Art and design are different, but it is not all the truth.
Being an artist for years, when I decided to switch to UX design, I was a bit worried about my decision. The truth was the more I learned about the new field, the more I liked and felt motivated about it, but I often heard and read that art is about the maker while the design is about making something for people. Thinking that my background and artistic personality conflicted with something I loved irritated me and made me think about it a lot. I asked myself if an artist could succeed as a designer. What were the similarities between art and design? My research about the question did not reach anywhere as most articles considered these two as different paths. But now as a UX designer with a background in art, I found similarities that I would like to share:
I take benefit of observation in both my art and design work. Since childhood, I used to sit and stare at the line of people while I was holding my mom's hand. Later, while studying art, I learned it is one of the qualities of artists. Artists are observant. Now I found that designers also observe their users find out their pain points. Artists and designers both tents to explore. Artists would like to talk about the problem they might find around through their artwork, while a UX designer would like to solve them for their users. Detecting a problem is something they both have in common, just the language and their reaction to the place the present is different.
Artists are out of box thinkers. They break the rules to create something new. Good designers also go beyond their daily tasks to find a new solution to a problem. Curiosity is their best drive to do so. Nigher artists nor designers can not do their best without being creative about what is in front of them.
How about empathy, isn’t art being sensitive, hearing people? I grew in a small mountainous area in the central part of Iran. Women who I spent my childhood with and loved were mostly illiterates, and my childhood friends had the chance to go to school but not more. I belonged to beautiful lands filled with working people, and now I am far from them. I owe a lot to the people and I want to make a difference in the life of such pure people. Technology allows me to serve people. We might work from anywhere else, but our digital products are the hand and pockets of people all around the world, connect them or create an exciting experience for them, and that is why I love designing. My art gives me inner peace, but the design is the area that fulfills my passion for serving people.
There are standards in visual art and design. Fundamental principles like compositions, color, white space, history, etc. Strong artists and designers both have deep knowledge and consider them in their work. Artists can break the roles intentionally, while designers utilize the roles to create a smooth experience for users.
Art and design are different, but it desnt mean you can not bring value to your design. I took a different strategy while working on my design, however, they are ways that we bring to our design thinking process from our background, and skills that might help in another way. Sometimes it is not similar to the usual way, but this is something that the design world needs: diversity to make work for a diverse world.