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Graphic design has been around since mankind discovered that images are an essential complement to words. Urban design may seem a more recent activity, but the essential components have been practised ever since we started to build and plant.

Modern pressures for both increased development and environmental stewardship strengthen the importance of communication between the designer and the client, the manager and the managed, public agencies and the general public, and the many professions involved in achieving sustainable development.

Good communication skills can establish early mutual understanding between participants in any project. This understanding can stimulate the generation of ideas that might otherwise be missed. Accurate representation of ideas can highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

Honest representation of the solution can help secure the agreement, commitment and enthusiasm of all involved, and establish realistic expectations of what a project can achieve.

Graphic images can communicate what may be impossible, or at least extremely long-winded, in words. Graphic design is therefore an essential component of the urban design process.The collaboration between graphic designers and the rest of the urban design team.

Urban design is about making place for people. It is concerned with how places function as well as how they look, bringing together issues of planning, transportation, architectural design, economics, landscape and engineering to create a vision for an area. Good urban design is essential to deliver places which are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. It provides distinctive places that encourage investment and can attract a skilled workforce, therefore increasing the economic value of an area.

Image by DAN MOUNTFORD.

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