The difference between ‘artistic’ and ‘creative’

The reason I like being a designer is that the quality of the work is less subjective than in the case of fine art. I like seeing events for which I have designed the posters sell out, I like watching the page rank of websites I have designed increase and I like watching my clients expand and take pride in whatever contribution I made to that happening. The process is designed to have enough of an effect on people that it actively makes them do something.

This is the difference between being artistic and creative. For me, ‘artistic’ implies a freedom of expression with little regard for consequences; ‘creative’ involves finding newer, more effective solutions to problems within a set of parameters.

So who’s right? The designer or the client?

The website Clients from Hell often features some legitimate gripes from designers, but also features a certain amount of whining from designers who want to do one thing, but the person they are working for wants something else.

The main thing to know about clients is that they generally know their own markets, and they are employing a designer to find a creative way to reach that market and get results. As such, design should be a collaborative process where the designer and client work together to achieve these results. At the end of the day, the person who is ‘right’ is the target market, followed by clients as they are the ones paying for the work and providing referrals :)

So if you ask the question, how creative should a designer be? The answer is ‘very’. However, if you ask the question how artistic should your designer be? The answer is ‘as much as the brief asks for and no more’. And I’m going to a different hairdresser next time.

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