PART 3 Essentially, when “design” transitioned from “art” to “graphic,” sadly, it did not evolve; it conformed. Conformity is what has caused designers to bow to others impressions of their own discipline, skill, trade, craft, knowledge and, yes, I’m going to say it, artistry. Conformity is what is still killing designers now to rebrand themselves into a title or industry that I don’t think will truly ever reflect what designers do, and actually, degrade designers and the community further than the reduction they assumed when they initially decided to hold a distinction against Art, but used it as its foundation in an attempt to raise its platform. (Huh? How did you think that was going to work?) Rebranding design’s identity won’t work. Taking up the role of the artist, will.
As I’ve briefly noted, Art is rooted in history. Art and artists have cachet. Art objects are housed in museums, galleries and private collections. Art is bought, sold, traded and collected. Art has appraisers, curators, historians, archivists, and (another loaded expression) experts. Art is familiar and world renown. Design may have some of the elements of art, such as museums, and collectors, but at its base form, as a discipline, relies on Art for its credibility. Art can be decorative, minimal and graphic. Design can be concrete, pictorial or illustrative. However, the instant design is ornamental, imaginative or inventive, it really (I hate to do this to you; sorry Saldanha) becomes art. Just because design can be thought-provoking, intellectual, stimulating and interesting, it doesn’t suddenly enter the realm of “communication,” and out of art (or graphic.) The end result of a good piece of design work does not reflect that anything “more” is inherent to the piece. The work does not (necessarily) give way to the art direction, copywriting, photography, editing, photo-imaging, and all the jobs required in fulfilling the making of the piece, as “communication design.” Actually, if design is done well, the final result should appear seamless, almost as if the solution to the problem was apparent, effortless, and really removing any indication that numerous processes were involved in creating the piece. This could be why so many clients cannot believe what’s involved in good design work because so many amazing designers out there make it look easy, obvious, and at times, breath taking. (Congrats!)
But what if clients were not being sold on designwork, but artwork? Could they be convinced that they were really investing in art and not ad? Would they accept their circulars to be treasured than trashed? Landmark not landfill? If educating a client is inescapable, would making the case for art instead of design, graphic, communication, or other, be harder to make? Can designers succeed in undoing the artist’s bad rap? Designers should know–as I’ve pointed out earlier, they may have inadvertently contributed to reducing the artist to a low, at least when it comes to how the artists are perceived (and not the Arts as a whole) by certain people in society. TO BE CONTINUED….