There is little difference between what graphic design, and what fine art is if you go by the textbook definition. Shapes, form, color, line, are found in both. However as far as what is held by today’s standards as being art, graphic design, until recently hasn’t fallen under this category. However if you take a look back into what is in most museums, and how they came about, most could be classified graphic design rather then fine art.
Today art, as far as most art critics are concerned, falls generally into two categories: either it is a formal personal expression and abstractly representing a idea. So graphic design pieces rarely get to be considered art since it usually cannot be a direct emotional expression of the designer. While there is a difference, this cannot in the least bit discredit design as not being art. If open minded, it is not hard to see that this is really the only line between fine art today, and graphic design. Since a majority fine art paintings were commissioned by the church, it would seem most of fine art is really the first graphic design. As to what graphic design is, I read at the beginning of a book once that design is art you use. I think that sums it up well for what it is today.