tasks that are not their responsibility. This will distract the designers from their primary role, decreasing the quality and efficacy of their output. You want the designer to do what they do best, and inundating them with other work outside their remit is a surefire way of hamstringing both them and your brand.


There is a myth that graphic design is just about making things look pretty, as if it is a luxurious add-on to the company and brand. The thing is, you wouldn’t have a brand if it were not for graphic design. As mentioned earlier, without a logo, your brand would be faceless, homeless and wandering around the wilderness with no guidance or direction. Also, while aesthetics are a fundamentally crucial aspect of graphic design, it is not the only focus. Graphic designers are responsible for creating clear and effective communication through the use of typography, imagery, and layout. They must understand the audience and the message they are trying to convey, and use design elements to communicate that message effectively. Aesthetics are important, but they must serve a purpose and support the overall message.


While graphic design’s output is entirely visual, it is not just good graphics that makes good design. Graphic designers also play a critical role in the overall communication strategy, the development of messaging, translating the brand values and messages into design, and project management.

These are some of the most widespread myths surrounding the world of graphic design. Here at Stonefern, we have vast levels of experience that mean we can cut through the misconceptions and myths and provide you with an outstanding and professional service that is not only cost-effective, but elevates your brand and makes you stand out from the crowd.