One of the most important things for Graphic Designers to understand is that we are not artists. This doesn’t mean we can’t be, of course we can. In fact, is not unusual for designers to work as artists, even in cases when they shouldn’t.

Let me clarify what I’m referring to before I gain the hate of the whole designing community.

The main difference between a Graphic Designer and an artist is the purpose of what we create. A designer creates images with marketing purpose. We are always working to convey specific messages, to sell something, to reach a specific audience, to achieve a particular goal, while artists don’t, they focus on expressing themselves. 

San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk by Claude Monet

World of Tanks Blitz Flyer

 It may seem like a minor thing to consider or even paying attention to, but it is one of the biggest problems Graphic Designers faces on a regular basic. It is not uncommon for designers to forget that their goal is not to create something visually amazing, but to design something effective, that achieves its goal.

…our goal is to be as effective as we can be, not as artistic as we want to be.

This is very easy to overlook, specially when the designer is part of the targeted demographic. It is when we have to design something we don’t like that we are reminded that our goal is not to create art but to design graphics that would send a specific message to a specific group of people.

Here’s a good example of Black Friday ads, both with very different styles while still being effective. Rite Aid ad is sending a clear message: “come and get stuff cheap” this is great for people looking for sales and saving opportunities. Victoria’s Secret is saying something a bit different: come and get something you would like. 

Both ads send clear messages regardless of how much we like them or not, and at the end of the day, as designers, that is what we must focus on, sending a clear message to a particular demografic.

As designers we have to not only be able, but be willing to design whatever is necessary to achieve our goal, regardless of how much we like or dislike the style, look and feel of what we are designing. We should never forget that our goal is to be as effective as we can be, not as artistic as we can be.