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Difference Between Production Artist & Graphic Designer

Production artists and graphic designers follow similar education and employment paths but there are differences. This article compares these career graphics jobs that are prevalent in marketing, business and entertainment.

Comparing Production Artists to Graphic Designers

Production artists and graphic designers need backgrounds in graphic art. Production designers, however, are the final defense for a marketing team to make sure everything is working as the team envisioned. The graphic artist does the physical labor using computer-aided software to bring the visual themes to life. Each career field is compared below with some important information that might be helpful.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Production Artists Bachelor's Degree $45,246** (2017) 1% (for all graphic designers)
Graphic Designers Doctorate $47,640* (2016) 1%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale

Responsibilities of Production Artists vs. Graphic Designers

Basically, production artists are advanced graphic designers. Production artists normally take the work of a graphic designer and check it for mistakes or correct certain artistic and concept errors. Graphic designers take the ideas of the art director and create visuals that match their direction. Production artists work on multiple projects at the same time and oversee quality control on the project.

Production Artists

Production artists get their start with a bachelor's degree in graphic design. They work with popular programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. These artists work as part of the team that puts together art concepts that in turn become the product brand or ad campaign for a client. Production artists review graphic designer work before signing off and presenting the completed project to the client.

Job responsibilities of a Production Artist include:

  • Designing and maintaining web sites
  • Troubleshooting web designs, visuals, and graphic projects
  • Working with a team to design a graphic campaign for a client
  • Updating material or web sites for client
  • Monitoring and analyzing data on success of the project

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers usually work under the team leadership doing specific computer visual art work. These artists use graphic design to instill a reaction from their audience. Graphic designers might work on magazine layouts, logo, banners or corporate reports. They work in mixed styles using photographs, animation or free art. Graphic designers need a bachelor's degree in the graphic arts field to start.

Job responsibilities of a Graphic Designer include:

  • Working with client and/or art director to meet visual needs
  • Using digital software, illustrations or multimedia materials
  • Choosing layout styles to include type, size, headers, colors and images
  • Making changes as requested by directors and/or clients
  • Reviewing all work before publishing results

Related Careers

There are fields related to graphic designers and production artists that share similar responsibilities. Art directors are graphic designers who have the experience and education to run large projects from conception to completion. Multimedia artists are breaking into the film world as they expand their knowledge of digital video, web animation and film editing.


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