Many believe that designers are simply modern day artists. They believe that we are the 21st Century versions of those who were involved in the visual arts during the Renaissance. While it is true to a point, because design is closely related to art, the main call of a designer is to solve problems. I think Alex Trochut sums it up very nicely in his article of Computer Arts magazine issue 252 (full article here on Creative Bloq) by saying, “Design is solving a problem. Art is raising a question.” The fact of the matter remains that we solve problems. Furthermore, we make those solutions look good, not only because we want to, but because it is necessary.
Many designers one might meet may be artistic. Many kids and adults who create art end up stumbling into the world of design before they even realise. On the other hand, many designers one might meet may not be artistic. This does not necessarily place them at a disadvantage to the artistic designers, it just means they might have a different style of design. At the end of the day, a designer’s ability is determined by how well the designer can solve a problem.
As designers we sell ideas. We don’t market ourselves as artists. Our intellect is our most valuable asset. The same goes for many other professions. However, having artistic ability follows closely behind our intellect. Having the ability to use Adobe programs for graphic designers, for example, is a tremendous skill. A designer with this knowledge can begin working on their project right away and control every aspect of the creative solution. This doesn’t mean that a person with no artistic ability cannot still be a designer. Designers often contract illustrators, photographers and coders, to name a few, in order to realise their vision. Those designers manage the entire project and materialises their intellect into a solution through the use of others’ skills.
As designers, while we draw on inspiration from our world, our design comes from nowhere but within us. We mould our inspirations, intellect and experience into unique solutions for the problems which we face. It is almost as if we create out of thin air. If designers weren’t necessary the world as we know it with all its wonderful inventions would never be even close to the way in which we currently know it. Life would be a lot more uncomfortable and inconvenient.
While coming up with solutions is the essence of our trade, making these solutions look (by extension sound, feel etc.) good is just as important. Human beings react more positively toward aesthetically pleasing objects than repulsive ones. As a human race, we naturally gravitate toward that which is beautiful. Our solutions may be the most brilliant ideas in the world. However, if we can’t make them appealing, then we might as well have never designed in the first place. People won’t appreciate that which repels them. In the same way, we need to strive to be able to make our ideas as appealing as they are magnificent.
The truth is, the issue of art and design is a never ending topic of debate. It is extremely complicated composed of many nuances. There may always be contrasting perspectives on the topic of art and design. However, it is a life long journey upon which many designers embark in order to explain what it truly means to be a designer.