If Famous Graphic Artists Were Web Designers…

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Styles in design are described and classified in many ways. Sometimes they are given a moniker, like “Web 2.0,” other times they are referred to by their appearance: grungy, minimalist, retro, big type. The people (and brands) to which modern design styles are attributed are as numerous as the styles themselves. Many designers look to a brand such as Apple as an example of great modern design because a designer’s sensibility is infused into everything it does.

Even though many current styles and trends can be connected to recent design pieces, they do not originate there. So much modern design originated before computers and the Web were even a glimmer in the eye of their creators.

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Looking back and drawing inspiration from very early graphic and print design is a current trend nowadays, but that is not the beginning of the story. As you go further back, you’ll find groundbreaking design decades, even a century, ago. In this article we’ll explore inspirational paintings and artists who have influenced modern design. In reading this article, you will see some true evolution in design.

Where Art Meets Design

The term “graphic design” was coined in 1922 by one of the first modern designers, William Addison Dwiggins1. He described himself as, “[an] individual who brings structural order and visual form to printed communications.” This seems to be where art meets design. Design is for communicating and achieving a specific goal. Today, the goal is often to market and sell products or services through design, whether by packaging a product, building a brand or creating a Web experience.

Sistine Chapel

So, is design today merely art created for the express purpose of generating profit? One could argue that great artists in history created their own art for profit. Michelangelo2‘s Scenes from Genesis on the Sistine Chapel and Leonardo da Vinci3‘s great work The Last Supper were both commissioned by the church. Today, we regard their work as innovative and embodiments of the Renaissance, but we forget they were also created for profit.

We like to think of great artists as purely motivated individuals who are driven to express themselves or transform our perception of the world. Colors, textures and composition are part of their process of self-discovery and reflect the aesthetics of the time. Modern designers are no different. Even though a particular design may be intended to communicate the message of a corporation, it still reflects the world around us, and the designer has left their mark on it.

Art History Found Today

The best art in history was unprecedented and transcended its time. It sometimes seems as if the artists were conscious of future generations enjoying their work. Their compositions, colors, and styles don’t just hang on gallery walls today. They are all around us, in everything from shoes to album covers.

Piet Mondriaan

Piet Mondriaan554, Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue, 1927

Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue

Mondriaan’s influence seen today: Chiasso Windows Vase5

Chiasso Windows Vase6

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol22147, Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times, 1963

Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times

Warhol’s influence seen today: Soho Brewery Packaging8

Soho Brewery Packaging9

Yves Klein

Yves Klein571910, IKB 191, 1962

IKB 191

Klein’s influence seen today: Chanel Purse in “Klein Bleu”

Chanel Purse Klein Bleu

Robert Irwan

Robert Irwin11, Untitled, 1968

Untitled

Irwin’s influence seen today: ISST Organic Ice Tea Packaging12

ISST Organic Tea Packaging13

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol22147, Banana, 1966

Banana

Warhol’s influence seen today: Royal Elastics’ Andy Warhol Shoes

Royal Elastics' Andy Warhol Shoes

Frank Stella

Frank Stella15, The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II, 1959

The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II

Stella’s influence seen today: ASKUL Branding16

ASKUL Branding17

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama18, Infinity Dots H.R.T, 2001

Infinity Dots H.R.T

Kusama’s influence seen today: The Killers Album Art

The Killers Album Art (2008)

If Famous Painters Were Web Designers

What if these great masters were alive today? What if they were using a mouse instead of a brush, RGB instead of mixed oils and a computer screen instead of linen canvas. If these famous artists were alive now, these are the websites they might have designed.

