Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Is Graphic Design Art?

First of all, free free to answer the question for yourself. It’s not what I would consider the most scientific study, but que sera sera. I draw a distinction between graphic design and art based on what is being communicated and what is the intent of the communication. Art attempts to communicate emotion, it evokes feeling. Graphic design has to communicate information—and I emphasize has to. If an artifact of the visual medium does not communicate information (or data, to be technical about it) then it is not graphic design. When information is communicated it can sometimes be done with excellence, and graphic designers want to call that art (because it is their art, as in trade) but other folks will still call it technical or design or advertising. But when the emotional content outweighs the communication of the information, as in, drowns it out, then I think graphic design can attain “artness.” And mind you, I am not saying the reverse of this: that art has nothing to say. On the contrary, art can say nothing at all or nothing specific. In my mind, a great deal of the cleaving of the two forms comes down to Andy Warhol’s “Soup Can” and an actual advertisement for the same soup. One form is trying to get you to think about your world, what it looks like and how it feels. The other form is trying to get you to think about soup. [Thanks to Kitblog for today’s inspiration!]

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