Difference between Graphic Design and Illustration

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.


Graphic designers hold onto their anonymity more so than illustrators, as their focus is in communicating someone else’s ideas through classic design elements. Illustrators are often sought out based on their personal aesthetic and artistic skill. Dragon Fruit Pouch Mockup


What is Illustration?


Illustrations are a visual way to portray or illustrate a written text. They might help explain an idea or tell a story or provide decoration. They come in many forms both traditional and digital.


Illustrations are found anywhere, especially in published media like magazines, books, posters, educational materials and flyers. In the digital space of websites and mobile apps, you’ll often find illustrations created by both freehand (using a digital tablet, for example) and vector graphics (using color and shapes to mimic an illustrative style).


Illustrations have the unique freedom to exist without words, but still have the power to communicate ideas through their vivid storytelling. Details like expressions on characters’ faces help illustrations evoke deep emotion and connection.


What is Graphic Design?


Graphic design is the art and profession of using visual compositions to solve problems and communicate ideas through typography, imagery, color and form. While illustration focuses on creative interpretation, graphic design is all about communication with its target audience. Marketing and branding strategies (rather than text or stories) typically fuel the direction of graphic designers.


The types of graphic design are wide ranging in both the print and digital worlds. Posters, fliers, business cards, packaging, billboards, and logos are a few examples of predominantly physical print works, while email marketing and web design dominate the digital landscape.


Graphic design often begins with visual identity, a type of design that communicates a brand’s personality, story and emotion through logos, typography, color palettes, images, and style guidelines to ensure consistency through all other designs.


Marketing has traditionally been focused on print materials, like flyers, magazine and newspaper ads. Publication designers produce layouts, hand-pick typography and arrange artwork for long-form projects, like books, newspapers, magazines and catalogs. Packaging designers communicate directly to consumers through the physical products. Environmental design unites design and architecture to create engaging spaces through signage, murals and exhibition displays.


The internet has also opened up other ways for graphic designers to bring brand awareness through digital channels. User interface and experience (UI/UX) designers focus on how to make more enriching interactions between users and desktop apps, mobile apps, web apps and games. Motion graphics design for online media, TV and film crafts ads, trailers, GIFs, web banners and presentations. Glossy Lipstick Packaging Mockup


Illustrator Vs. Graphic Designer


Graphic Designers


A graphic designer mostly works on many marketing and promotional materials such as layout, text, arranging fonts, images, illustrations, and other graphic bits in a beautiful composition.

It focuses more on creating logos, creating marketing materials, and doing branding. They mostly service companies for the purpose of sort of marketing or advertising — where the end pieces intend to increase the sales of the product and create brand recognition.


Most of the time, graphic design work involves the creation of advertising materials, in the form of posters, flyers, business cards, logos, email marketing, etc.

Although sometimes they do a little bit of illustrator role and Photoshop as well. But their primary focus is going to be the InDesign.


The internet has also offered a massive opportunity for graphic designers to bring brand awareness through digital channels. They can now make more enriching interactions between users, apps, and games by becoming a user interface and experience (UI/UX) designers.


A graphic designer always bears in mind that their work should conceive and deliver brand messages.




Illustrators create manually hand-drawn or digital art (using Wacom tablet, Cintiq, iPad, or other devices) that are original to the artist. It may communicate an emotion or represent a current trend.


Illustrators can create commercial work for companies’ advertising projects — for example, designing for product packaging. But they can simply be fine artists as well.


They create things like magazine spreads; they also do a lot of book cover illustrations, graphic novels, and infographics.