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Murderer of Art

Several months ago I attended a speech by a well-known abstract painter and he said something that haunted me for weeks afterward.

Up to a point, his presentation was everything I expected. He spoke about his work and his process, both of which are fascinating and highly respected by the art community. I was hanging on to his every word and feeling inspired. And then he said it. “Design is the murderer of art.”

Naturally, as a design student, my heart sunk. I am such an admirer of fine art, and he made me feel like I was betraying it. In a way, what he was saying does make sense. Design is more business oriented. It is more about money and clients. Everything is streamlined. The “designer’s hand” is forgotten, and it’s all about people pleasing. This is the reality and from an artist’s perspective, it may seem sad. It may seem like a shame that design lacks some of those amazing qualities where fine art pieces thrive.

However, the more I mulled over this, the more I realized that this artist made a poor argument. He suggested that design fails at being art, which is only true because design is not fine art. Design should not be competing with fine art, because they are not the same. A design piece may be useless in the fine arts world, but that is because it does not belong there. He shouldn’t have dragged design into the world of fine arts. It would be the same case if you tried to pass off a charcoal drawing as a logo. It would fail miserably. Fine art and Design have completely different purposes, but that doesn’t make either one less valuable. In defense to his statement, design is absolutely necessary and important and I am NOT a murderer of art.



  1. tbatzori wrote:

    I agree with you about design and fine art being different. Design is part of art in general. Design is supposed to serve a purpose and make things more convenient whereas fine art is an expression of the artist. Although they are both forms of art, I would not compare them. It’s like comparing your eyes to your ears.

    Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink
  2. malam13 wrote:

    This was a great read! I totally agree with you! Both art and design can make strong statements just alone, they don’t need to be compared to each other. The way I look at it, design is more for the satisfaction of the viewers while art represents the artist more.

    Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  3. echua2 wrote:

    I somewhat disagree, art and design are essentially the same; one point they differ is probably the function vs aesthetics part. In design we would value function more than aesthetic, while in fine arts aesthetic would be more values than function. While one values the utilitarian nature of a piece, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be considered as art. We live in a conceptual era for art, and nothing pairs better to it than design. If I ever decide to segue to fine arts and be considered as a murderer of art, then so be it! I will embrace it and make a name for myself as the artist who murdered art with design ;).

    Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
  4. jrouse5 wrote:

    I think that the person who said that was saying it a tad ignorantly if I’m honest. In fine arts, when a customer buys that art, they buy it because it comes from the heart of the artist and what that artist likes or enjoys or pays attention to. In contrast, designers work for people, and if the customer doesn’t like the design, and likely every customer in the world, than it fails to succeed as a design. This makes designers much closer to universal appeal artists rather than fine arts artists.

    Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink
  5. kudaipur wrote:

    Great post! I do agree that fine art and design serve two different purposes but I think design is art. Or at least it’s origins are from art. Design to me is a different style of art that has more of a functional purpose in the business world.

    Monday, October 3, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  6. acheong2 wrote:

    Wow hearing that design is ruining art is hard to hear especially coming from an idol. I agree with you though that fine art and design are different in their own ways. Fine art is there for us to enjoy and take in while design is necessary it is all around us. Without design some of the major companies out there probably would not exist. Design has really shaped our culture and with that being said it is not ruining art.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink
  7. zxiao wrote:

    I definitely agree with you that fine art and design are different. Design has the client, which is commissioned by others. We know what should I do before I start. Art is emotional with personal affection. It’s good to express anything they want. However, the designed art can also be creative if it has a series or its own rules. Great post.

    Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink