Production Artist vs. Graphic Designer

Information technology (IT) is a huge field that includes many smaller sectors. Hence, when talking about IT, we may refer to many different jobs.

For example, can you distinguish a production artist and a graphic designer? They both use software and apps to create artwork for media purposes. However, the differences between these two jobs are still noticeable.

This article will help you compare a production artist vs. graphic designer. Keep scrolling down, and you can find a way to set them apart.

What is a Production Artist?

Production artists are experts in the field of advertising or graphic design. They play a vital role in creating digital and print media artwork so the final product can meet the client’s requirements.

Production artists take the original design and refine it for production. Their tasks include layout, color adjustment, picture manipulation, and typesetting.

These artists collaborate with other members of the creative team. Each of them is responsible for different tasks.

What is a Graphic Designer?

Graphic designers are experts in visual content. They use their artwork to express ideas and messages to a target audience.

The product of graphic designers includes images, text, and other design elements. They blend well to establish a visual concept used in digital and print media.

To create patterns for different objectives, including marketing, promotion, product packaging, branding, and digital design, graphic designers use multiple tools and software applications.

Besides, graphic designers work with their clients and project managers. They first need to understand their client’s needs to design precise ideas.

Key Differences

Production artists and graphic designers are hot jobs in the IT industry. The following differences will help you set them apart.

1. Learning curves

The learning curves of both production artists and graphic designers are both challenging. Besides, since they have different duties, they have to learn different things and master different software to pull off their tasks.

Production artists need software for print production, such as Preps, Pitstop Pro, and Adobe Acrobat Pro. They also need tools for packaging design, including DeskPack, Studio, and Esko ArtPro.

In general, the best software for production artists is the one that can help them create print-ready PDFs and imposition.

For production artists, the learning curve focuses on mastering particular software applications and understanding the technical elements of production procedures.

On the contrary, graphic designers need software for digital marketing and web design, such as Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD.

They also have to use software to create motion graphics and videos. So their options are Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects.

As a result, the learning curve of graphic designers is about keeping up with the latest design trends. They should also have a great sense of aesthetics.

2. Duties

If you are a production artist, your duties will be as follows:

  • Designing and managing websites
  • Solving problems with web designs and visuals
  • Collaborating with your team to create a client’s visual campaign
  • Editing client material and websites
  • Tracking and evaluating project success metrics

And if you are a graphic designer, you will receive these duties:

  • Working with art directors and clients to understand their needs
  • Using illustrations, digital software, and multimedia materials to produce artwork
  • Editing the works according to the clients’ or directors’ request
  • Double-checking all work before releasing

3. Career paths

The career path for production artists and graphic designers varies depending on experiences and interests.

For example, production artists can be layout artists, print production managers, packaging designers, or prepress technicians.

On the other hand, career paths for graphic designers are art directors, packaging designers, UX/UI designers, and branding designers.

4. Salaries

The average annual salary for production artists is about $56,700 a year. Meanwhile, graphic designers can earn around $66,687 a year on average.

However, please note that these salaries differ depending on your role, experience, location, and the industry you work for.

5. Job outlooks

The job outlook for both jobs depends on the location and industry. However, production artists and graphic designers are in high demand because of the development of digital media.

6. Work environments

The working environment of production artists is flexible, depending on the project they join. For example, if they work on a movie, most of their time is in the studio or at the filming location. And if they have an advertising project, they will work in an office.

Meanwhile, graphic designers mostly spend their time in the office. Sometimes, they will travel to join meetings with their clients.

Comparison Table

Production ArtistGraphic Designer
Learning curvesFocused on the technical elements of production proceduresFocused on design trends and senses of aesthetics
DutiesDesigning, editing, and maintaining websites and visualsDesigning and creating artwork
Career pathsPrint production manager
Packaging designer
Layout artist
Prepress technician
Branding designer
Art director
UX/UI designer
Packaging designer
Job outlooksHigh demandHigh demand
Work environmentsFlexibleMostly in the office

Which Should You Choose?

If you are confused about career, consider the following aspects:

  • Interests: Production artists focus more on print production. Meanwhile, graphic designers work on visual materials and marketing elements.
  • Skills: You must use design software no matter your chosen job. However, production artists learn about the technical elements of production procedures, while graphic designers follow the trends and analyze aesthetic aspects.
  • Career goals: If you want to dig into the print media industry, production artists may be your favorite. In contrast, graphic designers will be more suitable if you prefer branding, digital media, or user experience design.

Final Verdict

The decision between a production artist and a graphic designer ultimately comes down to your interests, abilities, and career goals. Both are promising, so you won’t be wrong with either.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand more about the two jobs. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!