OFF THE BATYou may be thinking, “Can there really be an entire blog devoted to the differences between a graphic artist and graphic designer?” You may not realize there is any difference, but there is. The purpose of this blog is to help explain what they are. As a designer who has worked as both a graphic artist and a graphic designer, I understand the confusion. After all, graphic artists and graphic designers do have the following things in common: – Both rely on visuals to execute their work – Both work in digital and print formats – And, of course, both start with the word “graphic.” The roles of graphic artist and graphic designer actually have different objectives. Based on my experience and knowledge, I will break down the differences.
GRAPHIC ARTISTThe sole intent of a graphic artist is to create visuals that facilitate an idea or story. Sometimes there is no logic to the creation of the designs, and in other instances, the visuals are the platform for an entire story. There is no limit to the kind or amount of mediums a graphic artist can use. The design principles are not strict, but that doesn’t mean they should be disregarded. (For a refresher on the basic design elements and principles reference my blog, (“Construct, Compose, Create; A Basic Guide to Graphic Design”.) The graphic artist can bend or break some of the design rules, but only if it fits the composition or story being told. To better understand what a graphic artist might do, it may help to identify the kinds of work they produce. Some examples of what would be found in a graphic artist’s portfolio might include:
- Graphic Novels
- Comic Books
- Movie Illustrations
GRAPHIC DESIGNERThe graphic designer’s main intention is to get the viewer to interact with the content within the design. With interactivity, the viewer can read, scroll, or click through the content being displayed. In the world of graphic design, content is king, and the purpose of the design is to help optimize concise information while providing a visual platform. To better understand what a graphic designer might do, you should be able to identify the kinds of work they produce. Some examples of what would be found in a graphic designer’s portfolio might include:
- Marketing Collateral
- Print Design
- Digital Design
- Web Design
- Instructional Design
- Presentation Design
- Logo Design
CONCLUSIONSGraphic designers must follow strict guidelines due to the parameters of the content and medium (i.e., brochure, website, poster, etc.), but graphic artists have more relaxed guidelines due to the unlimited possibilities for ideas and stories. For graphic designers, content is of the utmost importance, so it must be taken through the process of laying out the composition. The designer cannot create visuals without understanding the content it will facilitate. For graphic artists, if there is no story involved, the visual possibilities are endless, and if the design is dependent on an abstract thought, it is almost impossible to set guidelines. The main difference between a graphic designer or graphic artist is the importance of the imagery within the work. A graphic designer’s main intention is to facilitate content, and a graphic artist’s main intention is to facilitate an idea or story. They both involve visuals and can be in various forms of media, and both are essential because they facilitate different needs in the visual realm.
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