The Difference between Artists and Designers

I’ve been thinking about the difference between artists and designers for quite some time. I don’t remember how this idea came in my head, and I understand that this may seem silly to some, but I think it’s important to understand that a designer does not HAVE to be an artist (though he may be).

To understand the difference, let me first contemplate over the differences between art and design.

Art inspires while design motivates

It begins with the purpose. The process of developing any piece of art begins with a blank canvas. It begins with an opinion or a view that the artist holds. The art is created to share that feeling with the others. Its purpose is to inspire others. It creates a bond between the artist and audience.

The process of developing a design starts with an idea. The designer already has an idea of what he wants. He knows what message is to be delivered, and what action has to be taken. His purpose is not to invent, but to communicate something that has already been invented.

The purpose of a design is to motivate the audience to take an action. It might be to use a service, purchase a product, or to visit some place.

Art is interpreted while design is understood

There are differences in the way the audience realizes the messages delivered by a work of art and a design. Take the famous Mona Lisa for example. Her smile has been a topic of discussion for years. While romantics say it’s because of love, scientists say it’s because of peripheral vision. And they both are correct! It all depends how you decode the art.

Design is again different here. One design will have only one meaning. And then again, some people say that designs should not be interpreted. If a design communicates multiple messages, then it is not a good design.

Art is about taste while design is about opinion

Taste depends on the likes and dislikes of people. Since their likes and dislikes vary, the meaning they give to a work of art also varies. The message that they extract from art is very variable, depending upon not just the likes and dislikes of a person, but his present state as well.

Design also has a part of taste, but it largely depends upon the opinion of a person. A good design can be successful even if it is not in accordance with someone’s tastes. If it motivates people and interprets the right message, it is a good design.

Art is talent while design is skill

It is about the abilities of the creator. You cannot learn art, but you can learn the skills of designing. An artist has his own natural abilities. Art cannot be taught. It is something that has to be invented. Every artist has his own medium of expression. Designing is something that is taught and learnt at designing schools.

Though there are many designers who invent their own styles, but like I said, a designer can be an artist as well (but this is not typical). Depending upon how you look at things, the distinguishing line between art and design can be hazy. These differences also account for the variations between an artist and a designer.

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