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Graphic Design vs. Art

Jeff Sheldon Unsplash

Jeff Sheldon Unsplash

Is there really a difference?

Art has been described as any number of creative items meant to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. 

Graphic Design is described as "process of visual communication and problem-solving using one or more of typography, illustration, or photography".

So what's the difference?

With so much cross discipline work these days, that line is continually muddied. Many graphic designers are artists as well, being trained in "traditional" arts. My design background was born from fine arts - painting, sculpting, drawing, and printmaking. Before design fundamentals I had to learn art fundamentals (including lonnnng stretches of art history classes). Not all design schools do it this way, but I feel lucky that mine did. 

Not all artists learn the foundations of design. While Graphic design and Art have some overlap, Graphic design is usually more technical in nature, and has a more commercial application. While most Art is indeed done for a purpose and a message, that message isn't always about the "sell". 

A graphic designer creating a poster can utilize art to make their message stronger, and an artist can use graphic design to enhance their art and make commercial projects if they choose. While the two are intertwined with each other, they still have certain key features that make them unique.