Designing space for printing and understanding the processes involved to get to the finished design product is a topic that demands a knowledge of a large number of inter-related areas.
The very nature of graphic design, formed in equal parts of art and a mass medium, interlinks the different aspects in ways that make it a unique communicating vehicle that is ubiquitous in modern society. It demands a theoretical and practically applied understanding of picture perception, graphics representation theory, digital manipulation, graphic file formats, concepts behind the use of visuals within the printed page (colour/black and white/spot colour distinction noted), aesthetics and concepts pertaining to basic design of layout for different publications.
Units that Ġorġ Mallia has given in graphic design have been typically split into the introduction and development of three knowledge bases:
(a) The theoretical base of graphic design: the understanding of what constitutes the design of white space as a dynamic artistic exercise, mindful of ground-background tensions, font selection, visual balance, flow, legibility, visibility, creative processes, and a mindful distinction between path and grid layouts. The theoretical contexts that infuse the main practical manifestations of print-based graphic design (corporate identity, advertising, packaging, and publication layout) are also explored;
(b) Desktop Publishing: the practical use of the hardware and software essential to the physical interpretation of graphic design theory. Programs such as Adobe Indesign ©, Adobe Photoshop ©, as well as Adobe Illustrator © are indispensible to today's graphic designer. The three of them have unique characteristics and together they provide all that is needed to create the total output demanded of the graphic design industry. A thorough understanding of digital graphics is also imparted, as these are the main building blocks, along with layout tools and vector image generation, of the designed page;
(c) Printing Processes: a working knowledge of the different processes used to print the output of graphic design - from letterpress, lithography and gravure, to silkscreen, as well as analogue and digital offset methods. Units given also delve into the understanding of the subskills needed in conjunction with printing, including an insight into prepress, binding, and finishing of the printed product.