Design is definitely closer to science than art. Most decisions in design are made based on business goals, but in the best design work, science meets art.
Scientific inquiry and design thinking have a lot in common. For example, approaches: observation, hypothesis testing through testing, metrics, and iteration.
Interested in the latest articles on design? Join the Facebook group.
Thus, design, by definition, should be more objective, evidence-based, and results-oriented. Unlike art, design does not exist without function. And function is often dictated by business and market needs.
Fig 4.0: The design of Craigslist.org and amazon.comis not particularly creative or even beautiful, but it serves its purpose perfectly and is user-friendly.
On the other hand, art is more about feeling. Art is subjective and intuitive. Art doesn’t need a function – it has no framework.
Design is about solving a problem. Art is a question to a problem.”
However, if we really want to be guided by science in design, we shouldn’t forget that emotion is a great influence on the decisions of our site visitors.
Looking for a systematic dive into a topic? Check out this blog for designers.
Backed by science – research, statistics and facts – you can create a very worthwhile piece of work. Except that it may lack the slight imperfection, the strangeness and attraction, which is precisely what generates emotion.
Fig 4.1: Typeform.com and Drip.com try more creative ways to stand out from the many sites.
So it’s probably a good idea to consciously add a little creativity to a science-based design to increase engagement or connect with your audience.
Benefits and risks
Creativity is very important in website design if you’re looking to solve user problems and improve functionality. We call a designer creative if he or she can come up with an elegant solution to a problem: simple, functional, user-friendly and integrated into existing design patterns.
If you’re creating creatives simply for the sake of visual appeal or with an eye for high art, keep in mind that this approach has its advantages and risks.
Creative design is better remembered.
As I said in a previous article, “The Real Value of Good Design,” first impressions are very important. People will remember your brand better if you reach their emotions.
Creative design helps establish a deeper connection with your audience.
Some creative visual ideas (oh, we’ll talk more about them in this course!) can multiply your story and connect with your audience because they leave a more vivid impression.
Creative design evokes vivid emotions.
Art doesn’t have to be visually appealing to evoke vivid emotions. It’s a risky approach, though. Surprise, intrigue, and even shock visitors is still better through positive emotions.
Creative design stands out from the competition.
If every designer was guided by science, all “To cart” buttons would be orange. Sometimes being different is a good thing.
Creative design may not meet the expectations of your audience.
Simply put, your design may be too creative. If most of your users are older people, don’t try to surprise them with something out of the ordinary: it won’t work. Always research the audience you’re designing for, and make decisions based on your users’ needs. Users first – then trends.
Creativity gets in the way of functionality.
If in the pursuit of creativity you try to reinvent already common principles and patterns, you risk breaking the functionality of design. Users become accustomed to certain rules and patterns of design. Don’t break them – be creative in something else.
Creative design is too complicated.
Experimenting with different layouts, illustrations, or visual elements can make your design unnecessarily complicated. Users prefer simple and familiar layouts – they even seem more beautiful.
One thing’s for sure: don’t be afraid that your design won’t get creative enough. Functional but not the most attractive design is always better than beautiful but not functional.
When to give free rein to creativity and art
Every project has its own challenges, goals and willingness to take risks. Some brands are constantly taking risks, creating creatives and shocking audiences. New brand design Dropbox is a great example of creativity. The guys shocked everyone in the industry with their strange new look.
Some people said that the new Dropbox design is ugly and doesn’t fit the already established brand image, but what a resonance! All the tech-blogs wrote about the Dropbox rebranding and designers discussed it, dividing into two camps. (It does not matter whether I liked the design or not – I have already mentioned it twice in this course).
I guess that’s the effect the guys at Dropbox wanted to achieve, and personally I see a touch of art in their design. They certainly managed to generate a lot of emotion and discussion online.
There can be three responses to design – yes, no and Wow! Aim for wow!”
The famous designer Milton Glaser
Let’s take a look Let’s take a look at a few ideas for enhancing design and adding some creativity and art to it:
Illustrations and icons
Illustrations and icons are a great example of how you can combine function and art in a design. With one single illustration, you can say a lot about a product – and convey an idea, creative intent, and feel at the same time. The designer chooses the style, colors and composition.
The illustration can easily be animated – so it’s even easier to convey the right emotions and entertain the audience. You can put a lot of creativity into illustrations – and without breaking the basic functionality of your site.
Animations and transitions
Unobtrusive animations in the interface does not affect the functionality, but make the design more interesting. You can add some fun transitions while scrolling (parallax effect) or when hovering over individual elements.
Your visual brand isn’t just a logo. It’s also colors, typography, and even individual elements: patterns: photos, illustrations, and icons. Online applications often feature characters and mascots. These characters “humanize” the brand and are well remembered.
You can create interesting infographics, illustrations for an article, a podcast cover, etc. Original visual content is great for capturing the audience’s attention. Even in a standard layout, articles can be made more engaging and unusual through design.
Promotion in social networks
In social media, every post, every picture fights for attention. You can create catchy advertisements, pictures for posts, covers for profiles. Get creative – and let your message stand out.
Is design the right place for you to realize your artistic potential? Absolutely not. Design is more of a science and business than an art. And it always will be.
However, I believe there is a huge scope for fun and creativity in design. It’s so exciting and challenging to create simple, functional, and usable designs that people will use every day.
We have a chance to create something meaningful.
Creativity is not necessarily art. Creativity can be used to find simple solutions to complex problems. That’s the whole point of design.