What Is the Difference Between Graphic Design & Illustration?

design on tablet
What Is the Difference Between Graphic Design & Illustration?

In the digital world, your brand needs to have good graphics to capture people’s attention. Clients always ask their agencies for quality graphics and illustrations to help their brands deliver the message well, and sometimes, they get confused as to who they need. If you also confuse one for the other, you might find this differentiation helpful.

Illustration vs. Graphic Design

An illustration refers to the picture, diagram, or any visual representation that makes any idea or story more attractive and easy to understand. It is the area of design that relies on creative interpretation. On the other hand, graphic design is the art of using all the elements of design to communicate one complete and clear idea that a particular audience would understand. 

The Roles of an Illustrator and Graphic Designer

To help you understand better, here is how an illustrator and graphic designer differs in their roles.

An illustrator is responsible for translating a message into a visual illustration. They help make the little details that do not particularly require people’s attention, and delivers the message or concept. With their work, they can relay a story or an idea.

Their illustrations could come in many forms, and their works are useful today in materials such as online posters, educational materials, flyers, mobile apps, and websites. These illustrations can be created freehand or by using vector graphics. Even without words, illustrations could convey a message, create connection, or evoke emotions. 

A graphic designer, on the other hand, works with a more technical approach to designing. They are responsible for putting all the elements together in a comprehensive and visually appealing format while ensuring that the right people clearly understand the message. A graphic designer’s main influences are marketing and branding strategies. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Illustration and Graphic Design

Is graphic design better than illustration?

There is no better than the two as they could marry together to create a more compelling design. Each has their use and strengths, and they both complement each other. An illustration is more into making the elements while graphic design arranges all elements to emphasize the message.

Can graphic designers draw?

Drawing is not a necessary skill to become a good graphic designer. Graphic design is all about creating appealing visuals from different assets, such as typography, images, shapes, and illustrations. They combine all these elements to create a compelling and clear message. 

What is the difference between art and graphics?

Art is always dependent on the artist and how they want to create their craft. On the other hand, graphics are created using design methodologies, and they were done that way to resolve particular problems or communicate a more specific message. The difference between the two is the kind of interpretation they get. For art, it is always based on people’s understanding, while graphic design creates a visual piece to convey a particular message. 


Even if they share a similar art form, a graphic designer and an illustrator play two different roles, and all brands need the expertise of both. Through the illustrator’s skills of creatively drawing images and visual representations and the graphic designer’s knowledge on how to effectively put them together, you know that your message would be communicated well.

If you need graphic design in Montreal, contact us at We Believe That! We are a web design and development company that can help you produce quality and attractive visual designs for your business. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *