Design vs. Art

What is art? What is design? Is there truly a separation between the two?

These questions have been debated for many years and even today, the lines are not clearly drawn. However, there is a huge gap between design and art that most people don’t know. Below are the six main differences between art and design.

1. The End Result

Art is applying oneself to a specific theme and bringing out a masterpiece. Art doesn’t have to solve any problem. It’s done either as a hobby or to represent a social scenario for the betterment of the society. Basically, it’s used as a visual stimulation or a decoration. Whether it comes to the market as a canvas for a gallery or a framed work to be hung in a house, the artwork is the final product of consumption.

Design is intended to serve a specific purpose. A creative design fulfills its stated purpose efficiently and well. Designers will use many things like sketches, renderings and models as a way of communicating their design to a team of people who work together to create a consumable end product. The final product may be a movie, a video game, a laptop, a movie or a piece of furniture.

Basically art is for pleasing people, provide relaxation and bring a revolutionary change to the society whereas design is materialistic aiming to satisfy customer’s needs.

2. Skills

Design cannot be done without learning specialized courses which are offered in major colleges. Designers have to learn complicated techniques which they will apply in their projects. Designers have the ability to change an entire scenario in the case of city and town planning.

On the other hand, artists are people with high level of craftsmanship. An artist doesn’t need to be trained but he/she develops the skills on his own. In most cases, an artist’s skills get better with time and therefore the value of a painting also increases.

3. How they solve problems

An artist is inspired by an idea or a vision and then shares it with the world. He/she just creates a unique piece of work and the problem is solved. Designers are approached by clients who have problems. The designers then look for the solutions.

4. How they interact with people

Designers solve problems by creating products that people interact with. The electronics, tools, furniture, clothing, cars or even kitchen ware are all meant to solve common problems. As for artists, they work is often very passive and visual. The final product has limited interactions with people.

5. Their functions

Art does not exist to fulfill a secondary purpose or to perform a ‘useful’ function. Art is intended to convey beauty or to provoke thought. Its existence is its own justification. Creative design is opposite, the products need to serve a function be successful. The final product needs to address a specific need. For example, a beautiful opener designed with high-tech fancy materials may be designed but not functional. Such an opener will most likely be very expensive and very hard to sell. In such as case, rather than being a product, this fancy opener will be considered a piece of artwork as it only makes a statement and doesn’t really solve a problem.

6. Production

A single piece of art many be sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. An artist’s creates his/her work for a certain sum of money based on the amount of effort and time he spent on the piece of art. On the other hand, a design is created with mass production in mind.


Designers and artists are both valuable people, though in different ways. They require lots of learning and practice and by the end of the day; they both serve a great purpose to the society.