Art vs Design, What is the difference

Art vs Design, What is the difference?

For the folks in the creative industry, we can agree art and design are changing every day. There seems to be a distinct line separating them.

Both fields are vast - sometimes the definition can change on what is being created. Art is not just the pictures in your gallery. Similarly, the design concept does not just follow cut-and-dried rules.

Art vs. design

 While art and design share some visual principles, there are some differences. The main difference between these two concepts lies in intent. In its purest form, art can serve any purpose the artist chooses - no boundaries on intent.

This gives an artist the liberty to express their feelings and creative vision. Art can also be used to generate reactions to meet the needs of the user and adds beauty to the environment.

In contrast, design has specific roles and constraints. Some are dictated by the audience, others are imposed by the medium. The looks are only part of the puzzle.  It must also perform the intended function. Designers are not confined to meeting the end-user requirements, so they don't give you the liberty of self-expression.

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Other differences between art & design 

In some ways, art focuses on expression and aesthetics. When we talk of right and left, both concepts are at the center of attention. For instance, one piece may lean more toward design rather than art. In such cases, some people will see less of the art in the object.


Design must fulfill a specific function (art doesn't have to)

Great design is part of art and process. And looking beyond the surface, a designer will give solutions to a potential problem. But again, we should be careful about the design we're talking about.

If the design is somewhat art, we're talking of functional design. Looking good is not one of the functions of a designer. Generally speaking, a designer should not be creative every second of their work. You can think of design from a visual perspective.

If the colors, shapes, and designs are not causing people to ask questions, that is design. You should think of art as those colorful murals you see in the city. It's what passersby see as they go about their daily commute.

Elements And Principles Of Art

Design helps the users understand, art focuses on the interpretation

Art leaves lots of room for interpretation and can be vague to the end consumer. The end user is at liberty to choose the message they want.On the other hand, the message of the design is crystal clear. And it demands some consistency, which is not the case in arts. A typical approach to understanding art is looking at its purpose rather than the message.

What does it mean? Are people asking questions about the world around them? In most cases, art sets people on a path to reflection.

Is design art? The former is a never-ending process, and the latter can work off instinct. Since design is a process, they follow specific rules. Other than that, designers must put themselves in the shoes of the customer. They must address the pain points of the consumer and put the desire for self-expression aside.

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Designers play by the rules

Design must adhere to a set of rules. Other than that, it needs to be consistent because it's going to be used by other people. You can create output-based preferences and there's a laid-out process to follow.

Designers are used to creative thinking and put themselves in the shoes of those they design for. To succeed in the field, you must put your self-expression aside and work on the end product. It's a non-linear process.

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Art & design both inspire

Art and design are all about communication. Art inspires people to think in a specific way. The artist uses shapes and colors to motivate. In contrast, design makes people do something about art. It makes the viewer think in a specific way about the art.

Design is understood, art is interpreted

The design looks to interpret the art. After all, every person on the streets will have a different interpretation of what they see. Art relies on artistic principles and seeks to communicate one message. Let's say some art represents a specific culture. The only way people can understand is by knowing the contents of the message.

Design is more of a skill set, whereas art relies on talent

An artist can create something that reflects the audience. One can draw a line without a ruler, sculpt, or knead without assistance. Design is a skill that follows specific rules and must be learned methodically. Once you understand that, you will know how to use colors and shapes can give specific results.

A designer may know the rules of the trade but needs the talent to be innovative. Again, an artist may know how to paint the perfect picture, but without the skills to put the image on canvas, the message may not reach the audience.

Design is a process, art is a journey

Art has an ending, design does not. The latter requires creativity and innovation. Again, the goal must be reached through a disciplined process that requires specific knowledge. You can start art from the faintest inking of an idea and then turn it into an entirely new direction.

This is where creativity comes into play. An artist can come back to the same piece after a week or a month. It's a journey that continues. Since design is a process, it solves problems and invites people to consider their ideas. To put it succinctly, design shows you how to cross the road, while art explains why you went there in the first place.

In conclusion

While art and design may look the same, artists should have skill sets to produce output that serve a different purpose. Artists can work off instinct, but designers should use the artistic side to solve their problems.

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