Insight

Art Vs Design

“Design is where science and art break even.” Robert Mathew

The world worships Steve Jobs. The world worships Apple. The world falls in love with iPod, MacBook, and iPhone.

If you try to give a logical explanation to an Apple fan boy about why he should ‘convert’ to Samsung due to its more advanced and sophisticated technology features, he would not buy it.

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Why? Because they say Apple is innovative, and Apple is about design.

And then I myself wonder, what is so special about this ‘design’ word? Why–all of a sudden–‘designer’ becomes a cool job, while the term ‘artist’ still has a more negative connotation until now?

Let’s start by identifying the real purpose of art. Artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci must have some reasons when creating arts. They make arts because there is something they want to express. They want to make a statement. They want to make people understand their thoughts or feelings.

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Da Vinci painted The Last Supper and Michelangelo made The Statue of David because they had some messages or statements they tried to imply—something that verbal words could not do. They wanted to connect with people.

That is the key word: connect. Art is about human connection.

What about design? Why do people design at the first place?

People design to solve problems.

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Apple’s iPod is considered a good design because of its signature click wheel. It is called a design, not art, because it solves a user’s problem that Sony’s Walkman could not solve: to quickly and easily browse through a vast collection of songs.

Web designers are always needed nowadays, not just because they have a good sense of visual art or creativity, but because they also solve a problem: to make a website as friendly and attractive as possible that it drives traffic the web owners want.

Graphic designers seem like a cool job because they don’t just make a logo or poster, but there are problems they try to solve. Logo designer tries to make a memorable logo that can communicate a company’s values. Poster designer tries to make people read the actual information.

So if you wonder why artists and designers are different, here’s the thing: artists do not need to listen to what people need to make an art, designers need to.

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A good graphic designer is not just someone who can use Photoshop and play with colors. A good architect or interior designer is not just someone who can draw a beautiful home. A good designer is someone who has empathy, who listens to people’s problem and tries to solve it. A good designer combines art and functionality, and pay close attention to how people are going to make use of his design. Designer is more than just an artist.

So think about it. If you hire designers’ service, please pay them properly, because they are designers, not artists.

And if you proclaim yourself a designer, please do not just be creative. Be logical, because you are a designer, not an artist.

image header credit: msac.org