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Art/Graphic Design: A Tale of Two Worlds

I took place in a discussion about the difference between graphic design and art, and the responses left me a little disappointed and simultaneously motivated. The general consensus was that art pertains to expressing oneself while graphic design was expressing what someone else wants you to. Granted, a few classmates (myself included) argued there was no reason graphic couldn’t occupy the same space as art, but the group as a whole was vehemently inclined that the chasm between the two is vast and immovable. My disappointment stems from so many students accepting this limitation so easily. My motivation arose from the desire to blur this line and push my own limits.

I spent about as much time playing the game as I did staring at the various eye-candy menus.

An example which came immediately to mind of this separation being diminished is the video game Persona 5. Looking at the images for the user interface present in this game, it’s hard to believe they are merely the menus through which the player navigates. They consist of illustrations and stylistic choices similar to comic books and animation, with text conveying important information and settings to players. Each menu is unique yet consistent with its style and presentation. The team of developers and designers behind Persona 5 could easily have chosen a more conventional menu design, one with a stronger focus on functionality than wow factor. However, they (fortunately) made the decision to go the route not taken, to make a series of menus so much more than just their namesake, to forego what was expected. To make them art.

Hopefully I am not alone in wanting to cross the divide between graphic design and art, and perhaps with enough inspiration and rule breaking, it will be crossed more often. If not, I hope more designers and students acknowledge the possibility of overlap between the two.

If you haven’t checked out Persona 5, you should. It’s worth a look.

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