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Production Artist vs. Graphic Designer: What Are the Differences?

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

A production artist is a type of graphic designer who specializes in the production and preparation of graphic designs for print or digital publication. Production artists typically have a strong background in the technical aspects of graphic design and are able to produce high-quality designs under tight deadlines. Graphic designers, on the other hand, focus on the creative aspects of design and often have a more artistic approach to their work. In this article, we compare and contrast production artists and graphic designers, and we provide information on what you can expect from each profession.

What is a Production Artist?

A Production Artist is a graphic designer who specializes in the production and preparation of graphic design files for print or digital publication. They work closely with designers and clients to ensure that all final files meet the necessary specifications for the intended medium. Production Artists use their knowledge of design, layout and typography to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during file preparation. They may also be responsible for proofreading and editing text content to ensure accuracy. Production Artists typically work in-house at design studios or advertising agencies, or they may be freelance professionals.

What is a Graphic Designer?

Graphic Designers use text, images, color and other design elements to create visual representations of ideas and messages. They design logos, advertisements, packaging and other marketing materials for businesses large and small. Many Graphic Designers work in advertising or design firms, but some are self-employed or work in other industries. Graphic Designers typically have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. They must be able to think creatively, solve problems and communicate effectively with clients and colleagues.

Production Artist vs. Graphic Designer

Here are the main differences between a production artist and a graphic designer.

Job Duties

Production designers create detailed blueprints for the creation of a film, television show or video game. They work with directors and other production staff to develop ideas for costumes, locations, props and scenery that help bring an artistic vision to life.

Graphic designers use their skills to create visual elements like advertisements, logos, brochures, posters and digital images that promote a product or service. They may collaborate with clients to understand requirements and communicate with printers and other vendors to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.

Job Requirements

Production artists and graphic designers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many production artists and graphic designers pursue certifications through professional organizations, such as 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 graphic design software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Production artists work in a variety of environments, depending on the type of production they’re working on. For example, if you’re working on a film, you may spend most of your time in a studio or on location. If you’re working on an advertisement, you may spend more time in an office setting.

Graphic designers also work in a variety of settings, but their work environment is usually an office. They may occasionally travel to meet with clients and attend meetings, though.


There are several similarities between production artists and graphic designers. Both roles require an understanding of design principles, such as balance, color theory and composition. They also both use software programs to create their designs, although the specific programs they use may differ. For example, a production artist is more likely to use Adobe Illustrator, while a graphic designer may use Adobe Photoshop.

There are also several differences between these two roles. A production artist typically focuses on creating designs that can be easily reproduced, such as logos, illustrations and packaging. A graphic designer, on the other hand, may create designs for print or digital media, including websites, magazines and advertisements. Graphic designers also often have a stronger focus on typography than production artists.


The average salary for a production artist is $56,735 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 work you do, your level of experience and the location of your job.


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