Art vs Graphic Design

art vs graphic design


Being an artist and graphic designer I’ve always thought of myself as an artist in both of these careers even though Art and Graphic Design are seen as two different categories. But can Graphic Design really be seen as Art and what is Art vs Graphic Design?

While both artists and graphic designers create their own visual interpretation and composition using their skill set and talent they have accumulated over the years, it can be quite an argument to have when saying that they are the same thing but when you have a look at why both create these illusions and illustrations you will find that they are in fact quite the opposite.

Many designers just like me consider themselves to be an artist but many artist don’t see themselves as designers. Why is that? Does that contribute to the reason why they could be so very different? Let’s take a look at why they could be distinctively different.


One of the main differences each of these aspects are the way they are interpreted by the audiences that see them as well as the demographic.

Art can easily be interpreted in many different ways either to channel emotion, a viewpoint, state of mind or even an intuitive feeling. Art is carried over to various individuals who then attach their own myriad meaning to it. The creation of art isn’t always just bound to one explanation and might carry a diverse meaning across to people and people interpret things differently.

For example the Mona Lisa; any people have seen this art deliberated that she could indeed be smiling, others have taken a look and come to the conclusion that she isn’t, romantics say that she could be in love and skeptics say that there’s no reason.

Graphic Design on the other hand needs to carry out the same message across to their audiences. It is made to motivate the audience into doing something and react according to however the message is put out. If the message that’s being conveyed over to the audience is not understood, this Graphic Design has failed its purpose. A good piece of Graphic Design conveys the exact message that needs to be understood by the viewer to motivate them into doing something.


Ever since I can remember I could draw. Drawing, painting and filling my blank page with the most diverse colours and details. After spending many years developing my abilities, I can finally make very good pieces ranging from fantasy to realistic. There is a bit of an overlap here: growing up drawing and then acquiring more skill growing up, but if artistic skill is without some sort of talent than being an artist carries no meaning.

Design is taught and learned. When I first started off as a designer I would admit it was quite difficult learning that I now have to convey an understood and clear message across to my audience. Having to learn all the design and colour elements that make up good design to achieve my objectives was something that needed to be taught and remembered to succeed as a designer. Being minimalistic to capture people’s attention was the way to go in contrast to where I could put as much detail and colours into my drawings as I wanted.

Some of the greatest designers pay close attention to positioning, spacing and sizing and all of this can only be taught without having any artistic skills.


Yes this is a point on its own because even though many designers see themselves as artists they aren’t quite so.

Designers make visual communications and problem-solving possible using a process that consists of typography, photography and illustration. Creating something visual that might be visually attractive to hang on a wall and admired but creating something that has visual compositions, carrying out a specific purpose or carrying out a specific purpose, no matter how good-looking it is, isn’t art. This however is a form of communication that contains a message.

Very few artist don’t consider themselves as designers maybe because they seem to understand the difference better. They don’t create their art to sell or promote a certain product or service. The art they create is solely used to express themselves in a creative and artistic manner, so others can see it and appreciate what they made. The message that’s conveyed through that is feeling.


This could also be seen as one of the main differences to what each of their purposes are or represent. Art is started on a blank canvas that is filled with the Artists emotions and self-expressions that first started within themselves. They create these pieces to show others how they feel or see things in this world and that in return carries out a feeling to which the viewer can relate to, learn from or be inspired by.

Many famous paintings today carry out strong emotions and thoughts that viewers relate to.

When a designer designs they most probably start with a fixed starting point, knowing the message, image, idea or action that needs to be conveyed over to the audience. Creating something from scratch isn’t what is asked but rather to communicate something that exists to serve a purpose.

Motivating their audience to do something is the main objective of such a design to either buy a product, using a service, learn information or visiting a certain location.

Skilled designers use the most cost effective ways possible to convey a strong, understandable and clear message towards their audience to evoke an action to carry out a task.


Taste relates more to people’s likes and dislikes other than the message that was taken from it. Interpreting a piece of art can take into account whether you like or dislike whatever or however it was used that’s on the canvas to make you feel.

The biggest difference between a good and bad design is largely a matter of opinion even though it still has an element of taste.

The success of a design can still be accomplished no matter what your taste is. A design needs to be understood and evoke motivation. If it is, the objective has been reached, despite the fact of someone’s good or bad opinion of it.

With all this said, I still think that Graphic Design can be seen as art. A different form of art which can be appreciated by all. Even with an underlying message the designs of the images, fonts and illustrations still make it appealing to our eyes that, yes, we might want to hang on our walls. Design can be taught and learned over the years but still it needs an artistic point of view to look visually appealing. Knowing what colours, fonts, illustrations and images to combine can be taught but having them play together in harmony takes an artistic eye that requires talent. Even if you are a designer I’m not saying that you don’t have talent you’re just an artist who uses digital software to convey a clear message without any broad interpretation.

So whether you draw with a pen or mouse use your talent and skills to encourage and inspire the world. Want to be an artist that inspires but not sure how to? Check out my Art and follow my Pinterest for more inspiration.