art vs design

In class today, we discussed the difference between Art and Design. After thinking about it for 5 minutes, I resolved  that art is a medium through which we communicate a message: whether it is sharing experience, visions, imaginations, emotion, mere aesthetics, opinions on various matters such as society, a philosophy etc. Whereas, design simply serves a purpose or function. However, when something is designed to communicate a message, I think that the line between art and design gets distorted.

For example, in class today, we watched a video that explored the use of a conversation machine. When asked whether it is art or design, I thought that the video itself is the artwork and the conversation machine is the design. The video of the conversation machine is the artwork as it is the medium used to creatively portray the machine’s function. The machine itself is the design, as it fulfills a specific function, and it is merely being displayed in a video that IS the artwork…it’s very confusing to distinguish the two!

While I think about this video more, I realise…what if this conversation machine does communicate a message…is it now an artwork?

Now that I give this more thought…is MY website a design or an artwork?

I think that my satirical simulation of facebook is an artwork designed to question the effectiveness of facebook in portraying identity and thus connecting people…this is such a confusing matter – i’m not sure that i’m making any sense.  I need to give this more thought over the next few weeks as I create my website!  While this matter remains unresolved, I thought i’d end this post with the dictionary definitions of the two so that I can think about the definitions and how they apply to my project. ie. which part of my project is design and which is art.



1.the quality, production, expression, or realm, according toaesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or ofmore than ordinary significance.
2.the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works ofart collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: amuseum of art; an art collection.


–verb (used with object) prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work tobe executed), especially to plan the form and structure of: todesign a new bridge. plan and fashion artistically or skillfully. intend for a definite purpose: a scholarship designed for foreign students.

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