Design and illustration are increasingly accessible to anyone interested in these arts, which also raises greater doubts about both disciplines.
These are easy to confuse because these art forms are closely related and intertwined. Several artists confuse both creative fields between illustration and graphic design.
So you ask yourself, what is the difference between graphic design and illustration?
In this note, we explain it to you in detail so that there are no doubts and you can choose either of the two options or who knows and you venture to study both arts.
What is graphic design?
When do we think about the question: what is graphic design? Many things come to mind, like art ads, website graphics, posters, info-graphics, book covers, and the list goes on.
So what is a graphic design? If we start listing examples, this would be a good start to get a visual idea of what we are talking about, but we also need an overview to understand this artistic and creative field better.
More simply, the graphic design communicates messages in attractive visual communication. These visual elements could be a company logo or website design. Everything is very relative according to the objective and the request of the companies.
What is graphic design for?
Graphic design helps companies promote and sell products or services through advertising, taking graphic and textual elements to implement them in different digital or traditional media.
It also serves to help convey complicated information in a digestible way through info-graphics or to develop graphic identity (branding).
Many graphic design projects use commercial purposes such as advertisements and logos. It is also used in other contexts such as artistic manifestations, social projects, or education.
What is illustration?
The illustration is a visual way of representing or illustrating the written text. They help explain an idea, tell a story, or decorate.
It works both traditionally and digitally.
Drawings, both in black and white and in color, are among the most widely used illustration styles. Pencil drawings allow for smooth lines such as thick or thin edges.
What is the digital illustration for?
Digital illustration serves in different specialties. One of the most common uses is in editorial design. According to the Barcelona School of Design, digital illustration is used in:
- Graphic design: Illustrations serve to contextualize or enhance messages.
- Promotional materials: Illustrations are used to promote events, enhance corporate calendars and magazines.
- Brand creation: Also called branding. Many brands choose illustrations for the visual representation of their company.
- Web design: Among millions of images on the web, illustrations are a good alternative to stand out.
Charcoal drawings can create more dramatic shadows and are almost always the preferred tool for illustrating stories.
Illustrations can be found anywhere: magazines, books, posters, advertising materials, digital, educational, etc. In online channels, we will almost always see illustrations created freehand (using a digital tablet).
An important point of illustrations is that they have the freedom to exist without the need for words. They have the power to communicate ideas through their illustrative self-talk.
Differences between graphic design and illustration
The main difference between them is how and where they are used. Generally, graphic design is more commercial, while illustration is related to fine arts.
In recent years most commercial projects use moving images that make them turn to illustrations, so these differences become less obvious over time.
Illustrations (people) and design (layout) have been worked on this image.
Following are some differences to take into account about design and illustration:
The focus of graphic design is often commercial. The professionals who create these images are thinking of communicating something visually.
The main objective of design is to convey a message that impacts the viewer to buy or simply letting everyone know: "x brand is very cool."
Illustrators show their style through their work. Illustrator Norman Rockwell frequently includes a message in his illustrations, but in this case, due to his style, the message is almost as important as the drawing.
The main job of graphic design is to communicate, be very precise, and combine text with images. A graphic design that has a confusing message is bad.
On the other hand, if an illustration has an unclear or ambiguous message, it can be considered abstract and interesting.
In a book, illustrations can grab your attention, but if someone ignores a graphic design, they did not communicate their work well.
We hope that you now have the clearest concepts about graphic design and illustration. They both have great creative work and technical excellence. You can practice design and illustration and, along the way choose which tool you find most exciting.