Heinz Edelmann on design vs. art

“I studied printmaking, not design. Part of me is always wanting to be free of supervision. I have a theory about this question. So, designers admit that they are answerable to their clients, even though we fight it. Artists aren’t answerable to anyone, or if they are, they don’t like to admit it. Because of the complex relationship with creating for a client, being a designer is more complex than being an artist. The client may give you certain expectations: ‘This audience isn’t very sophisticated, you have to beat them over the head.’ It’s what designers think of as bad – ugly. But if that particular audience likes it and that particular client makes money, they come running back to you. You are in the mentally unstable position of having done a ‘good’ bad design. So design is more complex: there is ‘good’ good design, ‘bad’ good design, ‘good’ bad design, and ‘bad’ bad design. Art is just art.”

— Heinz Edelmann on design versus art