Design is Not Art

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At 3:40pm On 11/16/16 I attended Design is Not Art presented by Austin Knight | Lead UX Designer, Hubspot at the 2016 Internet Summit located at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC.

Design Is Not Art

austin-knightThis talk was not about design or art; it was about designers. It was about the things that we create and the ways in which we create them. It included extended discussion about the processes that we use and how those processes define us. It’s these qualities that set artists and designers apart (and why they matter). What are the differences between design and art? What is the most important quality that a designer can possess? And how are the two so closely related?

In this talk, we examined the ways in which design and art are fundamentally different, and how through those differences, we can extract the qualities that comprise great designers and leaders. In a roundtable atmosphere, we discussed the contrasting purposes, data sources, and creative processes that design and art hold. He hoped that his insights might add a new perspective on what it means to be a designer, and how designers that possess one particular quality are prone to better feedback, accountability, innovation, collaboration, and outcomes. Unfortunately, this seemed to deal more with software development designers and game artists, and had little to bear on art and design in specific. Finally, we heard personal accounts from designers at companies like Google and Apple, sharing their approaches to design and the qualities that they value.

In Austin’s words: “You may or may not leave this talk convinced that design is not art, but no matter what, you will leave with a better understanding for what it means to be a designer.” Instead, I left with a bit more disappointment than normal. The Internet summit was originally about the internet, innovations, and new technology. As time has gone on, it has become more and more about marketing to an online community, selling to people, and ways in which the general sellers market can grab for just a bit more attention. I think this will likely be my last internet summit.