Art, Architecture, Design & Travel

Art vs Design, The Similarities And Differences

A well-executed design project is always artful. 

Every project is created by design. It is thought out, analyzed and finally, designed and executed.

But is every design project also a work of art? How similar (or different) are the processes and results? You may find that every designer or artist has a different definition.

I am a designer. I solve problems everyday by putting together bits into a final product that showcases information in a visual way.

I am not an artist. But I can draw and I can generally sketch and paint too...

But there are some days where the work I do, is considered more than just an image on the screen or page. Someone calls it a work of art and this did get me thinking. Am I both a designer and an artist?

To me, art and design each have a set of defining characteristics. And then there are all those things in between – projects and pieces that seem to exemplify both. This I call “artistic design.” And it is that grey area where I would say most of the work by  designers is classified.

So, what are the characteristics of Art?

  1. Art has an emotional context.
  2. Art sparks questions (sometimes without answers) in those who look at it.
  3. Art has varied meanings that can be different based on a person’s experiences and emotions.
  4. Artistic ability is a talent that a person is born with. It can be cultivated and refined but part of the ability is innate.
  5. Art is created for the artist. Much of an artist’s work is created and then displayed or sold. The process is free-flowing and organic.
  6. Art is often an individual sport.
  7. Art has meaning but is seldom usable.
And what are the characteristics of Design ?

  1. Design must be comprehended and understood.
  2. Design projects aim to solve problems or provide information.
  3. Design communicates a distinct message. Whether it is information (as in the instance of graphic design) or function, design is a communication device.
  4. Good design will engage a person to do something – such as sit in a comfortably-designed chair – or display a direct message.
  5. Design can be taught and learned. Think of all the graphic design schools out there. Often many of the same people who have that born artistic ability are drawn to design as well but you don’t have to be an artist to succeed as a designer.
  6. Design projects are created for a client or purpose. How many times has someone told you to just do a project and they will take it?
  7. Design projects are planned and “designed” before the first but of actual graphic work is ever done.
  8. Design projects have an audience in mind.
  9. Design is collaborative.
  10. Each design project has a purpose or usefulness.

So here comes Artistic Design

Then there is that world where art and design collide.

Artistic design encapsulates creativity, feeling, question and answer, and newness. Artistic design is both inspiring and motivating. 

What makes design or art good is often a matter of opinion. There are a few key elements that are more defined – attention to details, alignment with color theory and principles or use of text – but generally how well a project is received (and liked) is simply a matter of taste.

Art, and design, are in the eye of the beholder. You can find beauty and art in design all the time. 

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