That Design is Not Art

By Donald Richardson.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is a commonplace that no one can define the concept “art” in a way that is universally acceptable. Much the same applies to the concept “design” but this is rarely expressed. Many institutions use a title like “Art and Design” without reflecting on the similarities and differences between the two concepts. And many writers maintain that there is no difference between them. This paper challenges these commonplaces by suggesting definitions that may be universally acceptable. It concludes with the proposition that the differences between art and design are, in principle, so great that they may not be sub-classes of the one class.

Keywords: Design, Art, Concept, Definition, Sub-class, Function, Functional, Aesthetic

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.517-526. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 990.053KB).

Donald Richardson

Retired Researcher and Writer, University of South Australia, Mount Barker, South Australia, Australia

I am a retired art and design educator, having taught at all levels, primary school to university and also formerly an education administrator. I am a practising artist, have published six books on art/design history, education and theoryand have often written art/design criticism for publications. I am currently writing a book on the art and design of Australian war memorials. I am an inveterate visitor to art museums; lover of composed music and genuine jazz. I was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia for service to the arts and local government.


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