Design, Illustration, and Art

Design: a way to develop and combine physical, digital, and/or conceptual elements that come together to meet a challenge of some kind.

How beautifully or elegantly something designed looks, sounds, feels, works, or is conceived, is important. Design values the aesthetic, but being beautiful, or working exquisitely does not make something art.

I love great design. I have designed software interfaces, websites, eBook publications, and publicity materials, but design's role is to meet a challenge, rather than, as is the case with art, to reveal and express. Much of my design practice for example is concerned with presenting content attractively (text, images, and music) in an easily navigable way. The purpose of the aesthetic in my design is always at the service of encouraging the person experiencing the content to effortlessly discover it, and to return.

Practical Design is experienced and valued by the senses: for example graphic design, lighting and sound design, product design, publication design, textile design, interior design, and landscape design.

Utility Design primarily meets a functional need: for example engineering design, user interface design, industrial design, and packaging design.

Conceptual Design develops ways to understand and frame ideas: for example information design, communication design, and process design.

Architecture is a multidisciplinary design practice that includes practical, utility, and conceptual design elements.

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Illustration: an interpretive, decorative, or explanatory means to support something external, for example a story, a place, characters, objects, and ideas.

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Design and illustration are at times so beautiful in meeting a challenge they are elevated and viewed in isolation. 

Some book illustrations, despite being conceived of, and created with the view to supporting a story, are at times presented as artworks in their own right.

The Craft of Art