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Are rappers poets? Is design art?

Creative Head
As a team that puts design at the very heart of everything we do, and has playlists full of Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and other prominent rappers, we couldn’t help questions like these that pop out of nowhere. After countless debates and a few coffee mugs thrown at each other, we decided to take this topic to the land of opinions- Internet. Just what the world needs, another debate.

Are rappers poets? Is design art?

Before anyone says “Uhh…but design has a function. Art doesn’t.”, remember that this exact phrase is what got us involved with throwing coffee mugs at each other. Among other things. Art has a purpose. Probably the biggest of all. To keep things interesting. To inspire people. You look at a painting like “A Ship on the Rough Seas” by Max Jensen, or a medieval cathedral in France, or watch a film by Satyajit Ray, the aftertaste and echoes of these experiences will influence your thoughts and possibly, your actions, too.

But like any form, art keeps evolving. There are no boundaries to what is art, but only people’s perceptions and understanding of art. One could make an argument that all these happen with the concept of design, too. When done right, designs evoke people’s emotions, help them take action, and become an integral part of our lives through the immortal digital ecosystem.

The only difference between design and art is that sometimes people don’t understand art. At least consciously. But to label something as design, it has to connect instantly with the people. Communication must happen at levels. There is no right way to experience art, which is not the case with design. However, aesthetics, craftsmanship, and the idea behind the execution are the common grounds on which both art and design are often judged.

One simply cannot ignore how similar both are and yet how unique when seen under different lights. A lot similar to the subject of rappers and poets, even though it’s obvious that both these art forms, at some point, would’ve had a common ancestor from which they evolved into two different disciplines. While many agree that rappers are poets, they also instantly agree on the fact that “Not all rappers are poets”.

Nevertheless, there is one thing that we all can agree on. Both are work! It takes serious skill and raw emotion behind these forms to reach a person penetrating through all the social and cultural layers one has built for oneself. The fact that these questions trigger the masses is a testament to that.

So, here are 4 reasons why we think that design, indeed, is art.

Design makes ideas accessible

Communicating complex ideas to people- the very essence of design and any process associated with it. The most successful and effective ideas in history have always been accessible to the masses. Traditionally, art forms like paintings, plays, poems, and songs have been used to make these ideas tangible, giving them a shape and form that people can touch. Given that most of such ideas either happen in the digital realm or inevitably land there, design has now taken the role of making ideas tangible. Many “traditional” art movements are translated into design practices, like minimalism, abstractism, suprematism, and many others.

Design is the reflection of the designer and the ideas they believe in

Be it Apple’s first iPod that wowed us or the Tesla cybertruck that made us feel like we were living in a dystopian future, we were able to relate to the idea behind their existence, even though they were completely new to us at that time. Probably because a designer, most likely a human with similar tastes and feelings is behind the process? For instance, we work with businesses and organizations from different parts of the world. Meaning, that our design team has to actually connect with the culture and thought process of our client in real time to create work that matters. One of the best ways to do this (also the most fun way) is by building a team that’s diverse in skills, thoughts, culture, and whatnot. This allows us to be more instinctive, lively, and most importantly, effective.

Design is influenced by its medium

A lot similar to art, design, too, is influenced by its medium. With technology evolving at a rapid pace, it’s increasingly erasing the constraints the medium imposes on the design. Many artists argue that the limitations of the medium and the need for expression are the fundamental factors that drive the creativity of an artist. And there exists no right or wrong medium. Or a better one. However, the unique characteristics of these mediums help the designers craft a cohesive, holistic story. Digital is one such medium with unique opportunities and challenges along the way. It constantly tries to blur the boundaries between itself and the physical world. The best way for both the design teams and brands to leverage this unique trait of the medium is to let the idea take the wheels and be open to experiences that the process may bring along the way.

A good design makes the world a better place

Though this may sound like a blunt version of what everyone is trying to do these days, a good design can actually make the world a better place. Not long ago, our team collaborated with the National Institute of Ocean Technology to help build an Ocean Observation System that monitors the vast coastal region of India and its livelihood. As we witnessed how these design-led initiatives simplified highly critical but complex processes, it further cemented our belief that good design has the potential to make our world a better place. Moreover, it also helped us realize that we have more opportunities than ever to create such impact with our work.

So, to finish this with a question that starts another debate, Are memes art?