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Is a Designer an Artist?

Quote by Milton Glaser

Are designers considered as artists? There was a recent debate in one of my classes about this subject. The class is mostly composed of graphic designers and a few fine arts majors. Our professor declared that designers are not artists because he doesn’t have a limited art background and considers himself a craftsman rather than an artist. Most the class seems to believe that design and art are extremely different but with some similarities like process and critique. I personally feel that design involves creativity but there is no real deep personal connection involved. Design is meant to be aesthetically appealing to the client or viewer. It is supposed to communicate a specific message while fine art is more about self-expression and personal exploration with or without a message. I believe occasionally these two disciplines do cross paths. Fine arts sometimes need structure that design offers. Design sometimes needs that uniqueness and emotion that usually come from fine arts. Is a designer an artist? Well, that really depends on the person who you are asking.


  1. Kevin Vincent wrote:

    I like how well written and straight to the point your blog post is…I agree with what you are saying and I do think that there is a difference between designers and artists. Although, both sides of the spectrum have similarities.I believe that design is more focused on problem solving, while art(ists) are involved more in creating work that is personal for themselves.

    Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  2. mcatalb wrote:

    I certainly agree with your perspective and the conclusion you came to.

    Friday, March 3, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink
  3. Kaitlyn Hines wrote:

    Great discussion and a well written conclusion.

    Friday, March 3, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  4. Casey Chen wrote:

    There’s some weird areas though. There are artists whose art communicates specific messages, like Ai Weiwei. Yes, the work is very personal to him, but they’re all created to try to communicate a message beyond just his personal beliefs. Other people also make art that talks about environmentalism and social issues. There’s also designers who can design for a strong belief they have, with or without a client, so there can be a personal connection there. I’m not trying to disagree with you because I can agree, to some level, a lot of what you say. I’m just curious about your thoughts on what I think to be gray areas by this definition.

    Friday, March 3, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink