Difference between Art and Design

Difference between Art and Design

Art and Design are often used as synonyms with little thought given to the difference that exists between the two. Many a times aspiring designers fall prey to this misconception believing the design is an industry populated with artists. The reality however, is quite a bit different!

Here are 5 reasons you can give that will ensure people won’t ever again say ‘Design is Art’.

1. Different Purposes:

The main difference between design and art is the purpose of their existence. Art inspires but design solves a problem. How?
Art is a tool of self-expression. There is no end goal to art. An artist ‘creates’ for his own satisfaction, unconcerned weather the audience likes, understands or appreciates his/her work. At its best art inspires humans and if not, it is but a manifestation of an artists’ imagination.
The purpose of design is way different. Design is meant to solve a problem. There is always a user and an end goal in mind when a designer ‘designs’ any piece of work. Design is neither self-expression nor a personal preference. Design is a process that is followed to communicate, interact and help your user solve a problem; just like UX Designing.

2. Art is talent, Design is a skill:

Art is always about the artist. The greatest pieces of art around the world are known by its creator be it the frescoes at Sistine Chapel in Vatican City or Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. If we work on the premise that art is self-expression then it goes without saying that an artist must possess some natural talent for his chosen field.
Design on the other hand is a skill that a designer inculcates with patience, perseverance and dedication. Design is a process that every designer needs to learn, imbibe and execute in daily life to be able to deliver as per requirements. When was the last time that you tried to find out who the designer of your favorite mobile app is?

3. Different processes:

Another main area of difference is the way art and design is created.
There is no set process for creating art. Every artist has his/her own ways of creating art and each artist will be known for his/her own style. Although there are generic guidelines for painting, sculpting, drawing etc and an artist can greatly improve his style by learning techniques, art at the end of the day is individualistic.
Compare this to creating good design and you will see that design is all about the process. Even though designers might have their own styles, underneath all of it, the process of designing is set. The goals are pre defined and outcomes measured vis-à-vis the goal.

4. Art is subjective while Design is Objective:

Art is more about appreciation and acknowledgement. In a way, it is a one way communication the impact of which cannot be measured. It may or may not have the desired outcome as expected by the artist.

Art is subjective while Design is Objective

Design on the other hand is objective. It is definable and measurable. It is neither open to self expression nor varied interpretation. This is not to say that design is bland or boring. It is anything but that. However, it is important to remember that design must be free from personal bias and preferences and work towards it purpose.

5. Different Interpretation:

Art can be interpreted in different ways by people who come in touch with it. To
understand this you don’t need to look further than modern day musicians who have done cover versions of classic songs composed decades ago. Just as they say, to each his own.
Unlike art, every design has to have a fixed goal that serves a purpose. Design is about communication rather than interpretation. Although users may experience design differently if it fails to meet its goal then it fails to be good design.

Final Word:

The distinction between art and design can be understood on a closer inspection.
Remember art is something to be appreciated while design is something to be used. These two might be similar but they are not same and in fact are two different disciplines in their own way.