Art vs. Design

Between finding my half written artist statement and reading my fiances’ blog entry about ‘art vs. craft’, I am doing some “soul-searching” -for the lack of a better word- for my artistic side. What is art? What is design? What’s the difference? What makes an artist an artist and a designer a designer? Some can’t tell the difference. Only those of whom are in the particular trade and profession really know. I, being a graphic designer by trade and a doodler by hobby/semi profession, will try to share my two cents worth.

Ok, let’s start with: what is art? Art in my definition is an expression of an individual. It’s how an individual see things and then that individual expressed it through some means like a painting, a drawing, an giant sculpture, a shovel hung on a wall, etc. When we look at a piece of art, we are looking through the artist eyes; we are seeing what the artist saw and shared with us through that peice of art. Every artist has a style that pertain to his own flair and personality. Example,


Here, the artist may feel sadness, loneliness, or seen sadness, loneliness, or was inspire by something that has to do with this sad scene. Whatever way, we are seeing the artist expression of something. What I get from it and what you get from it may be completely different. That is the beauty of art.

Alright, so what’s design? Design is an individual’s expression of something with a message, a purpose. The individual creates something to express a specific idea, using images and other tools to manipulate our minds into seeing what the designer wants us to see or hearing what that individual is saying. Unlike art where we make up what we think the artist is trying to say, design is saying something specificly. A shovel hung on a wall may indicate to us that winter is over or something to that effect. True, a piece of art may do the same thing. It may evoke an emotion or a desire, but that could depend on the people. Different people may see different things in a piece of art. Design, on the other hand, has to achieve its original and maybe only purpose. Everyone has to see what it’s trying to portray. Example,


Here, it’s the same drawing, but with a very specific message in mind. The designer wants us to feel the sadness or be aware of the sadness and depression. The ultimate goal is for us to call the telephone number. Designers know their audience and target that specific audience. Designers have to know and consider everything before they create. Artists may not be able to fail, but designers definitely can. That, my friend, is the beauty of design.

So, what’s the conclusion? Art is expression without restraints. Design is manipulative expression. Designers can be artists, and artists can be designer. The two, however, are two completely different breeds.

I like both. Art gives me the freedom to express all my ideals. Design challenges me to be more creative with little freedom. Just like my now completed artist statement, right now, I’m just trying to find my style, my edge, my niche, my thing.

“Artisticly, right now, I am exploring different fields of the art world, fields in which I can see myself heading down and dedicating my life to in the future. I am trying new things and rediscovering old ones. I look to that which had inspired me in the past and is inspiring me now to guide me. In all my work, an emotion, a feeling, an idea, or something is being convey or expressed. Most of my works are reflective of my experiences and ideals. I try to add a little flair, a little style, and a part of myself. One day, maybe I will be able to utilize my talents and knowledge to something that will make my life worthwhile and finally can call myself an artist, in the truest sense of the word.”


2 thoughts on “Art vs. Design

  1. Very well put. Sometimes I doubt whether my works are really “art” and of aesthetic value, or just pure graphic design as if I’m declaring “Hey, you see I’m capable of creating pretty images!!!” even though I’m naturally drawn to anything visual and graphical. Anyway, thanks for writing your thought down and sharing this article. 😉

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