Originally published on an old blog…
One of the most interesting takes on Art Direction vs Design I've read in a while.
Art direction brings clarity and definition to our work; it helps our work convey a specific message to a particular group of people.
By contrast, design is the technical execution of that connection.
If I tell my wife that I love her, but say it with a frown on my face, she’ll get mixed signals. If I say it nonchalantly while watching TV, she might not fully believe it. But when I say it with a genuine smile and a bouquet of flowers, my meaning is clear. In this example, my love is the art direction, while my smile and the deep red color of the roses are the design. They work hand-in-hand to deliver the point emotionally and physically. Design is perfection in technique; art direction is about the important, yet sometimes intangible emotion that powers the design.