What does it mean to balance art and design, and why is it important for creators to consider those two things when tackling a new project?

In advance of Promax Europe in Madrid in March, Beatriz Romero, executive producer at Madrid-based Tavo Studio, spoke with Daily Brief to preview her upcoming session, which will offer tips gathered from her experience working in art direction and motion design for clients such as Nike, NBC and Loewe.

What are some key similarities and differences between art and design?

The clearest difference between both is that design is rational and art is emotional. Both are ways to communicate a message, but how to do it and what it provokes in you makes the difference.

Are there exceptions where a creative should prioritize art over design, or vice versa? Is there a project you’ve worked on that is intentionally more artistic? If so, why?

Sometimes ARTISTS—in capital letters—like painters, do what they really feel: no restrictions, no sizes, no requirements, no problems to solve. The creativity flies along, that could be the 100 percent meaning of art, when something speaks from your inside, from your soul.

On the other hand, design prioritizes problems, marketing requirements, branding elements [etc.] over art, but that’s its nature… When they cross together, sometimes, it doesn’t finish well. For example, the purpose of a chair is to be comfortable and functional more than beautiful, but if it is super beautiful but terrible for your back… [that’s] a [badly designed] chair.

In our case, it happens [often] when we receive very straightforward projects. [There’s] no space to let the imagination go, no space for advice, etc. We try to avoid that because what we like is to add a bit of our soul in each project. We have developed many projects without design requirements: for example, the Awwwards. We just have to [communicate] that this event exists and from that point, we [have created] these videos three years in a row.

Digital Thinkers - Awwwards Conferences from TAVO on Vimeo.

How does a creative know if they’ve struck the balance between art and design? Are there ways of measuring its success?

Design is more to resolve a brief, to accomplish with key points [what] the client wants to communicate, to show the main characteristics of the product, or branding requirements.

Art is to give that emotion, to feel something. If you are doing something that is not yours, you are just solving the problem. When you put a story on it, an environment, a question to it, then you are creating something. It is super hard in this crazy world of consumption and capitalism, but you just need to stop and think, ‘I like this? Can I give a bit more than what is written here?’

Is there a recent project you’ve seen that represents the ideal balance between art and design? How does it accomplish this?

We have created some projects for Loewe and that could be an example of how to meet very strict goals and marketing requirements with a touch of art and find that balance. We had to [consider] every inch of their products, very carefully telling how the product is made in manufacturing, the textures of the premium materials, how many colors this line has, what the concept of that collection is, what the sneaker is inspired by, etc.

In this case, Ballet Runner Project, we had to create the sneaker — [noting] that [the shoe] is lightweight with the supple sole and elasticated sides—and combine that with a message inspired by ballet dance. We decided to first play with the textures, showing the material and going very close to them… We constructed the sneaker in a very smooth and elegant way to show that it is a delicate, premium material, sewing the logo (that was a wink that we knew the client would like) and make the sneaker float in an abstract environment to show that it is light. Finally, it falls to show the ballet dance, the inspiration of the sneaker.

To do this, you need to give a bit more of what [the client is] asking for, to create beauty over requirements, [and to think] how to tell this story while being elegant, artsy and meeting design goals.

Can you tell us a little more about what’s in store for your session at Promax Europe?

This was a hard but beautiful topic to start with, to show what we like, our way to go into ‘impossible-unreal-real-abstract’ situations to resolve. We will try to show our way of doing that.

What do you want people to take away from your session?

Thinking, this is an open debate, the balance of each project that for us is the alliance between the requester and the supplier.

Check out Beatriz Romero’s session, “The Balance Between Art and Design,” at Promax Europe on 16 March in Madrid, Spain. Registration is now open.

Tags: promax europe 2020

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