Like many other common fallacies in the world of creativity, “art and design are one and the same thing” is the most widespread misconception people have. Taking this misconception forward, people think that artists and designers are the same kind of professionals. There are some points that bring up striking similarities between art and design i.e. they share the same roots, the work patterns are almost the same and also that both professions revolve around almost the same conceptualization. No matter how thin is line of differentiation between art and design, the difference stands there and once you will go through this article thoroughly, you will get to realize how wrong we have been about the basic concept of art and design.

Basically, although, art and design are not the same thing, however, the two are not as though two different worlds apart. The basic note of differentiation is that designers design, construct and built, however artists create, express and imagine. To make it more understandable, designers make brochures, flyers, post cards or business cards etc, however artists indulge in painting, sketching and making sculptures. The thing that goes with artists and designers both is that both individuals are equally skilled and talented, as skill and talent is something that is inevitable in both professions. For example, printed flyers can include clever art or unique designs, it’s up to you.

Once we go deeper into the definition of both, there are two basic concepts that create the point of difference between art and design and that is, that design is more of an un-planned, rather emotional approach, and on the other hand, design is pre-planned and well-calculated creation. Following are some PODs (Points of Differentiation) that have been summed up in the form of small headings that might be able to help you understand what each one really signifies and represents, and the difference between art and design more thoroughly.

The Definition of Art

As stated by Webster dictionary, “design means to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to its plan”. Also, according to some other means of information on the Internet, art is the creation of significant things. It is a skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation. Similarly, as Wikipedia says it, art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, sculpture, and paintings.

Elements of Art

Art is an Expression

We have heard this thing many times before that art is an expression, but do we really know what this statement means? ‘Art is an expression’ basically refers to the point that art represents expression of the emotion or feeling of the artist. Taking it further, one of the main purposes of art is to express, a feeling, an idea, a concept or an expression. Art is an outlet, rather a valve for expressing one’s self. From Leonardo to Picasso, the world history is full of artists who are expressionists, and made use of their expressions to convey their feelings. Art is not aimed to get a particular result from the paintings or other pieces of art; rather art is merely meant for expression.

Comprehension, Not Important in Art

As mentioned earlier, the main objective of art is to express one’s feelings and emotions. Here everyone knows that feelings and emotions can be one of the most random things of the world and only the one who has expressed his emotions can understand them well. Moreover, artists usually do not care whether the viewers understand what it is they are trying to convey. Therefore, understanding and comprehension is not important when it comes to art. However, it is considered a successful piece of art if the viewer creates an understanding for it.

Art is Non-Profit

One of the most important elements of the understanding of art is aspect of being a non-profit. Art is a purer thing which is usually not done for gaining any profit. Although, it is a fact that everyone needs a mean of earning and same is the case with artists who do also need money to survive. However, earning is not the primary goal for artists. Artists have a creative flare in them that requires them to create, and if that creation is ultimately sold, then it is ever better.

Art is not Audience Driven


There is no concept of target audience when it comes to art. Basically, when an artist creates something, he usually does not consider the target audience and whether they will understand and appreciate their piece of art or not. Also, as mentioned earlier, that there is no profit or business involved in art, it is quite obvious that there will be no involvement of a target audience as well. The audience of art can be anyone or everyone whoever gets attracted to it.

Art is always Subjective

Art is subjective to whoever sees it or experiences it. It means that for the artist, the objective of making a particular piece of art would be one; however, for all others who are watching it, it has a different meaning for everyone. Art is subjective to different people’s different perspectives, whether it is good art or bad. It also verifies the famous saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Therefore, it represents that one person may look at a piece of art and feel it is amazing and another might be appalled.

Definition of Design

According to the literal definition of design, dictionaries say that “art is the conscious or unconscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also, works so produced.”

Elements of Design

Design is Communication

As mentioned in the first section of the article, the only objective of art id to express one’s feelings and emotions, however, with design, the basic objective of the designer is to try to communicate some kind of idea, feeling, or opinion among its audience. Unlike art, if a design does not communicate, or if communication is misunderstood, the design is not successful.

Design is Audience Driven

Here too, pretty much unlike art, design has a particular target audience. No matter it is related to logo designing, graphic designing, or web designing, the audience is one of the main things you must consider as a designer. Design is not like art, where creating is just for the sake of creating, rather, as a designer, you are creating to please your target audience. Therefore, in design, the audience is an integral part of the process.

Design is Commercial

This is another point of differentiation between art and design where art is non-commercial and non-profit and design is always for commercial and business point of view. Design is more of a commercialized art. The ultimate objective of design is to make your audience happy and in the end, get paid for it. From industrial design, to graphic design, to interior design, and they all have one thing in common; design is essentially the less pure and more commercial version of art.

Design is about Planning and Problem Solving

Design is all about planning the communication and problem solving through that communication. Design is made by people and made for people to problem solve in order to create something that fits into certain specifications or project plan. In other words, it takes a lot of planning before the design can even begin.

Design has Limitation

Art is unlimited, however, design is unlimited. Designers are often limited in terms of client’s specifications as to what they can create. Thus, design is usually constructing and building rather than truly creating.

Design is always Objective

As mentioned earlier the thing about art that it is subjective to the eyes of the beholder, design is quite unlike it. Design is objective, so it is easier to be understood and determine whether it is good or bad. There is a great number of people who when look at design, can immediately say whether the design is aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand, or if it is poorly constructed and unsuccessful.