The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Difference Between Design And Creativity …

As I’ve written many times, I am a huge, huge fan of design.

Frankly, I have seen more great things come from the design community in the past few years than advertising.

Of course there has been some great advertising, but in terms of solving problems in magical ways, the design industry seems to be more progressive than a lot of adland.

Part of that is that is because a lot of adland believes their job is to make ads to solve problems rather than embracing the possibilities of creativity … however I recently saw something that reminded me the difference between great design and great creativity.

Good isn’t it?

Captures the pain, sadness and horror of the terrorist attack in New Zealand in such a gentle, tender, authentic way.

You see what this work tells me is that while great design communicates a single thought with great clarity, great creativity communicates a 1000 feelings with great emotion.

As much as we need more great design, we also need more great creativity in our lives too.

That’s down to us.

What we do. What we fight for. What we protect.

23 Comments so far
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Not the most topically timed post, but you make a good point about design and commercial creativity. I wonder if a designer would see it that way? Watch this space because I am going to find out.

Comment by Bazza

I’m guessing the answer is no. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I think it’s a bit unfair to say great design only offers clarity. The example above, by your own admission, communicates the sadness of the tragedt in NZ. Maybe a better way to articulate the difference is design values clarity above all else (so emotion is used to reinforce the message) while advertising values emotion above all else (so emotion is used to help the audience connect to the measage).

Comment by George

I prefer George’s version.

Comment by Bazza

You’re welcome.

Comment by George

Me too.

Comment by Pete

So do I. Damnit.

Comment by Rob

People can ignore advertising, they can’t ignore design.

Comment by John

I like John’s definition the most.

Comment by George

Me too. Sorry George. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Me too.

Comment by John

Good post Rob. The design discipline is definitely doing more interesting work than the advertising industry. There is also plenty of bad design work being produced so it’s by no means a slam dunk. I wonder if designs ability to find new ways to tackle old problems is because they have always had to fight for clients respect? I know it could be argued that the ad industry has as well, but I don’t think it has been anywhere to the same degree, until the present day.

Comment by Pete

That’s an interesting point … and if it’s true, then the thing that we should learn from it is that they didn’t go down the road of lowering the value – and price – of what they do, they decided [or at least the good ones] to win clients over over by showing how great – and valuable – they can be.

Comment by Rob

You’ve managed to diss designers and creatives while attempting to give them a compliment. You have a unique talent.

Comment by DH

But what is it?

Comment by John

Another one appears to be confusing you.

Comment by DH

campbell could have a fucking disagreement with his own fucking reflection.

Comment by andy@cynic

To add to your point, I think the design world benefits from the cultural movement away from written word and toward more visual forms of communication (emojis, memes, motion, etc.). Designers today are more like copywriters, having to exercise extreme brevity by communicating an entire message in just one illustration or typeface.

To Pete’s point, there’s plenty of terrible design, and there’s also plenty of brands (namely tech brands) that have made themselves indistinguishable from their competitors due to their similar design styles – this doesn’t mean the design is functionally bad, it just means that even one of the most “creative” practices out there can be executed without exercising much creativity. It’s definitely a balancing act if you’re trying to design an effective message/brand.

Comment by Brent

If the design goal is to be beautiful, that CAN be easier.
If the design goal is to be beautiful, thoughtful, compelling and lead to sales, then it’s advertising. And it’s harder.

Inspired genius can do anything.

Comment by Paul Macfarlane

thats the shit someone who has only worked in adland would say.

Comment by andy@cynic

Design has been around longer than advertising so maybe beautiful, thoughtful, compelling advertising that leads to sales is actually design.

Comment by DH

Great post!

Comment by anamika808creative

Reblogged this on ram H singhal note book.

Comment by ram H singhal

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