Graphic design, done well, holds intrinsic power to facilitate understanding and improve the world around us.
In pursuit of my personal philosophy and values as a graphic artist, I have been drawn closer and closer to the field of educational psychology.
While I am always happy to make something that is beautiful, it is far more important to me that I make something that is useful. And beyond that, something that transcends its own physical existence into the heart, imagination, and cognition of the user. The field of educational psychology studies the human mind and how we learn with practical applications that can serve this greater good.
Principles behind good instructional design are applicable to design as a whole (graphics or otherwise). Good designers first seek the core purpose of the thing being designed, the meaning of it. They dig as close as possible to the root of the problem the thing is meant to solve. Every other element is derived from this process of analysis. The structure of the message, each emanation whether visual, physical, or otherwise must become part of a syntax that is congruent with the identified need.