The difference between art and design

Original author: John O'Nolan
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The question of what separates design and art is very confusing and has been repeatedly discussed over time.

Artists and designers create visual compositions using a common knowledge base, but their goals are completely different.

Some designers consider themselves artists, but only a few artists consider themselves designers.

So what is the difference between art and design? In this article, we will consider and compare some basic principles of each of the areas.

This topic is not the definitive guide, but rather a starting point for discussions.

A good work of art is inspiring. Good design motivates.

Perhaps the most fundamental difference between art and design, which we all agree with, is their goal.

As a rule, the process of creating a work of art starts from scratch, with an empty canvas. A work of art stems from the representations, opinions or sensations of the artist.

Artists create a work of art to share their feelings with others, allowing viewers to learn from him or be inspired by him.

The most famous (and successful) works of art today are those that establish the strongest emotional bonds between the artist and his audience .

On the contrary, when a designer is about to create something, he almost always has a starting point, be it a message, image, idea or action.

The designer's job is not to invent something new, but to combine something for a specific purpose.

The goal is to motivate the audience to do something: buy a product, use a service, visit a place, get certain information. The most successful are those designs that effectively convey the ideas of the designer and motivate consumers to complete some kind of task.

A good work of art is interpreted. Good design is clear.

Another difference between art and design is how their meaning is interpreted by their respective audiences .

Although the artist expresses his point of view or emotions, this does not mean that the point of view or emotion has one meaning.

A work of art is perceived by people in different ways, because it is interpreted in different ways.

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting has been interpreted and debated for many years. Why is she smiling? According to scientists, this is an illusion created by your peripheral vision. Romantics say she is in love. Skeptics say there is no reason or reason for her smile. None of them are right.

Design has the opposite meaning. Many will say that if the design can be "interpreted" in some way, then the designer failed for his own purposes.

The fundamental goal of design is to convey the ideas of the designer to the user and his motivation to do something.

If your design conveys an idea different from the one you intended to convey, and your user does some action based on this received idea, then the design failed. With good design, the exact ideas of the designer are conveyed to the user.

A good work of art is a sign of taste. Good design is an opinion.

A work of art is judged by opinion, and taste regulates opinion.

For the far-sighted contemporary art enthusiast, Tracey Emin's My Bed, which was nominated for the 1999 Turner Prize, may seem like the height of artistic expression.
For a follower of more traditional art, this work may be offensive. This refers to our point of view about interpretation, but taste is more that a certain person likes and dislikes than what message he receives from a work of art.

Design carries an element of taste, but the difference between good and bad design is largely a matter of taste.

Good design can still be successful, even if you don't like it. If he fulfills his goal, is understandable and motivates people to do something, then whether he is good or not is a matter of taste.

We could discuss this specific issue, but I hope that the principle is clear.

A good work of art is talent. Good design is workmanship.

What about the abilities of the artist and designer?

Most often, the artist has natural abilities . Of course, from a very young age, the artist grows by drawing, is engaged in painting, sculptures and develops his abilities.

But the true value of the artist lies in his talent (or innate abilities) with which he was born. Good artists, of course, have the ability, but artistic skills without talent are perhaps useless.

However, design is an ability that is taught and taught . You do not need to be a great artist to be a great designer; you just need to learn good design.

Some of the most respected designers in the world are known for their minimalist style. They don’t use many colors or textures, but they pay a lot of attention to the size, positioning and distances between design elements, which can be learned without innate talent.

A good work of art conveys different messages to everyone.
Good design conveys the same message to everyone.

This falls under the second paragraph on interpretation and understanding. But if you remember only one point from this article, then remember this point.

Many designers consider themselves artists because they create something visually appealing.

But the visual composition is designed to perform a specific task, to convey a specific message. No matter how beautiful the design is, it is not a work of art . Design is a form of communication, just a window that contains a message, information.

Few artists call themselves designers because they seem to understand the difference better. Artists do not create their paintings for the sale of goods or promotion of services. They create it solely for self-expression, so that it can be viewed and appreciated by others. A message, if we can even call it that, is not a fact, but a feeling.

What do you think?

Depending on how you look at it, the difference between art and design can be clear or hazy. These two concepts, of course, intersect, but art is more personal, causing a strong reaction in those associated with it.

I leave you with this quote from Craig Elimeliah, who covered this topic in his fantastic article for AIGA, which I discovered in my research for this article.

“I do not pretend to be an expert to decide what art is and what art is not, but I know that if we look at the differences between art and design, we will see a very clear dividing line between them.

An engineer can create a beautiful site by giving it the exact coordinates for inserting different color pixels, or by following certain instructions; most of the design projects have detailed instructions, and most designs are based on current trends.

An artist, on the other hand, can never receive any instructions for creating a new chaotic and unique masterpiece, because his emotions and soul will dictate to his hands of movement.

The art director will not yell at the artist because he created something completely unique, because that makes the artist an artist, not a designer. ”

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