The general definitions of visual art and design are deeply connected. If you think of an Art as a formal expression of a conceived image and of Design as plan on which artwork is based on (Ocvirk, “Art fundamentals”) it is obvious that every artist is a designer to some extent. When adding the adjectives Fine and Graphic to the words Art and Design the general meaning slightly changes. I split the differences in three groups: the purpose of creating fine art and graphic design, the process of creating, and the value on the market.
The purpose of creating fine art and graphic design
Although both fine art and graphic design may serve for communication purpose, fine art is primarily created for the purpose of providing beauty and enjoyment rather than for commercial use like graphic design.
Artists mostly express their own aesthetic expression, communication, or contemplation while graphic designers are trying to promote ideas, messages, and concepts of their clients.
It also should not be forgotten that fine art pieces were widely used for commercial or advertising purposes. As examples, one could see the idealistically represented statues and paintings of Emperors and other country Rulers.
The process of creating
The process itself is quite similar for fine artists and graphic designers. They use the same elements of art and principles of organization (color, form, shape, proportions, unity etc.), trying to achieve intuitively or well-founded some implied beauty. The main difference is in the final cause.
The final product of fine art is the art object itself like painting, sculpture, architecture and printmaking. The outcome of the work of the graphic designer is clear and aesthetically pleasing presentation of sertain information.
The value on a market
This is the most subjective case. The market value usually depends on demands. It also may vary because of the age or epoch, historical references, uniqueness of the piece etc. But in general, fine art pieces cost a lot more.
In spite of all of the above fine art and graphic design art works should be reviewed on a piece-by-piece basis without overgeneralization…