VOTE: is graphic design art? asks just that. I have strong opinions about it – it’s not, but what do you think. Make your voice heard, or at least your mouse click!

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  • michaelsurtees


  • caren litherland

    Nope! And I wouldn't have it any other way.

  • Dinis Correia

    Agreed – shouldn't be treated as art. Referring to design as art is sometimes an excuse for non-functional design, in my opinion.

  • karen

    Fun graphic. I'm really surprised so many people answered yes to this question. The title of graphic designer and artist can overlap. But in the end I believe the two are separate, serving different functions.

    It doesn't answer the question above, but Steven Heller's article Curse of the “D” Word seems slightly relevant to this debate.

  • Mark Jackson

    I wonder if it is only designers voting on this.

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  • Tais Melillo

    I think it wants to be.

  • James

    I certainly understand the reasons for saying “No” – design is functional and art, by definition, is not. But the first thing that comes to mind is these guys –… – and I have to vote “Yes”.

    Design can be art; art cannot be design.

  • Mr. McGinnis

    If you don't think Graphic Design is art and you call yourself a Graphic Designer, then you are just contributing more bullshit into the world.

  • Mr. McGinnis

    OK, I do like Steven Heller, but if you say “no,” your arts and literature education is lacking, and I wonder why people spend so much money getting a BFA at an ART school. Just go to Devry or ITT Tech if all you are is a technician.

    Aesthetics is not the opposite of “meaning,” Style is not the opposite of substance. If you think of these as opposites, then your design definitely isn't art – and more importantly, it isn't EVEN functional.

  • michaelsurtees

    For me graphic design implies working on behalf of an other (usually a client) trying best to communicate an idea, message, action etc. when one decides to overide those goals for their own personal gain b/c they see what they do is art – it's a bit dishonest to the client. if the client knows this ahead of time and is buying into that art mystique who am i say that it's wrong? i'm in the camp that see's design as a service, not as a personal exploration via a patron. certainly a graphic designer can be an artist and vice versa, but it comes down to who you want to succeed – whose intentions are you looking out for first. no one is forcing an artist to push typography, it's a choice that they make.

  • Mr. McGinnis

    You're assuming all these concepts are opposites – they are not. Working with a client is part of the art – learning to compromise and collaborate is just like using the proper brush strokes to paint wet on wet. It's the skill in the art form, just as spelling and grammar are to a writer. Art is about INTENTION. If you serve the client with the intention of creating art, then the work can do it's job better, and make the world a bit less ugly.

    A designer should have the best interests of the project at hand, not the client personally. You need to bring all of your conceptual thought, emotional impulses and educated mind to bear – if you don't, then you are of little service to the client and just a person who knows how to use Adobe suite. They WILL LOOK AT YOU as just a person who knows how to use Adobe suite.

    Art Direction and Design has indeed lost it's mystique, and now days clients stand over your shoulder telling you where to push things around, and when to bump up the font size. As a result, design education is definitely losing it's focus on a fully rounded arts education and focusing more on using computer applications.

  • andyjacobson

    i wonder what the results would be if the voters were required to define themselves first, ie; what type of work do you do?, what is your income?, of “this list” who would you say is your design hero?…

    and then the results were broken up into categories.

    personally, i think jackson pollock is an artist and paul rand is a graphic designer. one creates for himself, and other for his client.

  • Mr. McGinnis

    That is not an academic definition of art, nor is it an accurate understanding of the process of Pollack or Rand. The 20th century is all about a lack of purity in art, and you can see it in both men's work.

  • michaelsurtees

    in your first paragraph i'd swap the word art w/ being professional. it is your experience that the client is hopefully wanting to work with. for your second idea that art is about intention, this is def. where i see design – hopefully it's an optimistic pursuit b/c who wants to live in an ugly world.

    i do agree that art direction and design is kind of lost at the moment, especially in the digital world. that is something that is bothering me and hopefully i'll get some concrete ideas about that in a future post.

  • michaelsurtees

    my guess is yes – i doubt anyone else cares

  • michaelsurtees

    thanks for adding that article to the discussion karen

  • Monique

    Art is undefinable, but design certainly is.

  • games

    This article I so true, keep on writing like this, enjoyment to read 🙂 768

  • alan

    People saying the Art has no function is a load of bollocks. Everything has a function otherwise it wouldnt exsist or it wouldnt need to. Look at gilbert and george, what theyve done is Art abut in graphic design context. Graphic designers always think theyve got a greater inportance over Artists, when designing art is much more complex and harder to create.

  • Color Separation Services

    good article