Archive for June, 2014

Art / Design

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

A friend recently asked, what is the difference between art and design?

It’s been a long time since I had to articulate what art is and what design is. The two are essentially the same thing and the simple difference between them is that design is communication based. Art in the other hand is everything that has expression, emotion, esthetics, composition, and a relative or absolute message. The definition is can be very vague.

In terms of purpose, good art does not need to have a good idea or a goal, it can just be made for the sake of making something. Look at Dadaism for example, it was art that meant nothing, for the purpose of nothing. Not as defined but just as complex is expressionism and abstraction.

A good example of this was the first exhibit at the New Museum called “Unmonumental”. People can give meaning to the work or categorize it if they want, but the work was not meant to have a meaning.

My favorite artist, Baquiat, did not have an idea of what he wanted to paint. His art was story based, crude stories that he edited as he painted along. Another good example of art, that is in question, is net-art like Jodi bit.ly/1gEfthI

In terms of design; Graphic Design in specific. The purpose for the design is to communicate an idea. If the design does not convey the idea properly, then it is consider bad design. Design is a specific art that aims to solve problems, communicate ideas, represent ideologies, trigger emotions, categorize and organize things. It is the more practical side of art, but it’s still art.

Things start to get tricky when you involve machines and artificial intelligence or processes. The biggest question I have, that I am trying to answer for my self, is weather or not a machine can create art and if it should be called art. My initial answer was YES it is art, specially after I saw the work of my little artbot jackoon:
http://vimeo.com/37676336

But after thinking about this subject in depth, I am a bit troubled by the concept of machines creating art. I’m not going to go into depth on this here, but it is something that I think about often.

Additionally, Art can be very scientific and precise, it can even include organic matter like Damien Hirst’s work http://blubee.com/theblog/?p=511 And so can design, like in the case of contemporary typography http://blubee.com/theblog/?p=794

Art and design are essentially the same thing, both are art. The only difference is that design narrows down the possibilities of art for the purposes of communication efficiency. Great design communicates with everyone very precisely and very efficiently.

Great design does not need to be beautiful to be meaningful or effective. This is a poster from WW2 is an example of a design with many levels of symbolism.

Most of the design from the late 1800 and early 1900 are prized possessions for art collectors. People hang great designs on their walls because after all, design is art. Art in the other hand, art has a hard time communicating meaning sometimes, some art is almost impossible to call design.