The Difference Between Illustration and Graphic Design

A large number of people seem to of the idea graphic design and illustration are one and the same and can not distinguish between the two. For them, both are more or less the same. But there is in fact a clear difference between the two. A graphic designer must clearly know this difference for a better understanding of the work in hand.

Graphic design and illustration are two separate creative fields. But they tend to overlap sometimes. Usually, graphic design is more seen as a commercial art. Illustration is viewed mostly as a fine art.

Graphic design is more about communicating with a target audience, while illustration is concerned mostly about a creative interpretation. Milton Glaser says, ‘To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.’

While illustration was once a dominating force in the creative world, now graphic design has become a huge part of contemporary culture. Graphic design is everywhere in the modern world. In fact, many graphic design works are considered as a new art form. For example, some logo designs by legendary graphic designers have become part of a culture. In fact, illustration jobs are ebbing away as graphic design is becoming commonplace.


Here Are Some Main Differences Between Graphic Design And Illustration

What is Illustration?

An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in published media, such as posters, flyers, magazines, books, teaching materials, animations, video games and films. An illustration is typically created by an illustrator. Illustration also means providing an example; either in writing or in picture form.

Therefore, the job of an illustrator is to provide a visual representation of an associated text or idea. So, we can say that an illustration is a drawing or a picture. It can be an act of creating the drawing, or an example to prove or explain something. For example, a picture accompanying a magazine article is an illustration.

What do Illustrators do?

An illustrator is an artist who creates commercial designs and images. Some illustrators work with traditional media, utilizing watercolors or oil paint to produce their designs. They often produce works for publications such as children’s books, newspapers, and magazines to highlight the text.

Others may use illustration and editing software to create digital images. These kinds of illustrators work in a variety of industries; their job duties may include designing images for apparel, accessories for toys, or sketching interior design or architectural prints. Manufacturers also use illustrators to create product packaging, while advertising companies hire illustrators to work on marketing materials.

However, an illustrator has to take some care. The illustrator does not aim at drawing a direct attention of the viewers to the whole of illustration. Still, the viewers are not distracted from the illustrator. The illustrator adds character to the main illustration. But the intention is only to make it notice. The illustrators have no such intention that viewers should focus on it.


What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typographyphotography, and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term “graphic design” is used synonymously.

Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages. They use typographyvisual arts, and page layout techniques to create visual compositions. Common uses of graphic design include corporate design (logos and branding), editorial design (magazines, newspapers and books), wayfinding or environmental designadvertisingweb designcommunication design, product packaging, and signage.

Charles Eames says that ‘Design is an expression of the purpose, and it may (if it is good enough) later be judged as art; design depends largely on constraints and it is a method of action (there are always constraints and these usually include ethic).’

How Does A Graphic Designer Work?

Graphic designers are usually glued to their computers while creating logo designs etc using the mouse. You cannot offer a job of a graphic designer to an illustrator unless a professional knows has expertise in both these types of works. These fields require a different set of skills.An illustrator moves around and does drawing and painting in sketchbooks.

A graphic designer aims at conveying a message to target audience. To do so, there is a careful selection of design elements of colors, typefaces, images, symbols, and others. For example, the designer may aim at evoking an emotion of passion and aggressiveness from the young audience. To evoke such emotions, the designer may incorporate red color. In case, a brand message is about hope and brightness, then yellow may the color of choice.

A graphic designer takes a client’s brief seriously to create a logo design, website design, and other graphic designs. The designer will also do some research into the client’s business. There is always a target audience that a graphic designer intends to target in a design. Therefore, the designer wants to know more about the audience.

Then, a designer will pick colors and fonts that can evoke the particular set of emotions to target customers of a client.

When it comes to picking a right colour scheme, a professional designer knows which set of colours and shades can convey a set of emotions. There are normally not more than two colours in a good design. More colours are incorporate only when it is absolutely necessary and is a requirement from a client.

Similarly, the right choice of typeface depends on many factors. For example, creative use of typeface in a graphic design is about giving a personality to the design. For example, a law office logo will be designed using serif fonts to create a formal environment of law offices and services. A company making children’s toys or other product is likely to have a funny looking logo. Such a logo will be created using handwritten fonts.

Overall, a graphic designer picks each element to create a simple design. So, there are usually one or two colours and typefaces used in a logo, business card design etc. The aim here is to convey a brand message instantly at the first glance.


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