Graphic Artist vs. Graphic Designer

If graphics are your passion, graphic artists and graphic designers will be the right job for you. But if you have to choose either, which one should you choose?

It seems to be a difficult question. So you must compare these two careers to find the answer. Both jobs use graphic theories and skills to work. So, how are they different?

To help you answer, we will compare these two jobs together on some targets. Read this article carefully to determine your favorite one!

What is a Graphic Artist?

A graphic artist is an innovative expert. People working in this field produce visual documents to transmit information. This information may be emotions or stories. Also, they can work in traditional and digital media.

To perform their duties, they must use the principle of art. Besides, they may be theoretical or abstract principles.

Graphic Artist

Also, they are good at using specialized software. They even know how to draw hands and use many creative tools. Some of the products they create include:

  • Book cover
  • Pictures for the movie
  • Print pictures for clothes or magazines
  • Background for video or animation games
  • Art for advertising

What is a Graphic Designer?

Meanwhile, graphic designers combine content based on images and text. They often do not use drawing skills. Instead, they will use the available images and texts. From there, they designed and produced the final product.

So they must be able to read and arrange materials. Only then can they satisfy customers with their technical products.

Besides, they often work in the field of media. As a result, their purpose is to convey the message to customers. Hence, customers will know the brand or product they are collaborating on.

Graphic Designer

Currently, we can see many products of graphic designers in life. For example:

  • Leaflets
  • Magazine layout
  • Print ads
  • Digital banners
  • Posters
  • The brand identity

Key Differences

Graphic artists and graphic designers all produce design works. But they have different tasks and play different roles. Therefore, we will compare these two professions based on learning curves, duties, and more.

Learning Curves

Graphic artists learn design skills, editors, and drawing techniques. Moreover, they must have a deep knowledge of design, advertising, and more.

Meanwhile, graphic designers must learn to develop visual designs from previous materials. But they do not use many drawing skills. Many people admit that they don’t even know how to draw.

Graphic artists must learn more skills. So their learning curves are somewhat slope. As a result, you will take more time and effort to master those skills.

However, there is also a similarity between these two jobs. Both must know the basic principles and how to use design software. Besides, they have to learn the market and brand before doing work.


Many people think that these two jobs have similar tasks. However, their duties are different.

For example, graphic artists create original art products to convey a message. Meanwhile, graphic designers use the materials available to create intuitive designs.

Specifically, the tasks of an artist can be:

  • Creating original artwork
  • Developing concepts
  • Adapting artwork
  • Production sketch

On the other hand, graphic designers’ daily work includes:

  • Creating visual designs
  • Selecting and using appropriation design software
  • Preparing files for print or digital publication

Career Paths

Honestly, the career path of both jobs may vary depending on many factors. Their skills and interests will define their career goals. Although there is some overlapping between the two fields, the paths they pursue may vary significantly.

First, the jobs for graphic artists may include:

  • Illustrator
  • Concept Artist
  • Fine Artist
  • Cartoonist
  • Animator
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Art Director
  • Muralist
  • Comic book artist
  • Visual Development Artist

Meanwhile, the career path for the last one can be:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Art Director
  • Web designer
  • UX/UI Designer
  • Brand Identity Designer
  • Packaging Designer
  • Motion Graphics Designer
  • Advertising Designer
  • Marketing Designer
  • Publication designer

It can be seen that the career path of the first one is more diverse. So you will have more choices when following it.


How much your income depends on many factors. In this case, experience and geographical position will affect your salary. But these two jobs have different salaries if placed in a reference system.

According to our research, graphic artists can earn about $90,000 per year. Meanwhile, the salary for the job of a graphic designer is higher. On average, they can receive nearly $100,000.

These figures show that you will have a higher salary opportunity if you become a graphic designer. Yet, note that they are only average data. So you can earn more or less depending on your skills.

Job Outlooks

In short, both of these jobs have positive prospects. We all know that businesses always want to promote their products and services. But if we have to compare, we will still find the winner.

According to BLS, the need for graphic artists will increase by about 4% by 2030. Meanwhile, the demand for the last one will only increase by about 3%.

Although the difference is tiny, you will have more job opportunities when you become a graphic artist. But you can always find the right job if you are good at skills. So in this case, both jobs give you a bright future.

Work Environments

Honestly, the working environment for these two jobs may vary depending on the industry, the owner, and the specific job role. So, we will list some of their working environment:

Graphic artist work environment:

  • Good artists can work in their studios. Besides, many people work in public spaces, such as galleries and museums.
  • Comic artists can work in publishing companies. Also, they can work in advertising companies. Or even they can choose a freelancing job.
  • Cartoon filmmakers can work in the film industry, TV, video games, or similar industries.

Meanwhile, for graphic designers:

  • They can work in advertising agencies or marketing companies. Also, they can cooperate with the design studio.
  • Web designers and UX/UI can work for web development companies.

We can see that both occupations can work in a cooperative environment. Besides, many experts work as freelancers. As a result, this benefit allows them to work at home or in a studio space.

They are all creative and dynamic working environments!

Comparison Table

Now, look at this comparison table to summarize what we have just discussed:

Graphic ArtistGraphic Designer
Learning CurvesSteeperEasier
DutiesCreating original artworkCreating visual designs
Career PathsMore diverseFewer choice
Job OutlooksEmployment demand will increase by 4%Employment demand will increase by 3%
Work EnvironmentsMore diverseFewer choice

Which Should You Choose?

In short, both are attractive. So what one should you choose? The final answer depends on you.

First, consider your strengths in drawing and other art techniques. Then compare your skills in graphic design software. So you can become a graphic artist if you are good at painting and design.

Besides, consider your career goals. Do you want to create cartoons? Or do you want to create visual designs for brands? If you prefer the first one, the graphic artist is right for you, and vice versa.

As for wages and working environment, both of these jobs are very attractive. Because, they all give you a high source of income and a working environment.

Thus, please consider the factors we have analyzed to make a wise choice!

Final Verdict

Does this comparison answer your questions? Although they have different points, many people can do both at once. So you must consider your interests and skills to choose the right job.

If, besides design skills, you can draw, choose the work of the graphic artist. If you love the image and text layout, the second one is a good choice. To know more about many other jobs, update our latest articles!