Difference between art and design

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Design and art are different, a difference understood by many designers, but it is difficul for many others.

En diseño buscamos resolver un problema, ya sea de comunicación o para facilitar el uso de ciertos dispositivos, en el caso por ejemplo de una aplicación móvil. Mientras que mediante el arte expresamos una idea, un sentimiento que no tiene otro fin que el de entablar una comunicación con el expectador para crear un él un sentimiento o despertar una percepción.

In design field we seek to solve a problem, whether it is a communication problem or make easier use a specific devices, for example in the case of a mobile application. While through art we express an idea, a feeling that has no other purpose than to establish a communication with the viewer to spark a feeling or awaken a perception.

In companies, schools, offices and even in the media, design is often associated with the art department. When art and design are confused, the work of designers is limited to style and appearance. And the truth is that good designers solve problems rather than manage styles and graphic trends.

Difference between art and design

Differences between art and design

A different purpose

Art is about exploration. Leaping into the unexplored, blindly and breavely probing new subjects, artistic styles and ideas. Design is about observation and iteration. Looking at solutions that have worked well in the past and improving on them.

Art is a projection of its creator. Design is function. It helps the user complete a task or navigate a system.

Art has a mysterious power and cannot be quantified, while the effectiveness of design is measured by how well it meets a client’s objective.

Different sources of information

In one hand, a design project works with information from multiple data sources to analyze user behavior and see the possibilities for improving that behavior. As the processes and data sources we use to investigate our designs continue to mature, the practice of design becomes increasingly objective.

On the other hand, art is a form of personal expression, its source of data can come solely from the artist. Even if you draw inspiration from other works and seek information externally your purpose is subjective.

Role of creativity

Both are fields where creativity plays a very important role, but that does not mean that design is art. Creativity can and should be developed in many areas of life to achieve a goal, and that target is the big difference between design and art, because it changes completely the approach that must be given to the project to achieve it.

Good design is not creative itself for being different/original. It is creative for achieving a purpose or solving a problem. Art, on the other hand, can be creative simply by being creative, because that is precisely the value it brings.

Difference between art and design

Todas estas diferencias se pueden resumir en un único punto. El diseño no tiene nada que ver con el ego mientras que el arte es una expresión personal del artista/s sobre su visión del mundo, que quiere comunicar a través de su obra y recibir una respuesta emocional por parte del expectador.

All these differences can be summarized in an only one point. Design has nothing about ego while art is a personal expression of the artist/s about his/her vision of the world, which he/she wants to communicate through his/her work and receive an emotional response from the viewer.

I would say that ego is one of the most prevalent and yet detrimental handicaps which a designer can acquire that usually occurs early in the designer’s career.

“Design is the process of moving from an existing condition to a preferred one. Where art has no place, since we seek to solve a problem”.

Why the difference between design and art isn’t so obvious in some cases?

However, there is something artistic about design. The working methods of visual design are artistic. Since most people only see this outer layer of design, they tend to associate design with art.

Drawing wireframes website on a sheet of paper looks like art. There doesn’t seem to be that much difference between painter’s sketches of his next work.

This is perhaps where the line between design and art is most blurred. While the tools of artists and designers are similar (pens, pencils, Adobe creative tools, color swatches), their methods, skills and potential are very different.

What we don’t see, and it’s not obvious, are the mental processes that go on in a designer’s mind, as well as all the previous work, research and experience.

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