The Future of Graphics


The other day, I was reading a magazine on my bus ride home when something peculiar happened: as I reached the end of the page, I instinctively brought my finger to the paper and attempted to swipe up the text. Merely five years of using touch-based devices transformed the understanding of a page enough that, even if for just a moment, I thought that I could scroll the text in a magazine. This is not the first time that this has happened, either. How many times have you found yourself tapping a screen, only to be surprised that it is one of those old types of screens?

Forces of Change

New technologies are powerful forces of change in our lives, but the major developments that we see today are particularly transformative because they directly affect consumer products on a massive scale. Their increasing ubiquity slowly transforms even our most subtle expectations and interactions with our world, and they do so in a way that other technological advancements could not.

Although numerous, there are probably several overlapping forces worth noting for their impact on the products that we create:

  • Touch User Interfaces. To say that touch interfaces have revolutionised human-computer interaction is an understatement. While many users of intensive graphics software say that new interfaces are not fully capable of meeting their needs, I would argue that we are still in a transitional state, and have yet to see the full development of touch-based interfaces. At any rate, they continue to make us re-think interaction paradigms from the ground up, and afford us multiple opportunities for the next generation of graphics software.
  • Internet-Enabled Mobile Devices. It is stunning to consider the worldwide growth of internet-enabled mobile devices. The effects of these devices are almost too numerous to identify, from changing the nature of our social interactions, to altering our engagement with the space around us, to blurring our sense of work and personal time. They also introduce different form factors for interactive experiences.
  • Social Media. Our users constantly engage each other and their social circles through a wide variety of social networks. People share digital assets, discuss techniques and creative methods, broadcast their latest creations, seek critiques from their creative and business peers, and connect with new business, much of which would have been considerably more difficult a decade ago.
  • Cloud Computing. Though still a new concept for many people, cloud computing holds the promise of stringing everything together in a seamless experience, something particularly important in multi-device mobile world. Where user experiences used to be contained within a device, as it were, we can start to see now that devices will be more like small parts of a larger, continuous experience, all held together by the cloud.

Adapting with You

It is essential for us to consider the impact of these changes as they affect how our users conduct their business and pursue their creative passions. We at Corel are working hard to adapt both existing and new products and, while there are many exciting things to come, you can already access some of our latest offerings:

  • Designs for Windows 8. Corel first introduced a preview version of Designs to the Windows Store this summer, and we are looking forward to releasing an update at the same time as the release of Windows 8. Designs lets you discover, search, view, collect, and share from a wide variety of digital art and graphic libraries, including award-winning content from CorelDRAW and Corel Painter communities, and content from popular providers like iStockPhoto, fotolia, and flickr. Designs can be used with both touch- and mouse-based interaction, and will also be available to tablets with Windows RT.

  • Corel Cinco for iPad. If you use Corel Painter, you have to try Corel Cinco for iPad. It is what we refer to as a companion application, used directly in tandem with Corel Painter 12. Corel Cinco integrates into your existing workflows by providing you a touch user interface with which to use your pre-existing tools and palettes with just a tap of a finger. Fully customisable, it will even automatically calibrate the interface to the size of your hand and fingers.

Distant Horizons

In addition to considering how these changes affect the way our users engage our products, it is also essential to consider how they affect what our users are creating with these products. This is especially true for graphics software.

Beyond traditional forms of graphics, users are often making new forms of media with existing tools, including interfaces for smartphone applications, responsive web sites, digital signage, and information graphics. We also see our users managing their business operations across multiple channels, including web sites and social media, while still maintaining traditional forms of marketing.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we live in exciting times and will continue to see much change as various technologies mature and interaction paradigms change. What changes have you seen in your business and creative endeavours? How do you find yourself interacting with these technologies during your production process? Do you find these changes exciting, or would you prefer to keep things the way that they were?


About Paul Legomski

I have 11 years of background designing experience in a large variety of media, including architecture, print, and new media. I have a long history of working with Corel, and currently act as Principal Designer and Strategist in Graphics and Productivity Software. Making great things that delight others is what I love to do.
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2 Responses to The Future of Graphics

  1. Matthew says:

    Interesting, I have never tried to scroll or swipe physical media. But maybe that’s because I read by running my fingers under the lines. Which is one reason I hate reading on a touch enabled device, I can’t scroll along the page without accidentally flipping it. It’s so annoying. And I love my Nexus 7 so it’s not displeasure with tablet devices or the touch interface. I just don’t want to read on it.

    As for technology, we’re always in a transitional state. Which I dislike very much. We move too fast, things aren’t maturing as well as they could or should be before something new comes on the market.

    I graduated a year ago from a small college, and then in an odd twist ended up working for their IT office, here technology is mostly about maintaining. The teachers don’t like to change or add new things technologically. And administration wants to jump on the media band wagon. So I’m stuck between the old and the new with no time to adapt as things change. I have no issues with technology progressing, just wish it went slower. I’m just starting to get them used to the idea of using Google Docs for collaboration purposes.

    On a personal note, I rarely use the cloud myself. It’s easier and far more portable to just keep things on a flash drive or microSD as I don’t always have access to the internet around here. Only recently managed to afford it in my apartment. And I may have to give it up soon with some unexpected bills. Really dislike the idea that there are products that specifically rely on the internet, mainly because I fear that will become a requirement for things long before internet access is affordable enough everywhere to warrant it. Probably a silly fear, but companies have done stupid things before.

    May technology continue to progress, so long as I remain in control. The day I have to restrict myself to what the company wants, they’ve lost a customer.

  2. kchiiamaka says:

    i am trying to learn how to use and design graphics in coreldraw x12 and would love some more instructions.

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