Thursday, November 22, 2012

An Illustrator who Designs or a Designer who Illustrates

In art school one of my instructors asked the class an interesting question: Are you an illustrator who designs or a designer who illustrates? It was an illustration class but our assignment was to design a personal logo with a matching set of stationary. Our instructor was an illustrator who had been paid to design a few brochures.

At the time I was an illustration major. I had been a graphic design major the first semester but quickly switched. So of course my answer was an Illustrator who designed. Being a graphic designer was considered a fallback for those who wanted to be creative and create art but couldn't.

The funny thing was I really enjoyed my graphic design class (the only one I took until my MFA almost 15 years later), and I was always sneaking into the graphic design classes to observe instruction, critiques, and presentations. Just a few years later I accidentally became a graphic designer/web designer and have been doing it for the past decade.

Looking over my work, I realized that the compositions I approached as a design turned out infinitely better than those I approached as an illustrator. I've also come to realize that design is just as much art as oil painting landscapes. The stigma wasn't from the discipline but the people who pursued it and the reason they chose to do so. Most graphic designers I know are frustrated artists--they chose graphic design because they couldn't do any other type of art but wanted to. My reasons were I stumbled into it accidentally and then discovered web design was art plus technology just like animation was, and art plus technology were two of my passions that go together amazingly well.

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