Design vs Art: what is the main difference?

We often think about design and art as of the same thing, but in fact, there are some particular differences that separate these two forms of creativity. Even though both artists and designers aim to create a visual image, their reasons may be completely different. People often believe that there is a fine line between design and art since art often appears in design magazines and designers are engaged with art projects. The difference between art and design is becoming less obvious, when in fact there is a huge gap. So let’s examine this topic a little more and find out the basis of each form of craft.

1. Art creates a problem – design solves it

All throughout the history of a mankind, there have been so many situations when art was attacked due to its uniqueness or dissimilarity. For example, for a long time society did not understand the meaning of the “Black Square” by Kazimir Malevich. It seems that the actual art has been always running into some kind of problems or bans. A lot of artists have often found themselves just one step away from prison. Modern art is always condemned by adherents of the classical school, while classics are always ridiculed by postmodernists.

Design, on the other hand, aims to solve a problem. Its goal is to satisfy some needs of the customer, such as making the app interface more user-friendly, finding new solutions for the environment or helping in the development of a more convenient technology. Designers bring real value to people, rather than just another piece of craft for the gallery.

Light interior with white table and blue chairs

Comfortable interior design

2. Unlike art, design has a goal

As we said earlier, the design aims to achieve some result, solve a particular problem and basically make the world more comfortable. Design for the sake of design does not make any sense. If an item has too many elements, which make it beautiful, but not practical – it is not a design, it is an art object.

Artists create ideas without thinking about the goals of their work. In addition to their ambitions to show the talent, they do not aspire to reach any other peak. Artists mainly inspired by an impulse, their masterpieces aimed to ask questions, rather than give answers.

3. Art is for artists, design is for people

Art people work for themselves and artists. There is a huge number of art objects in the workshops and archives waiting for their time. And even if a masterpiece was able to find its place in any person’s life, it should be remembered that the artist did not work for people, but rather for his self-expression.

Designers have to always focus on the needs of an end user and study the problems of the target audience. Design is a sphere that solves everyday problems of society. Professional designers learn to put themselves in the shoes of customers in order to understand their thoughts and forget about their own.

White sculptures in a dark room

Sculpture gallery

4. Art is a constant search, while design is observing

All art masterpieces and even entire epochs were born as a result of people’s search for new themes, forms and ideas. Sure, the main subjects of art often remain the same, but the driving force is a constant study of current problems and new ways of expressing one’s creativity.

Good design uses the knowledge obtained empirically. In his work, the designer uses examples and past experience that he considered as the most convenient. The process of design is based on the repetition, improvement and adjustment of previous solutions. For instance, if a designer notices that people like a particular feature, he will use it in the next project.

5. Art is multifaceted, design is obvious

It often remains a mystery what exactly artist wants to tell with his work. At the museum, visitors can make completely different judgments about the same work of art. Modern art is now intellectually not that easily accessible. The world’s biggest masterpieces provoke discussions and debates, which can be held for many centuries.

Design, at the same time, has to be unambiguous as possible. Users should not have any questions, everything is obvious and intuitive. You should know what the purpose of each element is. And two people should not have different considerations on this matter.

Black and white table and chairs

Designer furniture

6. One can be a great designer, but poor artist

Let’s face the fact that all of the great artists had a natural ability that they were born with. Of course, one can master a certain skill over time, but if a person has no talent he probably won’t succeed on the level as those who have it. Unfortunately, artistic skills without a natural talent are pretty much worthless.

However, design is something everyone can learn and master. You don’t have to know how to draw, all you need is to study the design principles and the ways how to bring ideas to life. There are a lot of well-known designers with a very minimal and clean signature style. Instead of focusing on the drawing itself, they pay attention to the size and spacing, while learning it with time.

A girl painting a picture

A girl painting a picture

7. Art is based on traditions, design is based on needs

Art has existed at the very early stage of the development of human society. For many centuries art has been the most important and one of the main areas of artistic creativity. The most ancient works of art are based on an exceptional content of images, attention to the aesthetics of the material and to the rational construction of the form. This tendency has been kept to the present day and finds its expression in the contemporary art.

Unlike art, where historical traditions are venerated and often paramount importance, design often leaves them in the background or abandons at all. Design is a process of developing wise and creative solutions to human problems. In a professional understanding, design means an artistic activity of developing industrial products with high consumer and aesthetic qualities in order to achieve a comfortable residential, industrial or social environment for people. During the Renaissance in Italy was used such concept as “design”, which meant a project or drawing underlying certain ideas.