EDIT 27 FEB (Yisela): I edited the title to reflect the latest conversations about including Art (fine arts, illustration) in the scope of the site. These are not necessarily the only names, all of those cited in the answers are valid candidates.

If you haven't participated in the thread yet, now is the moment to do so (older answers - Check you still think the same!). We have also been talking about this on the chat. Feel free to drop by and leave your opinion there. Y.-

The question Should we increase this SE's Scope? was asked a while back, but it strikes me that the scope is already larger than the name:

Graphic Design is for questions targeted toward 2D design professionals, students, and enthusiasts.

This includes questions about:

  • Graphic arts theory and history; "Why" we do what we do and not necessarily the "how" in logo design, fonts & typography, visual communication
  • Web design
  • Layout and printing
  • Illustration
  • Digital media // Examples: video, Adobe Flash

'Graphic art and design' is the best title I can come up with to encompass this scope.

I also think it's time 3d graphics were officially brought into scope.

See also the Two-Dimensional Art & Design Area 51 proposal:

For illustrators, animators, graphic designers, painters, pixel artists, comic artists, concept artists, print makers, and visual designers in both traditional and digital media.

  • 4
    I'd personally welcome every example question on the 2D art & design proposal on this site here. How to price artwork isn't relevant to my work, but it's still something I'd happily read about. Likewise screenprinting. If we had to choose between the two sites it'd be crazy... Aug 17, 2012 at 14:08
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    It might be worth seeing what questions pop up over at the 2D art proposal first, to see if there are any questions that can't fit within the scope of this site. Also might be identifying any borderline questions on this site. One particular area that I can think of, that might come up frequently for comic artists is character design.
    – naught101
    Sep 21, 2012 at 12:09
  • I'd prefer not changing the name, while making clear the scope is broad. But if we do change the name in this direction, why not just Graphics? The risk of confusion about people who find out about our site but don't realise that graphics programming belongs on SO, I think is small. Feb 22, 2013 at 9:35
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    What about "Art and Design" as a title. It's tricky. But I see where adding more art-type questions could be useful.
    – DA01
    Feb 23, 2013 at 0:31
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    Should we try to make a decision on this? I'm for "Art and Design", or "Graphic Design & Art". I'll add it as an answer.
    – Yisela
    Feb 26, 2013 at 8:49
  • Looks like we have a few other votes for "Art and Design" scattered through the comments below as well. Any other contenders?
    – DA01
    Feb 26, 2013 at 16:37

8 Answers 8


I was originally going to comment on Ryan's answer, but feel this needs a notification to everyone.

In that case, why not just Graphic Arts? As a designer, I often refer to my design work as art, and have heard others do the same. In that case, it wouldn't be GAAD.SE, but GA.SE (if that's a concern at all).

Graphic Arts could continue to encompass designers, as in Photoshop & InDesign users, but can also refer to print-makers and hand illustrators as well.

3D work could be incorporated into this, too. Although, I think 3D may be more technically-based than artistically-based. But then again, Photoshop is more technical, too. So, someone else can be the judge there...

That's my two cents, at least.

// Edit

So after reading the comments (especially @DA01's comment), I'd like to update my suggestion from Graphic Arts to Art & Design. Making the abbreviation AD.SE

  • 5
    I'll second Graphic Arts; it seems to cover all the various sub-genres while keeping the snappiness of two words (which, I'll be honest, is a concern). Aug 22, 2012 at 23:16
  • 2
    I wasn't sure at first but the more I think about this, the more I like it. |It's clear, obvious what it means, and each word nods towards the two ends of the sector we cover. Aug 23, 2012 at 10:26
  • Except that Graphic Design and the Graphic Arts, while incredibly related, are also distinct. I think a more proper term would be "Graphic Design and the Graphic Arts". That would cover quite a bit of the spectrum.
    – DA01
    Feb 23, 2013 at 0:33
  • @DA01 I understand your hesitation I however, the point is to make a shortened title that can still apply to as much of the "spectrum" as possible. GAAD.SE, or your proposed GDGA.SE just don't accomplish that goal.
    – joshmax
    Feb 24, 2013 at 20:40
  • I don't know if a short name should trump a meaningful name, though. However, if short is the goal, I'd suggest 'art and design'.
    – DA01
    Feb 25, 2013 at 1:55
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    Art & Design sounds good to me, too :)
    – joshmax
    Feb 26, 2013 at 2:35
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    "Graphic Arts" when I was starting referred to press operation and the "arts" associated with that end of production - stripping, masking, camera operation, etc. I think Art & Design is an excellent choice.
    – Scott
    Feb 27, 2013 at 3:24

I'm pretty new here, so take that into consideration. I've used Stack Overflow increasingly over the past year, just started posting pretty recently, and only a week or so ago discovered that this graphic design SE even existed. I've tried to jump on board and contribute for a couple of reasons, one being that I really like what SE is doing. It blows traditional forums out of the water!

