Artist vs. Graphic Designer

Is the person you’re hiring to work on your book an “artist” or a “graphic designer”? Did you know there’s a difference? We often hear of authors who hired a graphic designer to do their cover, when they really needed an artist to create a custom cover for them.

Here are some ways they’re different:

Artists Graphic Designer
Inspirational Motivational
Interpreted Understood
Create using Feelings and Taste Create using Opinion
Talented Skilled
Send different messages Send the same messages
Create Modify


When you’re looking for someone to design your book cover and/or the interior of your book, make sure you both have a very clear understanding of the expectations and work to be done. As an author, don’t just tell them, but show the person what you’re looking for. Pictures, paintings, other book covers…the more visual clues you have to show an artist or designer, the better.

Will they do hand-drawn illustrations? Computer illustrations? Use stock photos to create a graphically designed cover? Take your photos and enhance/edit them? Create a logo or custom graphic design to use at the start of each chapter? Have a written agreement to be signed by both parties that clearly states what work will be done. Detailing the project before any work begins will help make sure you’re going to use the right person for the job.