Design has purpose and should be understandable. Art is Expression and needs to affect the target audience. They are two mindsets that we juggle when we do anything - from creating workflows, doing projects, DIYs, all mediums of communications, and (of course) Preparing or Running our Games. The key idea is to know how much resources is invested in either one or the other.
DesignDesign has to meet some Purpose and can be measured. Design can be complicated and simple because there are so many vertical levels we can go to meet a particular goal. If we want to be relevant we incorporate art in the design, if we want to be used well we employ techniques in design.
ArtArt is to evoke an emotional response. You can say Art is design to create an emotional response. The only way to measure Art is by the people who appreciate it and keep the thing around because of the intrinsic value (utility) it gives them.
Economics of Design vs Art.When I'm making material I'm usually by Design and relevance and novelty are one of my goals. But Attention and or Signalling (Behavioural Economics) is not where the bulk of my resources is attributed, instead its trying to make a better workflow in running games.
Strategy and Tactics with Design and Art.Design allows me to get to the point and give a practical tool, Art can make things fun. If I make something if I want it fun, I have to think about how I want to create a response from my audience. What Idea I want to express and what emotion am I drawing from (for fun its my curiosity and wonder). Deciding on what to use and what I want out of my pet TRPG projects is a matter of Art vs Design as well as the tactical and strategic employment of either Art or Design.
So in Game Design, consider Art and Design as two mindsets we can employ. When I make a game about History then its ART, and as such it evokes the emotions that is commonly triggered when we associate history with our own personal narrative (history evoking a sense of wonder as to our relationship with the past with our self). If I make a bunch of System Mechanics with a particular Intuitive workflow in mind and to achieve a particular set of measurable and tangible goals - that's Design.
So the GM or Player playing TRPGs with its ability to evoke strong emotions and responses to all those involved is ART (by the definitions in this article). The Players performance is ART, the GM's machinations to create an awesome battle or intrigue - is Art.
Its Art to the point that people will record because others may want to watch or listen to the games. Yet the Game system, the GM's preparation, and the Players character build are elements of design.
Articles I quickly burned through to write this.
- The Difference Between Art and Design By John O’Nolan
- Art vs. Design: Are They the Same Thing? by CARRIE COUSINS
- ART VS. GRAPHIC DESIGN: THE DEBATE RAGES ON by ELISE LEVEQUE
- Design Vs Art – The Difference And Why It Matters by Addison Duvall
Minor Gripe after all those Articles
Artistic Talent is a quality that gets thrown up a lot in this discussion. I grew up with people saying I and others have "artistic talent" and met people with "no artistic talent" and I find it kinda strange. One thing that doesnt make sense is how do I measure artistic talent, and thats when I had a serious gripe about the subjectivity of art. Design can be measured and the rationalist geek in me loves that. Art is subjective and is as annoying as solipsist philosophy.
I want Art's not to have that solipsist quality. So after these articles I've come to use Inclination instead of Talent. As in "Jerry has an Artistic Inclination".