Is it Art?

colour swatches

Sometimes people compare graphic or advertising design to fine art. They believe that a piece of graphic design should be something of stunning visual beauty that the audience would admire or wish to frame and hang in a gallery. An interesting notion that whilst commonplace isn’t necessarily relevant.

Of course as a designer I would love all my work to be universally admired and gazed upon with loving eyes. But let’s be realistic, graphic and advertising design in particular, have a job to do and that sometimes means that “beauty” just isn’t the way to go. A designer shouldn’t ask the question “do you like my design”, but should be more concerned with “does my design work.” Clients commission designers to fulfil a requirement of their organisation – to inform, to promote or to sell. If the target audience is male over 60’s with an interest in motors, then there is little point producing a “beautiful” design filled with reference to the nostalgic textiles of William Morris, the eccentricities of Salvador Dali, or the modernist typographic and geometric forms of the Bauhaus.

The taste of the audience is paramount and designers should be more concerned with appealing to these groups to help their clients receive the best return on investment rather than designing in a manner dictated to us by whatever design style happens to be in vogue or is popularised by peers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not advocating ugly or dated work or being disrespectful to any particular design style, I’m just stating that each project is unique and one size does not fit all.

A great design should be created with that bespoke brief, that unique client and that target audience in mind and they should not be shoehorned into a formulaic trendy design template just to suit a lazy designer.

A truly successful design should function on every level – for target, for designer but most of all for the client – after all if a designer wants to be successful then they have to work hard to ensure their clients success first.