Trouble is, I don't think the crowd here is representative of the design community at large. My guess is that, like me, a lot of people here came from SO and thus have more of the technical minds. I see a lot of GIMP/Inkscape questions (which is fine, not hating here), but I don't know a single designer in my admittedly small network that makes a living off of these. I'm generalizing, but hopefully you see what I'm trying to say.

Why is this? Well, if you didn't know about SE, how would you find out about this site?

The point that I want to make is that if this site needs to be broadened in scope to get more visibility, to get the critical mass, then that should be encouraged. BUT, if by doing so the site skews towards more of the "How to use Photoshop brushes" stuff, I think you lose out on a lot of potential for a site like this.

I dunno...I look at a site like Typophile and see a passionate core of people talking about nerdy design things. I'd love to see that stuff come onto a QA/forum platform that is second to none. And if the solution is to be more broad to get more people to get more visibility to get even more people, then that sounds good to me.

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    Good points, Brendan. It is something of a conundrum that I've not answered to my satisfaction as yet. Besides Typophile for type design and typography generally, there are many popular design-tool-specific or design-subject-specific sites that are very useful to the community at large as well as their respective constituencies. Design forums/sites related to the overall craft of design (independent of the tools) are fewer, but popular. GD.SE hasn't quite found its "hat" in that mix. You can help by jumping in and adding your voice. Aug 17, 2012 at 19:02
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    I wasn't convinced about the 'art' word until I read your answer. Your commitment to the site is encouraging, I love GD too and would love to see it grow (and opening the game sounds the way to go).
    – Yisela
    Aug 19, 2012 at 0:01
  • I think you hit the nail spot on. Stack Exchange sites are msot visible to IT guys, such as myself. Specialist from design, grapics, illustration, history, sports etc. usually dwell on forums. They use that archaic platform never knowing how great the SE engine is for handling Q&A. I think the best way would be to advertise by linking SE questions on sites like cghub or deviant art, to increase the awareness of SE's existance and boons
    – K.L.
    Feb 22, 2013 at 14:30

That's a great idea, and I think your reasoning is dead on. It is more descriptive of what's really working here. I also agree thoroughly with the 3D proposal. 3D is inextricably part of graphic design, and becoming more so all the time in print, web (which will take off sharply, I suspect, within the next 12 months) and video workflows.

  • 2
    +1 to both points. Seems silly to draw arbitrary lines in the sand. 3D is beginning more and more mainstream - for example, Digital Arts magazine now have monthly Cinema 4D tutorials along side Illustrator, Photoshop, etc, and they are generally about creating scenes and effects that are then used in a static 2D piece of graphic design. No reason why we should have a rule saying we must lag behind current changes in the industry. Aug 17, 2012 at 12:58
  • While true, 3D encompasses things like Architectural Rendering and Cartoon Animation as well. Which may be perfectly fine if we decide to expand the name of the site, but do tend to fall outside the world of 'Graphic Design'.
    – DA01
    Feb 23, 2013 at 0:35

Im all for changing the name, as well as emphasizing the scope in the faq. I think illustration is the keyword here.

I came to this site because I was interested in digital painting, fine arts etc. Instead, i found a QA site specifically about graphic design, as the neame indicates, meaning web, package, logo, typography design and similar "usage design" work. (I dont really know specialist terminology in English, but i hope you get what i mean). I read the FAQ and i didnt get the impression that this site's about what I was looking for.

The Two-Dimentsional art and design proposal linked me to this discussion, and I would like to know, if the questions I wouldl ike to ask are in scope here? Cause if they are, then perhaps we should commit such questions, try to answer them and advertise them on sites like deviantart, cghub, ctrlpaint and others - it should let us hit critical mass quite fast!

So, the examples of questions I would like to ask:

  • Gesture drawing - whats the point? Id like to know if making gesture drawings develops some actuall skills, coordination etc, or is it just an artistic misticism "free your inner artist, capture the movement!" exercise that doesnt really bring much to the table but is celebrated by art school?

