Graphics are something that we see every day. You might see them when you're on the subway advertising a dentist or a furniture sale or you could see them when you're playing a computer game at home in the evening. It is something that most of us do not think about or wonder how they are made. But, there are millions of people who make their living and are passionate about the world of graphics and everything that they can do. It is certainly one of the major components of web design and is something that you will need to understand if you're going to work in design.
A graphic is simply defined as a visual presentation on a surface. This is a broad scope that extends all the way from what you see in plain diagrams and drawings to complex pieces created by genius artists that would be worth as much as a Toronto second mortgage. Graphics combine some sort of illustration, whether it is created by someone's hand or by a computer, and then might add in elements like colour or text. They can be completely artistic or can serve some sort of function, the way that they do in advertising, or both.
One company that uses graphics extensively in its business is Wheels Automotive Dealer Supplies. Wheels is in the business of providing everything a car dealership needs to market itself, including a huge assortment of products that incorporate the dealer's logo and help promote their brand. Other types of companies that rely heavily on being very skilled at graphics are print shops (e.g. VistaPrint), advertising agencies, sign companies like Pattison and so many more.
The history of graphics dates all the way back to the prehistoric age with people creating paintings on the walls of caves. Now, you can study everything that there is about graphics at a number of different schools across the country and it can lead to all sorts of different careers. If you want to be known as a graphic artist then you will find that you're working more with online art and drawings that have a specific purpose and are for the business or marketing world. Many of the best graphic artists today are doing much of their work online and are being hired by the best companies in the world to create ads, logos, and other printed media.
Those that are working in graphics are usually skilled in both visual art and working with computers. This is a job for someone who can see the bigger picture before a line has been made on the paper and knows exactly how to create it. You could be working on a 2D drawing for a newspaper ad one day and a special effects 3D image for a national campaign the next.