Yves Klein

Yves Klein571910, IKB 191, 1962

IKB 191

A website Klein might have designed: Britain Rocks20

Britain Rocks21

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol22147, Knives, 1981-82

Basquiat - Self Portrait

A website Warhol might have designed: Carsonified23

Carsonified24

David Alfaro Siqueiros

David Alfaro Siqueiros25, Collective Suicide, 1936

Collective Suicide

A website Siqueiros might have designed: Snagt26

Snagt27

Lyubov Popova

Lyubov Popova28, Painterly Architectonic, 1917

Painterly Architectonic

A website Popova might have designed: Douglas Menezes29

Douglas Menezes30

Claude Monet

Claude Monet31, Impression, Sunrise, 1872

Impression, Sunrise

A website Monet might have designed: Viget Inspire32

Viget Inspire33

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse34, La Gerbe, 1953

La Gerbe

A website Matisse might have designed: Devia35

Devia36

Paul Klee

Paul Klee37, Fish Magic, 1925

Fish Magic

A website Klee might have designed: Ali Felski38

Ali Felski39

Basquiat

Basquiat5240, Pegasus, 1987

Pegasus

A website Basquiat might have designed: Orange Label41

Orange Label42

Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell43, Untitled, 1960

Untitled

A website Mitchell might have designed: Siete De Febrero44

Siete De Febrero45

Georges Braque

Georges Braque46, Fruit Dish, 1908-09

Fruit Dish

A website Braque might have designed: Belvoir Fruit Farms47

Belvoir Fruit Farms48

Hans Hoffmann

Hans Hoffmann49, Bald Eagle, 1950

Bald Eagle

A website Hoffmann might have designed: Funny Garbage50

Funny Garbage51

Basquiat

Basquiat5240, Beat Bop, 1983

Beat Bop

A website Basquiat might have designed: Starbucks Coffee At Home53

Starbucks Coffee At Home54

A Closer Look At Six Great Artists

If asked to name a few great artists, someone might first think of Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Many other great artists, though, have shown their influence on modern design. Below are six artists who are unique, innovative and ahead of their time.

Piet Mondriaan

Piet Mondriaan554 (1872-1944) was a Dutch artist known for clean, grid-style paintings. His later compositions, which may initially look simple, took him months to paint. Each element, from the rectangles to the lines, are composed with precision, with careful attention paid to thickness and width. Mondriaan’s work has influenced the design of modern architecture, print layouts, linoleum and, of course, the minimalist style in modern design.

Rhythm of Black Lines, 1935-42

Rhythm of Black Lines

Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43

Broadway Boogie Woogie

Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat56 (1960-1988) was an American artist known for graffiti-influenced and early grunge-style paintings. He started out as a graffiti artist in New York City and later sold postcards and the like along with his artwork on the streets. His painting career took off, and he became known for his use of text and images from popular culture, as well as painting on found objects. Basquiat has been credited with bringing the African-American and Latino experience to the art world.

Self-Portrait, 1982

Self-Portrait

Per Capita, 1983

Per Capita

Yves Klein

Yves Klein571910 (1928-1962) was a French artist known for his minimalist monochromatic paintings, featuring his signature deep blue. He worked with blue extensively in his early career and, in 1958, began to use it as a dominant element, making the color itself the art.

International Klein Blue (IKB)58 is the deep blue hue first mixed by Yves Klein. It is outside the color gamut of computer displays, so it cannot be shown accurately in digital format.

International Klein Blue (IKB)59

La Vague, 1957

La Vague

Joan Miró

Joan Miró60 (1893-1983) was a Spanish artist known for an abstract, collage-style of painting. He famously declared, “I want to assassinate painting.” Miró wanted to upset the traditional and popular styles of art. He was against art for the sake of propaganda or to give the wealthy a cultural identity. Miró tried not to associate himself with any specific art styles or movements. His bold compositions and fresh thinking have influenced many great modern designers.

Hand Catching a Bird, 1926

Still Life II

L’Oro dell’Azzurro, 1935

The Hunter (Catalan Landscape)

El Lissitzky

Lazar Markovich Lissitzky61 (1890-1941) was a Russian artist known for his geometric and early graphic-design style. He was a versatile artist who worked in close to a dozen fields, from painting to architectural design. He influenced the Bauhaus and De Stijl (Mondriaan) movements. His artwork and production techniques heavily influence commercial art and modern design today.

Beat the White with the Red Wedge, 1919

Beat the White with the Red Wedge

Self-Portrait, 1914

Self-Portrait

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt62 (1862-1918) was an Austrian artist known for his decorative paintings that make heavy use of gold and provocative symbolism. He is one of the founders of the Vienna Art Nouveau (Vienna Secession) movement. He is known for his “Golden Phase,” which is characterized by gold leaves and influences ranging from Byzantine to Egyptian. His compositions have symbolic elements that represent such psychological ideas as the “femme fatal.”

