Art is often subjected to questions about what qualifies as actual art and what is simply an object or image. A graphic designer can create without being an artist or create anything they consider to be art. However, the graphic designers can also be considered as artists.
Whether a graphic designer is an artist or not is largely up to the individual themselves. While they can create something without the intent for it to be art, it can be viewed by society as art, or used in some other way to become art, such as a collage.
The idea of art is very intangible and malleable, but there are a few things that you can look at to see whether or not a specific graphic design is art.
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A lot of what defines something as art is the intent behind it. If someone draws a picture with the intent to think of it as art, then it is art. However, if you draw a map of your location so your friend can find you, that is just a thing that was intended to serve a singular purpose and wouldn’t necessarily be considered as art.
When a graphic designer creates something, often there is the intent that it will be art. But if they do not intend for something to be viewed as art, and rather think of it as simply serving a function, then it is safe to say that the specific work in question is not art.
If you are unsure about whether or not something is or was intended to be art, look for any imagery in the image. The vast majority of art has some kind of meaning and imagery used in the work.
A graphic designer who is not intending to make art will only care about the form as a conduit for whatever it needs to be, so there won’t be any imagery in their completed product. An artist will be sure to have some kind of meaning to their art that doesn’t have to do with function.
Often, graphic designers will make illustrations for media such as animated films, television shows, or graphic novels. Artist David Kracov began his work in animation, therefore, his work in animation and graphic design would be considered art.
Chances are that you may not have considered animated movies and shows as art before because you might have been more focused on the plot and the voice acting. However, there is a lot of work put into this form by graphic artists, who have to design all the settings and characters, then draw out the frames of the film or show.
There are many famous art movements that challenge what it means to be art or to be an artist. Examples of this are dadaism and pop art, which both incorporate typically non-artistic objects, images, or figures into a piece of art, transforming the ordinary into a statement.
In this way, a lot of things that you might have considered to be art become art. Graphic design might fall into this category.
Genre has a way of complicating the idea of what art is. Many people disagree about what constitutes art, depending on the genre. For example, some people don’t see some modern artworks that are just squares on a canvas as art. Or, they would not see street art as actual art.
Graphic design is similar to that line of thinking. Even if the graphic designer themself thinks of their work as art, it may not be interpreted that way by everyone who looks at it.