Our book tells us that the beginnings of graphic design bring us all the way back to the caves of Lascaux. In art history, these same cave drawings are said to be the first art. If we look at just those cave drawings, we can say that they are representational of some kind of idea. They are also abstract. It doesn't seem that it took much skill to make these images because they look like the drawings we all produced at a young age, but this doesn't mean that every human on earth can't tell in general what these marks represent, or that they lack meaning. Because of situations like this, I feel like many people really have no idea how to separate graphic design and fine art. The typical answer when you ask what the difference is usually goes along the lines of fine art being painting, drawing, etc and we often refer to the masters for examples. Graphic design reminds many of us of computer generated images and typography. It gets complicated though when looking at graphic designers like Vault 49 who many of us saw last semester (see above images)
I went for the dictionary to get a true definition for Fine Art and Graphic Design. Here's some examples:
1. The use of graphic elements and text to communicate an idea or concept
2. Graphic design is an older term for the field of Visual design. This term refers specifically to the use of graphic media (such as color, symbol, and type) to communicate a style or expression.
3. The branch of visual arts concerned with the aesthetics and production of layout, design and typography.
4. The process and art of combining text and graphics to communicate an effective message in the design of logos, graphics, brochures, newsletters, posters, signs, and any other type of visual communication.
1. Art that is created for its own aesthetic purpose rather than for a practical, utility purpose. "Art for art's sake."
2. The product of human creativity.
3. Works made to be enjoyed. Not functional.
4. Fine art is actually the visual arts which include painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and some performance art.
So in general, my conclusion is that fine art can be graphic design, and graphic design can be fine art. It is in the presentation of the works we look at that determine how we define it, and even that is open to interpretation.