Art vs. Graphic Design

The closest thing I come to being a golfer is miniature golf. In fact, the only time I’ve walked all 18 greens is when I was the photographer for a fundraising golf tournament. So when my latest project required me to map out a disc golf course, I went straight to my son-in-law for guidance.

It’s good to learn new things.

Here’s another thing I’m not close to being—a fine artist. Wait, you ask, aren’t you a graphic designer? While it’s true many artists create design and many designers create art, in reality, they are two fundamentally different disciplines.

Let’s compare

Art is a form of personal expression. Its value is in itself and it comes from deep within its creator. It’s a reflection of that person. Good art makes you think. It moves your emotions. It doesn’t, however, request any specified action from you nor does it solve a problem.

Graphic design is all about use and purpose. While pleasing aesthetics are vital, graphic design’s role is to communicate a very specific message. It does the thinking for you. When executed well, it reflects the audience to whom it’s directed. Graphic designers methodically use whatever sources are available to achieve the objective, even using work beyond their own (always with permission, of course). Good design captures your attention. It educates, motivates, and calls you to action.

Graphic design is my thing; stepping beyond

Once again I’m stepping out of my bounds for this latest project, thanks to Donna Neuwirth, of Wormfarm Institute. Donna’s creative mind never stops and this year she and her team are doing a DISCovery Art Golf event.

“Make something abstract for the brochure,” Donna tells me. “Abstract, yet organic. Make it art.”

So here it is, my little abstract work of art. It’s taken from the fairways and holes of the golf course map and arranged, overlapped and merged from the depths of my non-golfer’s heart. It speaks to the delightful convergence of disc golf, art and nature. I think it will appeal to golfers.

Wait, does that make it graphic design?

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