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art vs. design

Art vs. Design – Inspiration for your next creative project

David Bravo
Feb 1, 2019

Where is the thin line that separates art from design? Does it exist at all, or is it rather a subtle transition? Is one an artistic designer or a design artist? In this article, we will discuss the relationship between the two concepts and examine some inspiring views.

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Art vs. design.

kunst vs. design

The relationship between art and design is as complex as it is fascinating. And each one of us will probably have a different way of looking at it.

One thing is certain: Both disciplines share common tools and can inspire each other by utilizing similar sources – but they are far from the same.

Look closely, because understanding the differences between art and design can be a great help!

Spanish graphic designer and illustrator Alex Trochut has studied the subject extensively, developing his own interesting view. 

unterschiede zwischen kunst und designDifferences between art and designIn a nutshell: For Alex Trochut, the differences between art and design are obvious.

The actual dividing line is derived from the intention behind the creative act.

Design aims to find solutions to problems and thus always aims for a specific result. Art, on the other hand, has no concrete objective. It is described as an independent act of freedom that often raises questions and creates space for debate and discussion.

Design may seem restrictive, but this is precisely where its beauty lies. Design is pure communication itself and, like art, serves a meaningful purpose. Finding the right balance between the beauty and functionality of a piece is the be-all and end-all of good design.

Let's take a look at some cases where art and design interact in an interesting way. Examples where communication has been inspired by art or where design goes beyond its purpose and becomes art itself.

Banff Centre.

It's the mix: In its advertising film, the Banff Centre uses an optimal mix of art and communication.

The Centre for Art and Creativity in Banff uses the "language" of art for communication purposes. The exciting part? The whole nature of the video changes in our minds when we finally learn that it is a commercial campaign for an academy of contemporary art.

A rounded and really beautiful concept!


zupa grafika hidden citiesArt or design? - The project "Hidden Cities" by Zupagrafika.

In their series "Hidden Cities” the Zupagrafika team invites you to "eliminate the negative and discover the brutal charm of the European capital suburb”. What do they mean by that?

The modernist housing estates built in the suburbs of European cities after the Second World War were ignored and neglected for decades. Although they are home to the vast majority of city dwellers, they would rather make residents invisible.

Zupagrafika has tasked itself with photographing some of Berlin's most hidden and controversial cityscapes, including the districts of Lichtenberg, Marzahn, Neukölln, and Pankow, and of making them public. The whole project will be distributed as an interactive photo box. Included are Polaroid-like images in which the negative must be removed before viewing to reveal the architectural snapshot.

polaroid hidden cities von zupagrafika Interaction is more in demand than ever – Zupagrafika knows how to utilize the trend for his artwork.

In this example, we have the opportunity to discover aesthetics in pragmatic brutalism. Really impressive, isn't it?


veraenderte plakatwaende des kuenstlers vermibus vermibus streetartFrom design to art: Vermibus uses public demonstration as a platform for his work.

The Spanish street artist, Vermibus, has made a name for himself in a very short time. What is so special about him?

He removes official advertising posters from the streets and changes them in his studio by applying chemical solvents to the pictures. He dissolves the faces and skin of the models depicted on the posters, removes all brand logos, and then returns the advertisements to their original places

vermibus austausch plakatwandvermibus plakat fussgThe optimal combination – Every day, thousands of people see the artwork of Vermibus.

In this way, Vermibus uses the context of commercial communication to express his own artistic voice.

Either or?

One thing is clear: art and design are two distinct entities. However, it is important to recognize that they are symbiotic and mutually beneficial.

Often, even groundbreaking design trends emerge through the pragmatism of certain art forms. And often, an artistic approach can reveal the beauty of pure functionalism.

Find the courage! Explore the boundaries between art and design and the resulting possibilities –because this can lead to unique and meaningful results.


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