A while ago, I got a little testy with a person who honestly didn’t know the difference between a Graphic Artist and Graphic Designer. I apologized after the fact, explaining that I had experienced more than my share of having to play “clean up” when you hire the wrong one, in the past two weeks. In a nutshell, here’s the difference:
Graphic Artists may or may not have schooling in design, but probably have taken art courses, or even software courses to learn how to create artwork. Graphic Artists are typically employed in screen print shops, manufacturing, and production type jobs. Graphic Artists could even be illustrators that work in very graphic mediums (think M.C. Escher). Graphic Artists produce artwork.
On the other hand, Graphic Designers solve visual communication problems. They have had specific training in design, color, typography, information management, concept development and more, and are trained to filter information through a process to design. To have a title of Graphic Designer, you’ve likely earned a four year Bachelor of Arts Degree, with a concentration in Graphic Design, or you’ve been in the field long enough to earn your stripes.
It’s the difference between creating something through emotion, science and process, vs. producing something as an end result. The purpose of graphic design is to solve problems. (So don’t hire a Graphic Artist to solve a problem, hence my testiness!) You need a logo designed for your company? You hire a Graphic Designer; you need a logo re-drawn for artwork, you hire a Graphic Artist. The two are not interchangeable.
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