When you think about it, the terms “art” and “design” they each have clearly-defined significance. However, sometimes these boundaries get blurry and it’s difficult to say whether or not something belongs into one category or another. Sometimes we see designs that are so beautiful they can be considered art and art that also has a functional side so it could be called design. So what defines each of these two categories?
Art can also be functional.
At its essence, art does not have a purpose and does not exist to perform a function or to be useful. However, it would be wrong to assume that art lack any function at all. in fact, there are many great examples that would contradict this idea. even though art can be considered a materialization of beauty and is meant to be admired, we can’t always say that it;s purely decorative.
Design is meant to be functional.
As opposed to art, design is intended to serve a specific function. It has a purpose and it should fulfill it efficiently. For a design to be successful it has to as good as fulfilling its intended purpose and function as god as possible. Of course, there are exceptions. Some pieces of art can be more functional than some designs but this doesn’t change the general character of each of these categories.
In architecture the two terms form a duo.
In the field of architecture, art and design often appear together as a building has to have an efficient design and layout but it also has to look beautiful and to be aesthetically pleasing. A building has offers sufficient storage, that has a good layout, that has a functional internal storage could be considered a building with a great design. But the design is not enough for the building to be great. It also needs art to look beautiful. It’s why at one point the barriers and divisions between art and design were subject to the desire of being eliminated.
Artist vs artisan.
Besides the art vs design dichotomy there is also the problem concerning the terms artist and artisan and the differences between the two. It is difficult to make a clear distinction between the two terms as, throughout history, we know that there have been artist and artisans but we also know that some artists have also been artisans and vice versa. A popular example would be Michelangelo who was a sculptor, a painter but also an architect so it’s difficult to put him in a category.