Illustrator vs. Graphic Designer

Illustrator vs. Graphic Designer

Because graphic design and illustration are closely related fields which sometimes overlap, it is important for people hiring graphic designers and illustrators to understand the difference between graphic design and illustration work. Both graphic design and illustration can be creative fields in their own ways, but a graphic designer will generally spend more time working on the complete image and format, while an illustrator focuses on bringing one small part of the big picture to life. Although graphic designers and illustrators generally have the same goal in mind for a project, the difference between graphic design and illustration lies in who does what part of the job to achieve the common end result.

What Graphic Designers Do

While illustration is sometimes considered to be more like a fine art, graphic design work is more commercial. The goal of graphic design is generally to convey a message or persuade an audience. Graphic designers convey a message by communicating visual information. A graphic design professional is typically involved in page layout, typography, branding, and image development.

What Illustrators Do

Illustration work requires a more creative visualization, such as using pictures or drawings to visually represent or decorate the text on a page. Illustrators sometimes also do design work and are able to excel in both fields. An illustrator might be a great designer, but the reverse will not necessarily be true.

How Graphic Design and Illustration Professionals Work Together

In most professional settings, the graphic designer determines the call for illustration. The designer requires an image, and this work is assigned to an illustrator. An illustrator creates a picture, and a graphic designer decides how the picture will be used in the layout.


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