February 17, 2004

art v. design

Via one of those mailing lists, this nugget from Rich Gold

And the way I think about it, the difference between the art and the design is that an artist paints a painting, and he goes, “Oh, it’s beautiful. It’s me. It expresses myself. There I am. There’s my vision.” A designer paints a painting and in the end, turns it around and asks: “Do you like it? No? I’ll change it.”

Well, that’s a huge difference.

And you laugh, and of course artists love to laugh at this too, but actually that motion of turning the painting around and asking for input is an extraordinarily difficult and important one. It can be done badly or it can be done well, but if you meet a great designer who can do that turning motion great, it’s wonderful, it’s magic. It’s as important, more maybe, as anything other innovative act.

From Seven Pragmas of Innovation: The Coast Guard and its Borders, a presentation (with accompanying text) from September of 1998.