There is a common thread about design in general, and web design in particular - is it art or is it science? Should the form and appearance prevail, or should functionality and usability define it? We have gathered our thoughts about this and decided to share them so you know better how we approach the matter.

Graphic, or Visual design often looks like a piece of art and can easily be mistaken for one. But is it really?

Purpose

Design, unlike Art, is created with the purpose of solving certain problems. Art often has goals too, but in order for something to be considered as a piece of art it usually has to transcend far beyond daily purpose.

Design also needs to have a clear message. What-is-the-author-trying-to-say question might come as a good sign for art but it’s definitely bad when it comes to design.

Even more so in Web Design which has some Visual design in it, yes, but it also incorporates:

  • communication design;
  • user interaction design;
  • information architecture design;
  • etc.

Because of all these Web design success can be measured and is more or less objective while art remains subjective.

Recap

  1. Visual design is closest to art, but it’s not;
  2. Visual design is just a small part of Web design;
  3. Web design is objective, while art is subjective.

“What separates design from art is that design is meant to be… functional.”
~ Cameron Moll, UX leader & strategist

OK, but does all that mean websites should not necessarily look beautiful? Of course they should! Part of their purpose is to provide satisfying user experience after all. But a website visual look should mostly help users get the right message and interact with the content in a meaningful way, not interfere with that. That is why we like to build well thought out minimalistic designs, with nice details and less visual noise.

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