Design is Not Art

Almost every person coming to me for help expects design to handle visual layer outcomes.

Time after time it's not the main area that needs to be reworked.

Design is more of a usage and performance tool than visual layer tool. And it's my job to explain that.

I usually have to explain that design is a b2b construct.

The late Peter Drucker explained that there were 2 functions in any business, marketing and innovation. Design should be active in both functions. How much is the question in which I can help.

But where does style come into design?

Style is subjective. Based on behaviour of your target market you should be focused on style where you spend the most of your advertising spend, and you MUST advertise.

If you advertise to solely men, choose red. Why? Because of it's the highest likely % chance to succeed in the marketplace.

When creativity and science come together to work well you get synthesis and have true business innovation.

And where does the real design value come from?

Design value comes from the end goal, if that is convenience, entertainment or empathy, that's for the business model to decide.

Ways to innovate around this include researching users, experimentation and measurement of current design performance.

And if the implemented design has some other forms of variables you haven't accounted for at the start they are happy accidents. And that is the exciting part of design in business.

Design isn't how it looks, design is how it works

Steve Jobs

You can't just say design is not art?

Art is good. Though art doesn't inherit any real outcome or use case and can have value from perception based on branding of the artist.

A design's visual layer can have prescribed art styles. But it's never wholly art.

Luxury brands using highly stylised serif typefaces and fun, quirky brands using sans-serif. Design needs an aesthetic, though it's wrong to think that is the valuable part of design because I've seen landing pages with poor aesthetics convert far better than pixel-perfect, highly stylised designs for the same business.

I refuse to accept a designer not practicing conversion optimisation

You're not ethical and you're a fraud. You've been educated to draw pretty pictures and you're doing your industry a disservice.

Designers need to show up and ask big questions that help outcomes that the business requires for sales, sustainability, ethics and profitability, and also have a hand in politics.

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