Designers are frequently asked to answer the question “What is graphic design?”

The answers range from the glib (“words and pictures”), to the thoughtful (“design is the art of visualizing ideas”), to the cliché (“design is storytelling”).

There is some truth to all of these responses, but on a more visceral level, what we do is much simpler and fundamental.

We help people fall in love.

All graphic design at its best works strategically and aesthetically. However, these are merely qualifiers. The design work that truly stands out and resonates with viewers is the stuff you fall in love with.

It’s a bit like someone showing up on a first date. They may be well put together, have a pretty face and a lovely smile, which are all nice things to have. But what captures your heart is something more intangible, like the way they scrunch up their face when they laugh, or how they blush when you tell a slightly off color joke. They reveal themselves to you in an unguarded manner, that brings you closer to them.

Design makes people fall in love with a brand, a cause or an idea. If you don’t believe that, try criticizing Apple to a loyal devotee. You will be greeted with a response no less vehement than if you had slandered their longtime lover.

Conversely, as a designer you can only succeed at this art of seduction if you love what you do. It helps to be passionate about the client and the product or service they offer. But to truly excel, you need to love the process of design and the power it can wield over your audience, the power of seduction.

Here’s to love.