Graphic Artist Vs. Graphic Designer:

A Comprehensive Guide to Your Creative Career

Are you a creative mind wondering about the difference between a graphic artist and a graphic designer? While both professions revolve around the use of digital tools for creative expression, the career path, responsibilities, educational requirements, and even the salary can significantly vary. This article explores the distinguishing factors between these two roles, helping you align your artistic passion with your professional aspirations.

What is a Graphic Artist?

A graphic artist is a creative professional who utilizes both traditional and digital media to craft visual narratives that invoke emotions, tell stories, and convey messages. They experiment with software, digital photography, hand drawings, painting, collage, and other artistic tools to create projects that range from book covers and film storyboards to designs for home decor or clothing, backdrops for video games, and art for advertisements.

What is a Graphic Designer?

Unlike graphic artists, graphic designers are commercial artists who create visual and text-based content that meets clients’ objectives. They work to ensure readability and aesthetically pleasing layouts using the principles of graphic design: pattern, contrast, emphasis, balance, scale, harmony, rhythm, and movement. Graphic designers often create flyers, digital banners, print advertisements, posters, magazine layouts, and branding guidelines such as font designs and logo creation.

Skills Required for Each Profession

The skills required for graphic artists and graphic designers do differ. While designers employ problem-solving skills to arrange text and images in a clear and appealing way, artists focus more on emotive communication. They narrate stories and are less bound by specific rules. Furthermore, graphic artists often work as freelancers, while designers typically work within creative teams executing marketing strategies.

Educational Requirements for Graphic Artists and Graphic Designers

While both graphic artists and graphic designers may be self-taught, holding a post-secondary degree and certifications can be beneficial. A graphic designer typically has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related arts field, with coursework in studio art, design principles, commercial graphic production, website design, marketing, business, and more.

A graphic artist, on the other hand, may hold a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts or fine arts, with specialization options in areas such as design, illustration, or photography. They can take classes in animation, video graphics, digital arts, drawing, game, and interactive media design.


  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Graphic Designers, Job Outlook,” Accessed August 24, 2022.






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