The Kiss, 1907

The Kiss

The Tree of Life, 1909

The Tree of Life

Stepping Back To Move Forward

Inspiration and examples of well-executed designs fill up galleries, blogs and online sources like Flickr. Leading industry magazines such as HOW and Communication Arts show the best of what modern design offers. Many of us look to these sources for ideas and to find the spark for our next masterpiece.

But many designers do not bother looking to works of art from earlier in history. By stepping back in time and walking through an art museum or reading the bio and studying the works of an artist from the past, we can find new ways to approach today’s design challenges.

Resources and Related Posts

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Addison_Dwiggins
  2. 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo
  3. 3 http://www.mos.org/leonardo/
  4. 4 http://www.pietmondrian.org/piet-mondrian.php
  5. 5 http://design-milk.com/windows-vase/
  6. 6 http://design-milk.com/windows-vase/
  7. 7 http://www.warhol.org/
  8. 8 http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2009/08/student-spotlight-erin-dameron.html
  9. 9 http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2009/08/student-spotlight-erin-dameron.html
  10. 10 http://www.yveskleinarchives.org/
  11. 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Irwin_%28artist%29
  12. 12 http://www.artentiko.com/
  13. 13 http://www.artentiko.com/
  14. 14 http://www.warhol.org/
  15. 15 http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A5640&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1
  16. 16 http://www.stockholmdesignlab.se/#/1111/library/clients/askul/askul/
  17. 17 http://www.stockholmdesignlab.se/#/1111/library/clients/askul/askul/
  18. 18 http://www.yayoi-kusama.jp/e/exhibitions/00.html
  19. 19 http://www.yveskleinarchives.org/
  20. 20 http://www.visitbritainrocks.ca/
  21. 21 http://www.visitbritainrocks.ca/
  22. 22 http://www.warhol.org/
  23. 23 http://carsonified.com/
  24. 24 http://carsonified.com/
  25. 25 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Alfaro_Siqueiros
  26. 26 http://bestwebgallery.com/2007/01/03/snagt/
  27. 27 http://bestwebgallery.com/2007/01/03/snagt/
  28. 28 http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=4694
  29. 29 http://douglasmenezes.com/wp/
  30. 30 http://douglasmenezes.com/wp/
  31. 31 http://www.intermonet.com/
  32. 32 http://www.viget.com/inspire
  33. 33 http://www.viget.com/inspire
  34. 34 http://www.henri-matisse.net/index.html
  35. 35 http://www.devia.be/
  36. 36 http://www.devia.be/
  37. 37 http://www.swissinfo.ch/specials/klee/paul_klee_index.html
  38. 38 http://alifelski.com/
  39. 39 http://alifelski.com/
  40. 40 http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/basquiat/street-to-studio/english/home.php
  41. 41 http://www.orangelabel.com/
  42. 42 http://www.orangelabel.com/
  43. 43 http://www.artnet.com/awc/joan-mitchell.html
  44. 44 http://www.sietedefebrero.com/
  45. 45 http://www.sietedefebrero.com/
  46. 46 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Braque
  47. 47 http://blog.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/
  48. 48 http://blog.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/
  49. 49 http://www.hanshofmann.net/art/art.html
  50. 50 http://www.funnygarbage.com/
  51. 51 http://www.funnygarbage.com/
  52. 52 http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/basquiat/street-to-studio/english/home.php
  53. 53 http://www.starbuckscoffeeathome.com/
  54. 54 http://www.starbuckscoffeeathome.com/
  55. 55 http://www.pietmondrian.org/piet-mondrian.php
  56. 56 http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/basquiat/street-to-studio/english/home.php
  57. 57 http://www.yveskleinarchives.org/
  58. 58 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Klein_Blue
  59. 59 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Klein_Blue
  60. 60 http://media.moma.org/subsites/2008/miro/
  61. 61 http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/digitized_collections/lissitzky/
  62. 62 http://www.iklimt.com/
  63. 63 http://www.designhistory.org/20th_Century.html
  64. 64 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,825048,00.html
  65. 65 http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/11/1146
  66. 66 http://nymag.com/arts/art/reviews/21938/
  67. 67 http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/andy-warhol/a-documentary-film/44/
  68. 68 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/17/lessons-from-swiss-style-graphic-design/
  69. 69 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/08/02/bauhaus-ninety-years-of-inspiration/

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Francisco Inchauste is an interaction designer at Universal Mind, helping clients create great Web experiences. He regularly contributes to Web design blogs, magazines, and books. He recently served as Editor of Smashing Magazine’s UX Design section. You can connect with him on Twitter, or read more on his blog.

