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How to Make Your Design into a Work of Art

When the conversation, on what the difference is between art and design, is brought up, the discussion usually tends to get quite heated and passionate, especially if the group consists of fervent designers... Design and art are often two disjointed concepts, and while one might be righteous to call oneself a designer, it’s often far more difficult to be known as a true artist and you just might get drop-dead criticized if you attempt to call yourself one, as the public disagrees.

So what is it that makes a designer an artist?
Street Studio NYC by moriza

Who are Designers and Artists?

First things first, it is tricky to truly define a clear line between the concepts of design and art. Nearly every designer has his/her own opinion on the true definition. Nevertheless, the most common distinction between the two is that art must be subjective and express a part of yourself, while design is for your customer, hence more objective. It’s safe to say that being a designer does not prevent you from being an artist and understanding art will not compose you to lose touch of the design world. Conversely, it will reinforce it.

Why Designers Must Be Artists

As a designer you start out with a purpose to help the world, bring new ideas and make people’s living better. As you join the tough design world and eventually get clients, you start to realize the expectations that your clients have on you. You might do a good job while following their wishes, but as you work you’ll be developing a fairly steadfast way of working and as you keep on operating throughout this process you’ll have a more difficult time getting out of it. When you work for clients, you’re a designer, you’re bringing them what they’ve ordered and you receive the paycheck for it. While this approach to design and life of a designer is perfectly understandable and easy to get into, you might slowly feel the passion slip away and you find yourself getting more and more into a process that shuts out the world.

When you get stuck in this repetitive pattern of work, you’re basically hiding your creativity. Being a creative designer requires a lot of guts and new idea generation processes. You need to face the clients’ expectations while also slowly letting your safe guidelines go and provoke some risk into the game. This is the part where the concept of art should enter your world. Art brings a message, it tells a story, it’s a symbol of what is happening today, art moves you and it makes the life of a designer so much more exciting.

It is necessary for a designer to be authentic. With the understanding of art, that authenticity can be brought to life.

How Designers Become Artists

When indulged in your working process, you need to ask yourself whether you are adapting your time and energy on methods and tactics you’ve learned, or are you devoting most of your time looking throughout the window at people passing by?

Through art you can express an understanding, a philosophy on how the world works, on what is happening at this very second. The key is to overwhelm yourself with as much information you can possibly stuff your brain with. In this way the artist can understand what effects people on a deeper level.

Devote your time to understand how to express a feeling or message, and apply it on explicit needs. Designers need to fully appreciate research and strategy to explore their creativity, and then turn this information into designs that mirror different aspects of the experiential world.


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2 Comments


  1. Kim Prock says:

    I have in my mind some great styles of purses, shoes and accessories , and maybe some coats. I would like to know the process on how this work. From head to paper to an actual prototype, then how do I go from there to actually producing these products under my name/company name?

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