  • How to work on your linework? Im having problems with my linework. I cant really "nail" the line I want to draw and it always turns out a bit different than what I want to draw. I guess lack of accuracy is my problem, but it may as well be a perception problem. How do I work on it? Are there any specific exercises, or do i have to "draw past" it, draw until things start "falling into place" themselves?

  • What do you have to work on to be a concept artist? What are the skills most important for a concept-artist and what are the best ways to improve them?

  • Exerises for proportion and angle perception Im having problems with proportion/angles in my work. Most of the time separate elments seem to be in good angles and proportion to one another, but as a whole they "slip". Say, the browline on a portrait is at a correct angle and size to the nose, and the nose seems to be okay with the lips, the lips seem to be okay with the chin. But the chin isnt actually where it should be comparing to the browline! I cant really nail the point where im making mistakes. How can i work at it in order to improve?

  • How to capture the likeness of a person on a portrait? Im having trouble capturing "likeness" when drawing/painting faces. The proportions seem okay and all, the portrait looks fine as a separate object, if you dont know the portraied person. But when compared to the model, I can see the portrait is somewhat off. What would be the possible causes of this and how to work to improve this? (maybe example pieces and reference photos added to illustrate my point)

  • How to achieve interesting textures using traditional media? How can i acheive textures on my paintings using traditional media/techniques? I mean no texture overlays or very specific custom brushes, but the question applies both to digital painting and traditional painting/drawing.

  • 1
    I have less than zero authority, but I would say all of those would be on scope.. and honestly sorely missing here.
    – Scott
    Feb 22, 2013 at 15:35
  • 1
    Please ask them! We definitely need these sorts of question.
    – Yisela
    Feb 22, 2013 at 21:37
  • Be happy to :) Please give an hour or two to make sure that they are of appropriate quality
    – K.L.
    Feb 22, 2013 at 21:44
  • Btw, on the topic. Even the tag selection for those types of questions is poor. I cant even find painting there! I cant introduce new tags yet, but i think that tags that need to be created could cover another meta discussion
    – K.L.
    Feb 22, 2013 at 22:03
  • @K.L. I can, which ones should we add for now? I tagged your question as Painting (new one), feel free to edit the tag description
    – Yisela
    Feb 22, 2013 at 22:15
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    @yisela I'd throw in painting, fine-arts, exercises/drills/self-improvement, sequential-arts, concept-art, character-design, traditional-media, workflow, just to name a few. Most of them are quite important for a lot of 2D work. Id be for anatomy-for-artists but not sure if it fits scope.
    – K.L.
    Feb 22, 2013 at 22:24
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    fine-arts, self-improvement, sequential-arts, concept-art, character-design, traditional-media, anatomy-for-artists (I tagged the "how to draw a stickman" and "how to draw a pony" here :P) All new tags now. If they are not used in 6 months they will be automatically deleted. I'll take a look to see of any other prev questions that could be tagged with them too.
    – Yisela
    Feb 22, 2013 at 22:30
  • Those are all great questions and ones I'd like to see discussed as well. That said, they all fall outside the definition of Graphic Design, however, so would agree that a change to the site name would go a long way in encouraging more questions like that.
    – DA01
    Feb 23, 2013 at 0:37
  • @DA01 I think it's more of a test drive for now. I thought of them mainly in relation with "Graphic arts" (theory perhaps). If these questions attract more visitors, we would have another element to evaluate when deciding for the name / complete scope. But perhaps it does deserve a new meta discussion of its own. What do you think?
    – Yisela
    Feb 26, 2013 at 1:59
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    Hard to say. Graphic Design, as a profession, is not a fine art, but nearly every Graphic Designer either went to fine art school and/or does fine art as well. So, they are definitely related. I suppose I'd err on the side of more inclusion. Art and Design. If the site gets too cluttered/too fractured, perhaps it eventually splits into two (fine art vs. design).
    – DA01
    Feb 26, 2013 at 2:33
  • 1
    I think it's a problem the SE has always had. Many folks here come from the world of web design and development and the lines we've drawn between code (SO), UX, webmasters, graphic design, etc has always been somewhat arbitrary. I don't think this is much different.
    – DA01
    Feb 26, 2013 at 2:35
  • Couldn't agree more, these two point summarize to perfection how I feel about it. And I feel web designers can be designers or developers, but graphic designers are almost certainly artists (well, that's how I like to see it anyway!). Maybe the art part is a missing piece in the path to leaving Beta.
    – Yisela
    Feb 26, 2013 at 8:47
  • I think the key part to adding fine arts and similar elements would be to attract some proffesional concept artists and illustrators from sites like conceptart.org Maybe someone could post links to my questions there? (It would look bad if I did it)
    – K.L.
    Feb 26, 2013 at 9:29
  • @K.L. It wouldn't look bad if you phrase it like "I had this question and you might know more about the subject". It'd look quite spammy if someone who has never used the site appears out of nowhere and invites people to a different place. At least that's what happened to me with Gimp questions, I tried posting in forums but I felt kind of bad about it!
    – Yisela
    Feb 26, 2013 at 20:47
  • Hmmm, I see... The problem is I was a passive observer of those forums ;) I will also be a "oh look, a new guy spams" thing... Well, worth a try, when I have the time
    – K.L.
    Feb 26, 2013 at 21:17

