SIC 7336 Commercial Art and Graphic Design


SIC 7336

This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in providing commercial art or graphic design services for advertising agencies, publishers, and other business and industrial users. Establishments primarily engaged in art, except commercial and medical, are classified in SIC 8999: Services, Not Elsewhere Classified; those engaged in medical art are classified in SIC 8099: Health and Allied Services, Not Elsewhere Classified; and those providing drafting services are classified in SIC 7389: Business Services, Not Elsewhere Classified.



Graphic Design Services


The commercial art and graphic design industry encompasses the business of selling artwork for business (promotional) purposes, rather than for strictly aesthetic purposes. The artwork can be produced using a myriad of techniques, including hand painting, computer-aided design software, and video cameras. Commercial art and graphic design can be found on posters, packages, films, and television.

Commercial art remains subject to many of the same standards of "high art," regardless of its ultimate use or intended purpose. Therefore, a graphic designed for an advertisement may not be as significant as the Sistine Chapel frescoes, but the difference between them is one of degree rather than kind. Commercial art is similar to other art in that it is custom made, and it requires time, skill, judgment, taste, and background on the part of the artist to produce it; it is usually purchased before it is produced; and there are few fixed standards for evaluating the end-product. Personal taste and opinion determine the effectiveness of commercial art.

Commercial art differs from other art in value. According to Forbes, the value of commercial art diminishes quickly. For example, Le Roy Neiman's limited edition sports prints sold at commercial galleries for $2,000 to $20,000 when they were first produced. At an auction in 1992, Neiman prints sold for 5 to 20 cents on the original dollar price. In contrast, the value of paintings by Pablo Picasso or Vincent Van Gogh greatly appreciates over the years.


The structure of the commercial art industry is characterized by individual freelance artists and corporations who produce commercial art graphics as well as the businesses who buy the art. In the 1970s, this industry was characterized by many individual freelance artists who sold their work to agents, or middlemen, who then found the ultimate buyer of the art work.

Due to vertical integration and advances in technology in the 1980s and 1990s, many companies, such as advertising agencies, have created their own art and graphics departments. These departments have allowed firms to exercise more control over the commercial art process. Moreover, an abundance of commercial art and graphic design firms have entered the industry. The number of freelance artists has declined as the number of specialized design departments and firms has increased.

Artists have been using high-technology equipment such as computers, plotters, and printers since the 1960s, but the technological revolution of the 1980s has made such devices as color copiers, scanners, still video cameras, and desktop publishing software widely available for use as artistic tools. In commercial art and graphic design...

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