I've Migrated!

I haven't posted any new articles lately, mostly because I've been working on building a completely revised website over the summer and fall in my "spare" time. Today I launched that revised website. It's nearly three times as big as the old one, with more information about my process and a much bigger portfolio section. It is located at the same URL web address I've always had.

I've also migrated my blog to that site, so this Blogspot location will no longer be added to going forward -- new content will be posted at the new location from now on.

Here's my site: http://www.penandbrushcommunications.com/, and my blog is now located at http://www.penandbrushcommunications.com/blog/.

Is there a difference between Art and Design?

Absolutely. The trick is in the definition. A number of artists and designers and bloggers have piped up over the course of many years to offer their opinions, and especially recently over the internet, so it’s easy to find what the prevailing thoughts are. And it’s been quite a debate.

Let me distill the high points for you.

The Artist

Some of the characteristics of the Artist are that they are working with a personal vision with no or few rules; the work is subjective and they create their own formula or symbols. There is often an emotional component or an attempt to connect with the observer. Sometimes no client is necessary, as they often produce the work for its own sake.

The Designer

By contrast, the Designer is working with what is often called “Applied Art.” The vision comes from the client, who sets up the parameters for the work. There is a problem to be solved, and a calculated process to meet an objective, using established formulas or symbols. It often carries a purpose or function, such as communicating a message or helping a customer take action. It is more commercial, and it is most likely the type of work seen in advertising.

Many artists are designers and many designers are artists. The line between the two can become blurred, however. I use to paint watercolor renderings of dramatic characters in stage costumes. I considered my renderings, although done as a “costume designer” with certain restrictions in mind as I painted, to be art pieces. Today I concentrate on client-directed projects involving layout of marketing materials that connect with customers. There are elements of both art and design in both examples, but today my work is more in the realm of Design than in the realm of Art.

Two phrases from two different bloggers said it best for me: A woman named Rebecca said, “Design is art made to specifications, on time, and within budget.” And writer Rishi says, “Art cannot exist without design. Design cannot evolve without art.” How true.

If you’re looking for a designer who approaches design as art made to client specifications and you have a project that needs that approach, give me a call. Close collaboration with clients is the hallmark of a good designer, and I’ve been doing that since 1981. Let me do the same for you.

The Left-Brained Designer

I’m sure you’ve heard about “Right-Brain” vs. “Left-Brain” thinking and learning. Most folks are dominant with one side or the other, but no one is totally left-brain or totally right-brained. Those who are right-brain dominant tend to focus on images and patterns, are intuitive, and are more likely to free-associate to make connections or lists. Those who are left-brain dominant tend to focus on words, are analytical, detailed and are likely to make logical deductions to accumulate information.

In tackling projects, right-brainers can visualize the whole project completed in their minds before they begin choosing the elements to build it, processing many ideas simultaneously. Left-brainers, on the other hand, process ideas sequentially, step by step, focusing on the details with a high degree of organization.

So, Am I Right-Brained, or Left-Brained?

Artists and creatives are commonly assumed to belong to the right-brain group, and probably most are. But not me. I tend to be left-brain dominant. I come from a family of scientists and engineers, and it rubbed off. Although I hold a graduate degree in design, and spent several years teaching design, I was always highly organized and sequential. Then I earned a computer programming certificate, and the logic of programming made perfect sense to me.

These days, when I work on graphic design projects, I can provide my clients with much more than a pretty final product. I can operate within deadlines that match their corporate schedules. I care about functionalities and processes, and I plan ahead for them. And, as I have a technical background, my most ideal clients are those in high-tech industries, because I think much like them.

How about you? If you’ve been skittish about hiring an “artistic type” because that doesn’t match your own style, look harder. Not all designers are right-brain dominant, and they do great work. Give me a call and let’s talk. You may be surprised at how creative a left-brainer can be!