Design is NOT Art!

It’s the bastard lovechild of logic and creativity

You might be thinking ‘Duh!’ but you’d be surprised how many people approach design feedback like they’re critiquing art. Sometimes us creative folk can get confused too, which is why one of our interview questions for potential new designers is ‘Is design an art or a science?’ Those who answer ‘art’ aren’t for us.

Why do we have such a bee on our bonnet about it? Here are our 5½ reasons:

1. Design puts beauty in the corner
 We’re not saying that design shouldn’t look good, but beauty isn’t the primary goal of design. First and foremost it’s a functional thing — it’s about communicating a message from one group of people to another.

2. Design shouldn’t be totes emosh
 Artists express their emotions in their work. Designers suppress their emotions in their work. Of course design involves the personal creativity and ideas of the designer, we don’t employ robots! But their job isn’t to reveal their inner joy or torment in the name of your brand or website. They’re paid to communicate your message, not their own.

3. Art has no KPIs
 Both art and design can split a crowd — can provoke discussion and produce a variety of reactions. Now with art, that’s ok. In fact it’s often the point, a piece of art means something different to everyone. But with design there’s always one specific reaction we’re aiming for — make a call, order a thing, click on a button. No matter what reaction art gets, it’s done its job. But design has a specific goal in mind.

4. You’ve never heard of Paul Simpkins*
 Chances are you can spot a Monet or a Constable a mile off. And even if an artist is unknown to you, the style might be familiar. But you should never see a designer’s personal style. They’re interpreting your identity, not theirs, so their style should be as different as every client is.

* Paul is our Head of Design. And he’s bloody brilliant. But he’s not famous. See what we’re saying?

5. Design is a team sport
 Art ain’t necessarily a solo venture, but design should never be. It’s a collaborative process — it involves you, the designer(s) and your audience. You generate ideas together and there’s a feedback process. We’re pretty sure da Vinci didn’t have a kick-off meeting and we doubt he had to get sign-off on the Mona Lisa.

Still not convinced?…

½. When was the last time an ad campaign won the Turner Prize?

We rest our case. 🎤 ✋🏽

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