Is Design Art?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A number of museums apparently think so - household furniture exhibits are all over the place. Design is design, but can it really be considered as art too? Anything that can be experienced in the least, even canvas prints of cars might be considered as a genuine piece of art.

When artwork and design begin to merge, for instance in long-term branding, a visual designer makes something visually attractive but not necessarily act on immediately. It works by creating an impression of the brand through visual cues, making us more likely to recall that logo while selecting in the future, often without thinking. This is not true art though, because if the brand doesn’t succeed and the design can be considered to have failed.

Art is not about application. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't appreciate attractive design but when designs work perfectly people don't notice them. A sports car might be attractive but how often would you stop to admire elegance of windscreen wipers? Yet lacking an efficient example of design you wouldn’t be able to see where you were going.

Art is about individual representation. It is about life, the emotions, and emotions of the artist. So, although we may well percieve the latest Ferrari or a iconic Porsche as handsome pieces of design they're only that - design. If either of the above examples had failed as a car the design would have been rejected for something more functional yet equally desirable. By definition art is idiosyncratic, if you enjoy the aspects of car canvas art that is your perogative, but design will never truly be fine art.

Infusion Art