Hmm...excellent question/topic.

I think the first step is trying to define the scope we are after. And I agree, the current scope is way larger than what most GD professionals would consider GD.

It sounds like we also want to start attracting Illustrators and 3D digital artists. I've also seen more than a few CAD/CAM type questions as well.

I think "Graphic Design & the Graphic Arts" is good. Still not perfect, but getting there.

What if we broaden it even further and call it "Visual Arts & Design"? That would encompass illustration, 3D design and CAD/CAM. For better or worse, that would likely also encompass Industrial Design, Fine arts and animation to some extent.

A more tongue-and-cheek but perhaps equally descriptive term could be "Art and Design School"--which I would see encompassing the commercial and fine art subjects many of us had exposure to throughout school (printmaking, illustration, typography, digital design, page layout, communication design, etc, etc.)


Also, I'm not sure where we stand on questions about the tools we use (ie, how do I do "X" in PhotoShop?) but I'm actually all for those. The challenge now is we're swamped with them in terms of percentage of questions asked.

I know other SE sites frown upon that greatly (such as the UX.SE site) which is a little frustrating as we all use tools daily and often have questions about them specific to the profession we work in.

  • I actually wouldn't mind VAD.SE or ADS.SE; however, my change to this proposal would be to drop "school" and leave it as AD.SE (Art & Design)
    – joshmax
    Feb 24, 2013 at 20:46

So I have 47k rep on Stack Overflow, where I've been an active user since before StackExchange even existed, have some interest in digital art/illustration/&c. though mostly as a hobby, on at least two occasions I've skimmed through Area 51 to see if a relevant SE site existed, and it never once occurred to me to look at the Graphic Design site for topics I wouldn't, in fact, describe as "graphic design", such as most of K.L.'s list of questions.

Since those questions seem to have been well-received, from my perspective the current title is painfully misleading.

Of the current suggestions: "Graphic Arts" sounds best, but seems to have other definitions according to the comments. "Graphic Design and Art" is descriptive, but sounds clumsy to my ear--something about a multi-syllable word ending with "n" preceding "and" feels awkward, I think.

"Art and Design" is neither interesting nor particularly elegant, but it is short and it gets the point across, which counts for a lot.


I don't think we need to rename this site. The name worked GD.SE not GAAD.SE and these other terms for the same task are just that, semantics. They don't change what we discuss or welcome.

If you want to make changes to the FAQ and Scope that's all fine and good but I don't know how changing the name helps.

  • 7
    There is a practical difference: not everyone reads the FAQ, and being called "Graphic design", which suggests something narrow, we moderately often get people being hostile and snarly when something comes up that doesn't match their individual personal definition of graphic design, their specific job, or what their graphic design tutor said graphic design was 5,10,20 years ago when they were a student. It's not a frequent problem, but it happens often enough to put off some potential users and de-rail some questions. Being called "Graphic art & design" suggests something broader. Aug 19, 2012 at 9:46
  • 1
    A debate about semantics is very much on-topic in the field of design, though. ;) That said, Graphic Design tends to be a finite space--albeit with fuzzy edges. A lot of the other topics, while perhaps of interest to Graphic Designers wouldn't be considered true graphic design topics.
    – DA01
    Feb 23, 2013 at 0:36

I haven't actually answered to this (excepting the comments), so my preference would be "Art and Design", or "Graphic Design & Art".

As it was mentioned in the chat, "Art and Design" is inclusive, but might lose some visibility and search results.

"Graphic Design & Art" is similar enough to the current name to avoid people confusing the site for a new one, it gives more priority to GD and includes the Art without making it our main focus.

EDIT: However, and after reading C. A McCann's answer, I love how Art & Design sounds (again).

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