Graphic Design Vs Digital Arts | What is the Difference Between Design & Art?

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Updated December 16th, 2017

Everyday graphic designers around the world cringe to here what their Auntie Sherry thinks they do. I have heard all the doozies.

  • Graphics Designer
  • “Hey, your the graphics guy!”
  • Can you draw me a race car…
  • “You’re a graphic designer, so you can paint, right?”
  • “How much would it cost for you to paint me a portrait of my daughter”
  • “Hey media guy, when you are finished with that, can you help…the server just crashed.
  • And many more!

What do you think graphic designers do? Comment below… I am so curious!


1 ) What are the skillsets of a Graphic Designer

I think this is probably what gets people most confused. Well studied graphic designers will have a strong background in the foundational principles of design and we can apply our skills to many forms of creativity.

This is most exemplified on the resume of your  average graphic design portfolio. You will see a combination of the following:

  • Proficient in the follow programs
    • Illustrator
    • inDesign
    • Photoshop
    • WordPress (Web Design)
    • Premiere Pro
  • Supporting Skills
    • Photography
    • Videography
    • HTML 5
    • CSS
    • Vector Illustration
    • ect…

They list numerous skills where they have dabbled in their craft. The Problem with this is that we have lumped ourselves into a generalists category. NOT GOOD.


2 ) What does the term Graphic Designer truly mean

When “Graphic Design was first coined in 1922 by William Addison Dwiggins Graphic Design was and still should be considered as follows: the process of visual communication and problem-solving using one or more of typography, photography and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term “graphic design” is used synonymously.

Example of Design from the 1900’s

In 1922 they were not using computers to create these visual composition. Instead they would incorporate paintings from an artist, handwritten typography, and photographs to create advertisements, brochures, magazines, etc… It was a long era of cut and paste. Do you remember your mom’s Creative Memories scrapbooking? Just imagine a super pro version of that (although I am sure your mom was an epic scrap-booker).

Tools of a Graphic Designer

Layman’s Terms: Graphic Designers take art, photography, and written copy, then they organize the content into a visually appealing composition.






3 ) What is a Digital Artist

Man, I am glad you asked! This one is EASY. A digital artist is an artist that produces digit art.

Imagine an artist sitting in front of a canvas. Right before their brush touches the canvas swap that canvas out with a Wacom tablet!!! You now have a digital Artist.

Example of Digital Art


















The tools of a professional digital artist:

This will help you visualize the tools the Digital Artist is using.


4 ) How to develop the skills of a graphic designer.

In order to be a graphic designer that will outlast trends and flashy styles you have to develop your understanding of the foundational principles of graphic design.

  • Alignment
  • Hierarchy
  • Contrast
  • Repetition
  • Proximity
  • Balance
  • Color
  • Space

Although I learned these fundamental principles from while receiving my bachelors and Masters Degree in graphic design you can get started right now at . Like i said, I have a Masters degree in Graphic Design. But, you know what is crazy, throughout my college courses we were assigned to follow tutorials for ! So, what I paid $65,000+, you could get for $30 per month!




It’s a no brainer if you want to become a high-quality graphic designer!


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