Why Design Is Not Art

blogcover - why design is not art.png

Design is not art, and your designers are not artists.

While it is true that designers may also create great art, or artists may create great designs, the two creative worlds of art and design are ruled by two completely different philosophies. Ignoring this reality can quickly derail any marketing project and create a frustrating riff between design team and client.

Design is about meeting a need, solving a problem, and finessing a rough concept into a fully-realized deliverable. Design is an art unto its own – the art of converting a client’s idea into a physical ideal – but it is not art in the traditional sense in that it has a concrete goal, an end-point that guides the creative process to completion.

In this sense, design is both objective and quantifiable. A designer starts with a set concept, and carries it through to a conclusion which can be quantifiably judged as being correct or incorrect per requested design specifications.

Art, in comparison, is more about conveying a feeling, a concept, or an interpretation of a subject rather than simply converting something into a set, specific deliverable for a client or design group. Design has narrowly defined goals and pre-determined results, while art is centered more towards broad strokes that are open to interpretation.

For a design to be successful, you must convey exactly what you want in clear terms to your designers, and you need to understand that you need to take the lead to make sure your designer delivers the results that are right for you.

Designers also need clear feedback. A common problem encountered by designers is that clients will reject proposals or ask for additional designs without providing necessary guidance on exactly what needs to be fixed or what the exact final design goal should be.

Being able to provide examples of a few designs you like -- or do not like -- can also give designers the guidance they need to create the perfect design for you. Clear communication between designer and client is essential to any successful design project. Successful design is a collaborative process.

However, this collaborative process is only possible if designers have the right mindset when dealing with clients. A successful designer must have a certain degree of humility and a realization that they work at the pleasure and direction of their clients.

At the end of the day, the only judge of the quality of a designer’s work who actually matters is the client. A successful designer is one who has enough humility to know that not only is the customer always right but that their guidance is essential to successfully completing a design project.

To see an example of the distinction to engage in a specific market segment, check out the link below