Ask any graphic designer what their job title is, and chances are you’ll receive a wide array of answers. Graphic Artist, Interaction Designer, User Experience Expert, and Branding Consultant, are just a sampling of the responses you might hear. But at the heart of it all, whether we’re designing logos, billboards, or mobile sites, we are designers.
And while many have attempted to define design and it’s relationship with art, it boils down to one simple truth: Art is created to be considered by an audience, whereas design is created in consideration of an audience.
Designers are hired by clients to solve problems. Artists are commissioned to create paintings, sculptures and so on. Now this isn’t to say that artists can’t be problem solvers. John Lennon aimed to inspire change in his audience through his music and art. Take Paul, on the other hand, who was perfectly content creating low-impact, melodic, pop songs. John and Paul are both considered great artists, and both have had wildly different impacts on the world around them. Additionally, Paul McCartney will always be remembered first and foremost as a Beatle, while John’s legacy is defined by his post-Beatle career as a humanitarian, artist/activist, and even designer.
In a similar vein, designers often fall victim to apathetic work. Does slapping a new color scheme on an existing template really take the clients and users needs into consideration? Or is it simply digital decorating. Do the tasks we’re performing directly consider the user’s experience or provide solutions to problems? Or are we merely employed in an artistic brand of pixel pushing. To most, design is another word for pretty with no regard for function. However, any designer worth the ink in their pens knows that beauty falls flat if it doesn’t first take into account function and execution. Otherwise it’s not design, but just another pretty love song.