Graphic Design: An art form?

From Getty Images

Getty Images

Whenever graphic design is discussed or mentioned, it is usually associated with being an art form. Art is what it is. It is there to be aesthetically pleasing and it is meant to make us think. Art takes us to places that we may have fathomed but never explored. It is a glimpse into the artist’s mind, imagination and/or subconscious. The artwork may inspire its viewer to think or create. Or it might cross the viewer’s mind until many years from the initial viewing.

According to, art is:

the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

Yes, graphic designers can be lumped in with artists, yet very rarely do designers receive a chance to express their own opinions in a(n) ad, spread, brochure, mailer or event poster. Any decorative elements displayed in the media must be done in order to further the idea of the product or client. Rarely is a designer ever asked to “do what they feel” in the design industry. I think that’s where many universities and colleges make a mistake. In school, you’re given projects where sky’s the limit. There is a imaginary client in mind but pretty much it’s understood that the client will like whatever you put out there. As a student, it is learned much later that it’s about what the client wants and needs rather what the designer thinks look pretty on paper.

Graphic design can be considered an art form as well as a conversation. As a designer (graphic, web, logo, etc.), it is our job start the conversation between the consumer and the producer. In a blink of an eye, the designer conveys through photos, drawing or text, how great this product or service is and why this consumer needs this in his or her life. From there the subliminal messages start to wreak havoc on the concious mind and convince the buyer that what is being stated (this product will make me cool, pretty, look younger,  etc.) is true.

Imagination is key in art. Artists and designers gather inspiration from everything that they encounter. But graphic designers do have to research before they make that leap from mind to mouse. If they aren’t familiar with it, they must research the industry or market that their client is apart of. Artists can move from mind to canvas or paper without any fuss from anyone.

An artist isn’t required to work around a viewer. The viewer either purchases the piece and grows to love it or they move on to the next available artwork. A graphic designer is required to work around a client. The project isn’t finished until the client feels that all of their needs have been met.

There are ways that designers and artists are alike. Graphic designers do inspire others much like artists. Many times designers inspire other designers (interior, web, etc.) through their designs, logos, posters, business cards, etc Many times like artists, designers bring elements back into the mainstream like grunge, paisley designs, etc.

Do you consider graphic design to be art? Why or why not?


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