What is commercial art?

Commercial art is a type of graphical art. As the name suggests, it is a branch of plastic arts utilised commercially. In practice it means that it is mostly associated with advertising and publishing, even though commercial art can be found in almost every industry,
because it covers numerous kinds of printed materials, such as illustrations, newspaper and magazine graphics, banknotes, postage stamps, bookplates, posters, lettering, as well as job printing.

It is worth noting that each of the above mentioned graphics – stamps, posters, banknotes or illustrations – may also have a significant artistic value. In this case the only common denominator for these prints is that they may be replicated. Job printing is characterised by similar traits. This category contains catalogues, timetables, business cards, flyers, labels, ID cards, tickets, etc. These kinds of prints may be replicated (e.g. tickets can share the same design), but rarely present any artistic value.

The term “commercial art” has slightly changed its meaning as of late. This is due to the fact that this term is nowadays mostly applied to advertising. In this sense it may refer to flyers, advertising gadget graphics, catalogues, folders, or posters, which are mainly designed by means of computer software and whose templates are usually digital in nature.