Marketing vs. Graphic Design

Marketing vs. Graphic Design

Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Graphic Designers…they’re pretty much all the same…right?

No. Not exactly.

While they may all do a lot of similar things, you cannot call yourself a Graphic Designer if you are a Marketing person. I cannot tell you how often I have heard, “I majored in Marketing so I know how to do Graphic Design!” No. No, you don’t. Just like I can’t say, “I majored in Graphic Design so I know all about Marketing!”

Each of us may know a little about both, but I cannot be considered a master Marketer if my focus is design. Yes, I took marketing courses and know how things work, but don’t ask me to produce statistics and send out proper surveys or manage accounts. I can recommend options to clients and talk to them about my perceptions, but if I ever need help or a professional opinion, I will search out resources so I know I’m offering the best information. (This is where having a great network comes into play.) Our job functions cross lines, but I do not pretend to know everything about everything.

My biggest pet peeve is when someone in Marketing or Advertising or Public Relations gets a copy of the Adobe Creative Suite and suddenly knows how to be the in-house designer. There are tricks and techniques that I spent four years of my college life learning. Just like I’m sure others spent their four years learning about their fields. You might be able to make an annual review in InDesign, but stop saying you know how to design. You know how to format a document so that it looks more presentable than one done in MS Word.

If I could go to college and spend thousands of dollars and come out knowing TWO professions just because one day I stumbled across Adobe Illustrator, why do we have design degrees? Why wouldn’t everyone go to college to major in ABC and purchase the Creative Suite? You could be a business person AND a designer! Look at how marketable you now are. Everyone will want to hire you to do BOTH jobs!

…Wait…what? Now I have to do two jobs and only get paid for one? …Uh…that’s not how I thought it would work…

See what happened there?

In today’s world, everyone is always looking to save money. If you claim to be a designer and an Account Coordinator, you now have two jobs for the price of one.┬áNo one wants that.

You may say that your company cannot hire an in-house designer because of the cost involved. Not true! You can contract projects out to designers. Find a freelancer/studio and ask them to send you a quote. You might be surprised. And with hiring a real designer, your finished product is going to be consistent with your brand, high quality, more creative, and worth the money. Then, your Account Coordinator can do their job 100% of the time and not be distracted with company design projects. Most often, the person that claims to be a designer will take twice as long to finish a project than a true designer. So, you’re saving money all around. The ROI is too great not to hire a designer!

Long story, short

Hire a designer. Stop calling yourself one if you’re in a related field. We all know what each other do, but we can’t claim to be masters across the board.

Just my 2 cents.


4 Replies to “Marketing vs. Graphic Design”

  1. I agree with this. I studied Graphic Design and decided I wanted to understand and explore Marketing as my Master degree to get a broader understanding how an entire department underneath Marketing/Communication works since my end goal is be head of a Marketing Team that will consist of Designer, PR, and Marketers.

    I dont want to be a leader who does not understand how valuable my team is because of my lack of understanding of what they truly do. This is something I’ve seen repeatedly in the corporate world. But I dont want to be a jack of all trades and master of none so I will continue to design my ass off.

    Great Read!

    1. Jack of all trades is a hard thing to do and keep up with! I’ve been focusing my skills more so lately and its been SO much easier to get things done and done well. Keep it up! Thanks for your comment!

  2. I think it depends. As a comparison, there are a lot of designers who are also skilled developers and they don’t major in computer science in school. Mark Zuckerberg, for example, is a great businessman and a developer. There are also designers that study graphic design in art schools, but the works are not so great. And I have met many illustrators that can do better designs instead. If you’re a Marketing person and can design, I don’t see any reason why you can’t call yourself a graphic designer. According to BLS, while graphic design study is the norm to be a graphic designer, you can still be a graphic designer even if you happen to study other fields. It’s really a matter of technical execution in my opinion. And most of the time the projects will be team-based, so being an expert in design and marketing is actually a great fit for team leaders or designers who aspire to move up within the corporate ladder, because they are or will be supervising the creative team and reporting to upper management. The field itself is not fine art, but rather commercial art. In other words, it is design within the business environment. Just as there are marketers that write well without majoring in English/Journalism/Writing, there are marketers that can design too. So, I think it depends. PS: my education background is in marketing and graphic design.

    1. It definitely depends! I was more getting at the idea of people without the true knowledge calling themselves one or the other. If you’re a marketer, you’re not automatically a designer…or a designer isn’t automatically a marketer. Someone can certainly have both skills, but it seems the trend is moving towards a specialist rather than a ‘jack of all trades’ kind of employee. Thanks for the comment and reading the article!

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