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Creative Designer vs. Graphic Designer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in design can be both creative and rewarding. Two common design roles are that of a creative designer and a graphic designer. Though both positions require creativity, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we discuss the differences between a creative designer and a graphic designer, and we provide additional design professions you may be interested in pursuing.

What is a Creative Designer?

A Creative Designer is responsible for developing and designing creative solutions for a variety of clients. They work in a variety of industries, including advertising, marketing, web design, and print media. Creative Designers often work with a team of other designers, copywriters, and developers to create cohesive campaigns that achieve the client’s objectives. They use their creativity and problem-solving skills to develop original concepts that are visually appealing and effective. Creative Designers often present their ideas to clients or company executives for approval and feedback. They may also be responsible for overseeing the production of their designs, ensuring that they are executed correctly and on time.

What is a Graphic Designer?

Graphic Designers use text, images, color and other design elements to create visually appealing and effective layouts for print and digital media. They work with clients to understand their needs and create designs that communicate the desired message. Graphic Designers often specialize in a particular type of design, such as web design, advertising, packaging or logo design. They use industry-specific software to create their designs and may also need to have some knowledge of coding languages. Graphic Designers typically present their work to clients for approval before finalizing the design.

Creative Designer vs. Graphic Designer

Here are the main differences between a creative designer and a graphic designer.

Job Duties

One of the clearest differences between a graphic designer and a creative designer is the type of job they have. A graphic designer usually has a specific task, such as creating a logo or branding an advertisement. They often work on projects that are more narrow in scope. In contrast, a creative director typically oversees many different types of jobs. They may create the brand identity for a company, but they also may oversee all aspects of a campaign, including the copywriting, photography and graphics.

Job Requirements

Creative designers and graphic designers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many creative designers and graphic designers pursue certifications through professional organizations like the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) or the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use design software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Graphic designers typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients. They often spend their days sitting at a desk and using computers to create designs for print or digital media. Creative designers usually work in an office environment as well, but they may also travel to attend meetings with clients. Their jobs can involve more physical activity than those of graphic designers because they may need to sketch ideas on paper or brainstorm new concepts while meeting with clients.


There are several similarities between creative designers and graphic designers in terms of the skills they use on the job. Both types of designers need to have excellent visual communication skills to be able to create designs that communicate a message effectively. They also both need to have strong attention to detail to ensure their designs are accurate and high-quality. In addition, creativity is important for both types of designers, as they need to be able to come up with new and innovative ideas for their designs.

There are also some differences between the two types of designers in terms of the skills they use. Graphic designers tend to focus more on the technical aspects of design, such as using software programs to create their designs. Creative designers, on the other hand, may focus more on the conceptual side of things, coming up with ideas and then working with a team to see them through to completion.


The average salary for a creative designer is $68,597 per year, while the average salary for a graphic designer is $57,060 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of company you work for, your level of experience and your location.


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