Fine Art vs Applied Art

Art is an extensive term that can mean many things, from a portrait to a structural design of a rocket. That’s why we had to break it into some simple chunks to specify a division of art by naming it. Fine arts and Applied arts are two main chunks of art. It is not always easy to realize the difference between these. That’s why the question often keeps coming from the crowd, what is the difference between fine art vs applied art? 

The core difference between these two lies in their purpose. Fine art is creating just a showpiece that people would love to see. Sometimes the fine art conveys some message from the artist, but ultimately they are just for watching. On the other hand, applied art produces solving a problem, demonstrating instructions, performing an activity, or doing something proactive.

If you struggle to determine which one to choose, you are in the right place. Because here, we will discuss the battle of Fine art vs Applied art and all its functionalities thoroughly. 

Fine Art vs Applied Art 

Fine ArtApplied Art
Fine arts are produced just as beauty or showpieces that may or may not convey a message.Applied arts are produced to solve a problem, demonstrate a set of instructions, or make a plan. They are not showpieces. 
A freehand approach often creates fine arts.Some applied arts require the usage of many tools and strict conditions. 
Fine art is practiced to create aesthetic and imaginative content.  Applied art is practiced to implement arts for practical use and find creative solutions to real-life problems. 
Fine art is often performed as a hobby. Applied art is often performed as professional works. 
Fine art includes painting, sculpture, writing, poetry, music, film, mosaic, calligraphy, photography, etc. Applied art includes industrial design, architecture, interior design, fashion design, automotive design, etc.

 What is Fine Art?

Oil painting landscape with colorful trees

Fine art is a form of art primarily practice for its aesthetic value. The purpose of fine art is to express the artist’s imagination soundly while making it appealing to people’s eyes or auditory senses. It is often mentioned as “art for art’s sake.” Fine art doesn’t serve any actual functionality; instead, it is a medium to promote creativity and boundless imagination. Fine art also acts as a channel for a person to recognize his skill and talent. Fine art generally judge by its beauty, meaningfulness, and creativity. It is appreciating just for its existence; it is admiring just because it is admirable. 

Is Fine Art a Good Career? 

Fine art may seem like a hobby or a practice for personal satisfaction, but on top of that, fine arts can be a promising career too. Nowadays, many career opportunities are available for fine art students, even on international levels. After graduating from an art institution, you can choose to be a jobholder or an entrepreneur. You will get loads of options both ways as fine art is versatile. To name a few job positions: Art therapist, Drawing teacher, Creative Director, Animator, Set designer, 3d artist, illustrator, multimedia programmer, VFX artist, stage/film director, professor of arts, music teacher, musician, music director, sound engineer and so on. The fine artist always need in various advertising companies, TV industry, educational and art institutions. So, if you have a passion and love for art and creativity, it won’t fail you to provide a good career. 

What Are Examples of Fine Art? 

Fine art is home to a lot of tasks. In the beginning, there were only five sections of fine art. They are- Painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, and music. But as time passed, the boundary of fine art has push further than that. Now what falls into the fine art category is a long list. Here are some of them: 

  • Painting and drawing
  • Mosaics 
  • Architecture
  • Sculpture
  • Writing
  • Printmaking
  • Calligraphy,
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Film
  • Performing
  • Animating
  • Photography

What is Applied Art?

illustration beautiful abstract white floral

Applied art is a kind of art that serves both beauty and real-life functionalities. It implements art in everyday need and applies it to our lives rather than just being beautiful. It gives art a practical utility. The name “Applied art” gives up most of its true meaning. Applied art is the procedure to apply art to our advantage to perform specific tasks. You can think of it as a bridge between the art and application of the real world. It is something that utilizes human creativity to solve a problem through art. 

What Are the Examples of Applied Art?

Applied art includes a lot of sections. Most of them are professional jobs because the applied art’s purpose is real-life functionality. Let’s see some examples of applied art: 

  • Industrial design
  • Architecture
  • Structural design
  • Interior design
  • Fashion design
  • Graphics design
  • Illustrations
  • Decorative arts
  • Product design 
  • Crafts

How Does Applied Art Express Itself? 

The applied art expresses itself just like other artists do. Applied art applies to various tasks and objects around us to make them aesthetic and creative. For example, designing the look of a smartphone is applying art. The designer has to focus on the look, durability, dimensions, pressure absorbing ability, and many things at once. Here, art use to approach creative solutions while making them visually appealing. 

What Are the Differences Between Fine Art and Applied Art? 

Fine art and applied art have different objectives, which draw the line between them. Fine arts are mainly creating for aesthetic purposes. It makes people feel joy or pleasure looking at (or listening to)  the art. It is there just as a showpiece that reflects the artist’s thought. People see them and amaze, that’s all. It doesn’t directly affect the real world. 

On the other hand, Applied arts are creating to turn art into something useful in our life. Art can help come up with various creative solutions to problems. Here the objective of applied art is to make the objects and tasks both aesthetic and functional. It contributes to and affects our life directly. The bottom line is- Fine art is for beauty, applied art is for real-world application. 

What Are Fine Art and Applied Art Education? 

It’s hard not to see artwork if you look around you. Art is an integral part of our life, and that’s why art can see everywhere. Therefore, there is a great demand for artists in various industries. As a result, institutions for artists build. Fine art and applied art education are compelling areas of study to learn about art professionally. 

Like every other education program, you can get a degree in fine art or applied art. Fine art and applied art education train and direct you in the right way to take it as a profession. So, those who have a passion for art can study art at famous institutions and get recognition officially. 

What is Taught in Applied Art? 

You can not just describe the whole curriculum of a subject as broad as applied art in a small article. Applied art has a lot of sections, as we have mentioned. What you will teach in applied art depends on your course. Here are some topics that are covering in almost every applied art course: 

  • Drawing
  • Geometrical drawing
  • Perspective drawing
  • Animation
  • Graphics design
  • Color theory
  • Typography
  • Fashion design
  • Advertising
  • Poster design
  • Product drawing
  • Photography
  • Calligraphy
  • Printing

What is the Difference Between Decorative Art and Applied Art? 

There are some cases when an object can be an example of decorative art and applied art. It makes many of us confused, and we start to wonder if there is any difference between them at all. But you will find the difference once you notice how the object was dealt with. Here is an example to understand it clearly: It will consider decorative art if you manufacture a table in a unique and beautiful shape. But if you put some beautiful mini lights around an ordinary table to make it beautiful- this is applied art. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Types of Applied Arts? 

Art can not be confined to a box. Applied art has many types, and new types will come as more time passes. Some types of applied art are- Advertising, Industrial design, Crafts, Printing, Engraving, Graphics design, VFX, etc. 

Is Photography Fine Art or Applied Art? 

It depends on which side of the photography you are talking about. If you capture a photograph of a beautiful scene or you compose a beautiful photograph, this is a fine art. But if you use the photograph as a form of art for other purposes, such as advertising, it is applied art. 

What is Considered Applied Art? 

Aesthetically valuable and functional works such as architecture, interior design, graphic design, fashion design, furniture design, metalwork, and such like are considered applied art. 

What Do Fine Art and Applied Art Have in Common? 

Often fine arts and applied art cross each other’s boundary lines. The common thing that both of them have is they create something beautiful and aesthetic. 


Art itself is a confusing subject. There is no solid definition of what art is. So, it is expected that most of us are confused about the difference between two major art sections. Although we see the creations of fine art and applied art every day in our life, it is still hard to tell them apart. But after reading fine art vs applied art in this article, we hope you are now aware of what they are and why they are here in our life.

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