Design is not art. It’s a distinction understood by practicing designers, but it still eludes many. In an Oct. 29 talk at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the 87-year-old graphic design legend Milton Glaser gave the best definition of the practice of design.
“Design is the process of going from an existing condition to a preferred one,” said the 2010 National Medal of Arts recipient. “Observe that there’s no relationship to art.”
This confusion is not just a matter of semantics. In businesses, schools, offices, even newspapers, design is often associated with the art department. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the aim of design. When art and design are confused, the designers’ domain becomes limited to style and appearance.