Illustration and graphic design have their similarities, but they are different in many ways.

Both these professions require the use of artistic skills to create visual images that can be used for advertising purposes or as a part of a larger project of some kind, such as a book or a television advertisement. 

In this article, we are going to be looking at what the purpose is of both graphic design and illustration. We are also going to take a look at these two professions in general. 

What Is Illustration?

Illustration is a form of art that uses visual elements such as line drawings, paintings, photographs, etc. to convey ideas and messages.

Such as being used by designers to communicate with clients about concepts and products.

Illustrations may be used on websites, books, magazines, newspapers, packaging, posters, billboards, brochures, advertisements, flyers, logos, cartoons, comics, greeting cards, T-shirts, and so much more.

The most important thing to remember about illustration is that it is not limited to one medium. You can combine different types of media together to create something unique.

An illustration can be hand-drawn, computer-generated, painted, printed, or even created using other forms of digital technology. It’s all up to you!

There are many different styles of illustration. Some illustrators work very closely with the designer who commissions them, while others prefer to work independently.

Some illustrators specialize in certain areas of illustration (such as children’s illustrations), while others focus on specific types of projects (such as corporate illustrations).

The Purpose Of Illustration

There are many reasons why people choose to use illustrations, or why one might hire an illustrator.

For example, if your company has a new product coming out, you could commission an artist to illustrate it.

If you want to promote a charity event or a cause, you could commission an illustrator to create a poster or flier promoting it.

Or maybe you need to advertise a business opportunity or a job opening. Whatever the reason, there are all sorts of purposes when it comes to illustration.

When it comes to the purpose of illustration, it really depends on the type of illustration you are creating. There are many different kinds of illustrations:

  • Commercial illustration – This is where the client wants to sell a product or service. They will usually want to make sure that the illustration looks professional and attractive.
  • Corporate illustration – This is where an organization commissions an illustrator to create artwork that represents its brand.
  • Editorial illustration – This is where someone hires an illustrator to create something that is meant to be published in a magazine, newspaper, or website.
  • Advertising illustration – This is where a person hires an illustrator to help him/her market a particular product or service.
  • Children’s illustration – This is where artists create illustrations to help teach kids about things like animals, food, and safety.

These are just a few examples of how illustration can be used for various purposes. When you are looking at hiring an illustrator, think about what kind of illustration you would like to see.

Then, ask yourself whether this type of illustration would best serve your needs.

What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is a broad term that covers everything from logos, posters, brochures, advertisements, websites, packaging, banners, and much more.

A designer will typically start off by creating a concept or idea for a client. Once this has been agreed upon, he/she will then begin designing the final piece.

There are many different tools available to a designer today.

Including the computer software programs Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher, QuarkXpress, CorelDRAW, etc. 

All of these programs allow you to manipulate and edit the image on the screen until you have designed the perfect piece.

Many graphic designers also use other tools such as 3-D modeling programs, scanners, cameras, and printers. These tools can be used to add special effects and textures to images.

The Purpose Of Graphic Design

The Purpose Of Graphic Design

As with illustration, there are various reasons why one might consider utilizing graphic design services. Some of them include:

Brand Identity 

Brand identity is important because it helps companies identify themselves. It’s not only good marketing, but it’s also good branding.

Graphic design plays a big role in helping businesses establish their brand and identities.

Marketing Materials 

Marketing materials are often created using graphic design. Companies may use them to promote products, services, events, causes, charities, political campaigns, etc.


Packaging is very important for any product or service. People need to know exactly what they are buying before they buy it.

In order to make sure that people understand what they are purchasing, graphic designers work together with manufacturers to create packages that are eye-catching, informative, and easy to read.

Brochure Design 

Brochures play a huge part in advertising. They are usually made up of text, photos, graphics, and other elements.

They are meant to inform potential customers about a company’s products and services.

Website Design 

If a website isn’t appealing, it could put people off visiting it. That’s why graphic designers are hired to create attractive websites. They can help make a site look professional and polished.

Logo Design 

Logos are very important when it comes to business. They are used to represent a company, its products, and services, and so having a logo with an excellent design is essential.

As you can see, graphic design has a wide range of purposes.

It can be used for all sorts of advertising purposes, from creating packaging for a new product to making a website more user-friendly.

The Role Of An Illustrator

An illustrator works closely with a designer to produce high-quality images.

He/she does all the sketching, drawing, coloring, shading, texturing, retouching, etc. so that the final piece looks professional. 

An illustrator’s job is to make sure that the colors, textures, lines, shapes, patterns, etc. match the original concept that was created by the designer.

This means that the illustrator must be very detail-oriented and able to accurately recreate the exact look that was originally intended. In order to do this, he/she needs to possess excellent artistic skills.

The Role Of A Graphic Designer

A graphic designer usually takes direction from a project manager, who provides him/her with the brief.

They need to know about the company, the products being sold, the target audience, etc. The designer then creates a concept based on the information provided. 

After the concept is approved, he/she begins designing the final piece. The goal here is to come up with something unique that stands out from the rest.

In order to do so, the designer needs to possess good communication skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. 

Illustration And Graphic Design, What’s The Difference?

Though both have their similarities, there is a notable difference between graphic design and illustration.

Graphic design focuses on visual compositions which are then used to communicate with a target audience via methods such as form, imagery, typography, and color.

Illustration, on the other hand, is more focused on the idea of creative interpretation, composition, and expression.

It involves using various media (e.g., pencils, pens, markers, paint, ink, charcoal, pastels, chalk, watercolors, acrylics, oils, etc.) to create art pieces.

Both of these professions require different skill sets and knowledge bases. However, they both share similar goals.

For example, both graphic designers and illustrators want to create beautiful pieces that will attract attention.

Additionally, they both strive to express themselves through their work. So what makes them different? 

Well, it depends on your perspective. If you focus on the process of creating the artwork itself, then graphic design could be considered a subset of illustration.

On the other hand, if you view the two fields as separate entities, then graphic design would fall under the varied umbrella of art, technology, marketing, and/or advertising.

While illustration could be categorized as purely an artistic profession.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the purpose of graphic design and illustration, both are meant to convey messages in a way that people understand.

They both use different mediums to achieve this end. But when it comes down to it, the main objective for both fields is to help companies reach their target audiences. 

The only real difference between the two is that one focuses on the visual aspect of things, while the other emphasizes the message behind the image.

Though they may seem like completely different jobs, they actually complement each other quite nicely and are incredibly artistic professions in their own right.