Design and Art: So Similar Yet So Different

As an artist and an aspiring graphic designer, I understand the importance of knowing the difference between graphic design and visual art.

Both fields exercise ample of creativity and are often confused to be the same, especially when taking digital art into consideration. However, the two are quite different.

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Fig 1. ‘The Sawing A Lady In Half Performance” A digital illustration

 

THE PURPOSE: ART IS PERSONAL; DESIGN IS FOR THE PEOPLE

The purpose of creating art is generally personal as artists are people who use their works as a form of expression. They need to feel inspired or need something, like a dream or an emotion, to provoke the urge to create artwork. Some artists create work not for the public to see whereas some create for the world to connect through and maybe relate to.

On the other hand, the purpose of a designer is focused on helping clients communicate with and attract their target audience. The objective is to help their clients grab their target audience’s attention through works such as logos, advertising, packaging etc. Designers have to create using specifications set by a client or upgrade pre-existing designs- with the intention to appeal to its audience and the product. (Leveque, 2013)

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Fig 2. NYC Artist Ivan Alifan standing next to his painting from his “It’s Not Milk” series

 

THE PRINCIPLES: ART HAS NO RULES; DESIGN HAS PRINCIPLES

The general idea of art is that it has no rules as art is everything you can imagine. It can be created in any way possible. There are no limits- Pure imagination and emotion. Since the purpose of art is personal, artists have complete creative freedom.

However, design does have rules. There are elements that need to be taken into consideration to achieve the results needed to attract a client’s audience. For that, it is important to understand the choice of certain variations of each element for example; the choice of colour and the choice of typography. Choices are made according to what mood is aimed to be set and what the message of the product is being delivered. 

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Fig 3. An example of the principles of design being applied the poster for Black Swan (2010)

 

THE MESSAGE: ART HAS MIXED MESSAGES; DESIGN HAS ONE MESSAGE

As mentioned earlier, art is a form of expression and there are no boundaries. This means art can sometimes be vague and allow viewers to interpret the meaning behind the art in whichever way they can. Collectively, not everyone would interpret the same message unless it is obvious. Hence, multiple messages are received from one piece of art. (Roper, 2016)

However in design, the purpose is to communicate with the audience, effectively attracting them towards the brand. To achieve that goal, designers would need to create designs and layouts that put forth a singular, straightforward message, meant to be understood clearly by everyone within the target audience range.

 

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Fig 4. An example of a painting that gave mixed messages, Las Dos Fridas by Frida Kahlo

 


 

References:

Black Swan Analysis [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from https://honeychilds9059.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/black-swan-analysis.png

Charles Dickens and Batman [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from https://2h7qju2c3qvcc3s86ekn8n0-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/baltimore/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/02/DickensBatman-copy.jpeg

Ivan Alifan [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from https://i0.wp.com/www.funpalstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Ivan-Alifan-oil-painting-3.jpg?fit=640%2C640

Las Dos Fridas [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from https://d36tnp772eyphs.cloudfront.net/blogs/1/2015/04/las-dos-fridas-600×569.jpg

Leveque, E. (2013, July 24). Art vs. Graphic Design: The Debate Rages On. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from http://thedeependdesign.com/art-vs-graphic-design-the-debate-rages-on/

Roper, C. (2016, October 13). The Difference Between Visual Art and Graphic Design. Retrieved November 06, 2017, from https://speckyboy.com/the-difference-between-visual-art-and-graphic-design/

The Sawing A Lady In Half Performance [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2017, from https://i.pinimg.com/736x/72/a4/e2/72a4e2f124d43a6e0f2d1494b25e9047–vintage-graphic-vintage-design.jpg