Art Vs. Design

I was just reading this interesting blog by Graphic Designer Mark Boulton. I was brought to his blog by following a link to this post, Five Simple Simple Steps to Designing With Color. This article has some interesting points about his first 'step'- designing with tone (this is followed by two more of the five steps, then you have to buy the book).

However, its his post One Principle to Design By that I found most interesting. It is a response to Joshua Porter's post Five Principles to Design By (not to be confused with Boulton's Five Simple Steps).

In Porter's blog, he writes;

Design is not Art.
Art is about personal expression. It is about the life, the emotions, the thoughts and ideas of the artist. It matters very little what observers do, their activity is not required, only their appreciation. The practice of Art doesn’t require them. It is a necessary activity for the artist, and the artist alone.

An interesting point that I hadn't given a lot of thought to before. In an art class we often go seemlessly, perhaps even unconsiously, between discussions of art and design. It never occured to me to draw that line in the sand. Boulton responds;

The grey area of Art and Design is the practice of the craft of design. It’s the difference between a design being usable and a design being usable and special.

Anyway, it would be an interesting discussion to have with students- how to navigate the grey area between art and design. Is design a kind of art, or do 'art' and 'design' represent two ends of a spectrum between the personal and the professional?


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