Navigation Menu+

Is Graphic Design Art?


My graphic design business is located within Water Street Studios in Batavia; I am a resident artist, nestled among photographers, jewelry designers, ceramicists, sculptors and painters. At a recent gallery opening, a visitor to my studio looking at some of the work on my walls commented “But this isn’t really art.” I will argue that  “graphic design, with its own traditions and esthetic principles, deserves to be considered an art as much as architecture, photography and other functional forms of visual expression.”*

The same basic design principles, balance, contrast, unity, rhythm, movement, pattern, emphasis, used in fine art are also applied to graphic design. A good designer must master these principles, have a strong sense of aesthetics, and a high level of creativity and craftsmanship.  In addition to these skills, a designer also needs to have the technical knowledge to execute their work in print or online.

Art is a creative interpretation of a concept. The designer creates to interpret and communicate.  A designer usually creates work for a client or employer, and a fine artist may create commissioned work. Admittedly, not all designers are artists, nor are all artists able to design. Graphic design is an applied art, which is
any type of art done with a practical application; the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use.”**

Graphic Design is not an art? School of the Art Institute of Chicago, School of Visual Arts, and Cranbrook Academy of Art might be surprised to learn this. These fine arts institutions, among others, offer degrees in graphic design / visual communications. Take a look at the examples of everyday art that surround you – packaging, logo design, magazines, posters. Then take a moment to appreciate the artistry.