Art and design

Art Inspires, Design Motivates

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Art Inspires, Design Motivates
Both art and design might be said to be about communication. Both aim to create a reaction. They even use some of the same methods in which to achieve these goals. The reactions, however, are where we can find another major difference: art, generally, aims to make those who view it have an emotional experience, to be inspired to think a certain way or to consider a certain topic.
The artist shares their emotions and views through choices of color, shape, and content. Design aims to motivate. To make the people who view it actually do something — also using color, shape, and content.
One of the most famous paintings in the world is the Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. It shows a surrealist scene of clocks melting in the foreground of an open landscape. It brings to mind thoughts of decay, of dreaming, of the chaotic nature of the universe, of whether we can ever correctly perceive our own reality; the clocks create strange shapes, lying next to a monstrous half-face, cast in shade, while a pale yellow horizon gives the scene depth by drawing the eye to the background and contrasting with the shadows.

Similarly, one of the best design inventions in POST-IT notes

That particular shade of yellow, by the way, is one you may well see every day. It is the color of a post-it note.
Post-it notes have one of the most famous design stories out there: Dr. Spenser Silver, trying to create an extra-strong adhesive, accidentally made one so weak that it could be removed and reapplied over and over again. After some development, the post-it note was born.
The most common color is that light yellow, not chosen because the designer wanted us to consider eternity, but because it is eye catching and contrasts well with anything written on it in darker ink. Same color, same principle, same effect — and vastly different reactions.
Art is Interpreted, Design is Understood
“I don’t understand it,” complains the disgruntled tourist in the gallery. “What’s it supposed to be?”
“You’re not supposed to understand it,” soothes the friend that dragged them here instead of the cheese festival, “that’s the point.”
And, one might say, that really is one of the main points of art. All those questions it forces us to ask ourselves lead us to an interpretation. Yet no-one will have quite the same interpretation as anyone else; they will be affected by their own perceptions, history, and worldview. Again, this may well be the point, that each person will have a different answer to the question asked.
Design, on the other hand, seeks to provide a single answer. The same answer for everyone, and the more easily understood, the better. It would not do, after all, for every person who looks at a street sign to come up with their own personal interpretation of it. “Sorry, officer, it’s just that orange is such an indecisive color, don’t you agree, that I simply felt like the sign might also have meant that you didn’t have to turn there, you know, that it was up to how you felt in the moment… you’re fining me how much?”

And yet, design so often relies on artistic principles, and art can, in fact, seek to communicate a single message to everyone. Again and again, we see these factors overlap.

Take, for example, the art which represents a specific culture. Sometimes, it can be the only way a person from one culture can begin to understand another — and the fact that it results in this understanding means that it has, in fact, managed to convey a specific message.
We still cannot separate the two.

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