Differences Between a Graphic Designer & an Illustrator!



If you can imagine things and turn it into reality, you have a creative cocoon ready to burst open. Two of the most prominent profiles that can interest a creative person are Graphic Designing and Illustration. Both of these might sound similar, but there is a marked difference between them in terms of job description and deliverables.

Though, both the professionals work with visual output, the nature of work, job responsibilities and technical requirements are quite different. The following pointers will compare and contrast between these two roles from different aspects:


graphic designer may use a combination of typography, visual arts and page layout techniques to produce a final result. Graphic design often refers to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated. A graphic designer works on the entire packaging of the message, which needs to be conveyed. They can work better on entire websites, brochures and other business requirements.

An illustrator is an artist who specializes in enhancing writing or elucidating concepts by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text or idea. An illustrator works on fine arts, drawings and brings out the communication in parts to make a complete picture. They can work better on logos, colour, texture and other aspects of an image.

Job Description

An illustration mainly works with the visual elements like style and texture. Today illustrators use vector softwares to create and develop wonderful 2-D line arts or pictures. Often, they resort to the traditional ways like pen and paper to convey the right emotion.

On the contrary, a graphic designer has a set guidelines and standards to follow. For them, it is not just the image, but coding, designing, typography, layout, texts, photography, videos, interactive media and a lot more. They aim to create deliverables to sell/promote a brand in the commercial space. They might need help from illustrators too. There are many basic to sophisticated softwares, which are available for graphic designers to create and implement ideas.


Graphic designers are mostly associated with website design, product packaging, image development, media and brand promotions, motion components and others. However, an illustrator focuses on logos, design of product packaging, book illustrations, magazine covers, and others.

Working Style

Graphic designers mainly work with big companies like manufacturing, automobile, or consumer products, advertising firms and others. Illustrators are mostly found in comic book houses, publishing firms, advertising agencies, fashion firms and similar organizations.

We see that both the fields are overlapping, yet different in a few respects. Both,  can work independently or complementingeach other towards the goal of a project. Sometimes, it is said, that an illustrator can be a good designer, but the reverse is not true. Because, illustration is more like an inner skill, just similar to drawing. However, both of them can work as freelancers or with creative firms or advertising agencies.

For all professionals, it is important to have proper portfolios for the sales pitch. So, if you are clear on the path that serves you best, it is time to get started and get going.

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