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  1. 1

    PS, kudos to @average joe’s comment a few above mine…. I much agree.

    0
  2. 102

    At the very least, this article provoked many passionate responses. Not surprising considering the personal nature of art.

    Having said that, I am dismayed by the rudeness that seems to characterize so many of today’s exchanges, especially on the Web. Belittling others is a quick fix for a low self esteem, eh?

    0
  3. 203

    For me the point was older works of art can inspire modern creativity, here is how that might be the case. Nice post, I dont think the Author was looking to deliver a in depth lesson in art history, and for that I am glad. A good post, light reading and something to take away with me. Nice one, thanks alot.

    @Tom Muller. Everyone has the right to express their opinion on a post like this, and I respect your right to do so. My suggestion to you would be to write a better, more accurate and in depth article. I would look forward to reading it. I mean that sincerely, not as an affront to what some may consider a negative comment.

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  4. 304

    gr8 post! it made me read all the comments :) interessting how much some people have to point out the fact that THEY know alot about this topic… made me smile.

    anyway thanks for this post

    0
  5. 405

    I think a lot of people who are tearing down this article have missed it by a mile. Take a look at the category. INSPIRATION. I am inspired to look at the great artists of our time and reflect on how I could be inspired by their pieces in my next designs.

    This article is not offensive to the artists in any way. How is it offensive to say their work could have inspired this, or inspired that? And I don’t remember reading anywhere in this article that “Fact: Andy Warhol would have designed a website exactly like Carsonified.” Take it easy, it was just a thought and a pretty damn good one in my opinion. Much more inspiring than “Weak”.

    I think it was a great thought that Francisco had to say “If Andy Warhol would design a website, what would that look like?” because that opens up a huge avenue of creativity. It’s an attempt to get into the brain of a certain artist and channel some inspiration. This something I think most designers should do. Sounds like a great way to grow to me.

    The art elitist should find something better to do with their time. This wasn’t an art history article.

    @Tom Muller – Whether you like to admit it or not, you completely missed the mark.

    1
  6. 506

    There’s a lot of web-based art out there that’s not commercial. Maybe these painters would have been making sites like those, instead of commercial sites.

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  7. 607

    Pretty shallow, guys. Betrays a lack of understanding of the relationship between design and art. In my opinion, artists are better at appreciating and understanding good design than designers are at understanding and appreciating fine art. I’m a member of both camps, so….

    0
  8. 708

    “Killers album art” is of course Paul Normansell. Much of his art is entirely, or in part, dot based. I’ve no idea if he cites Kusama directly.

    0
  9. 809

    @Francisco —
    I apologize if my comment came off as harsh. What I meant by the “higher standard” is that because of the big readership this blog has — and (I will generalize) most comments on articles are of a “Thanks! I learned something new!” nature (which in itself is not a bad thing), even when you present them with information that is far fetched and not really accurate. I don’t expect, or need to read ‘deep articles on Picasso’s Blue Period’ for it be valid content, but at the same time comparing circles Irwin painted with bottle packaging which happens to feature similar circles and claim its inspired by that (or any other painting featuring circles) is oversimplifying a design and reaching for a connection to illustrate your point.

    Again, I get the goal of the article, but I disagree with the majority of the examples and rhetoric you use.

    0
  10. 910

    @ Francisco Inchauste

    The point is not a lesson in art history, but to show the strong influences on design today.

    I called it weak and I do it again but thanks for pointing out that Piet Mondriaan and Andy Warhol had a strong influence on art today. Have you heard of Vincent van Gogh by any chance?

    Re-read my comment, I think I got the idea of your post but your examples suck.

    Others were to show the “look” of sites we create today are not fresh and original ideas, but a style that has evolved over the decades in various mediums.

    It’s good to remind people of the past, especially when it comes to the origin of ideas.
    But.
    The Chanel purse already contains a direct reference to the original artist. The shoes with Warhol’s banana are unlikely to be seen as “oh wow how cute, somebody put a banana on a shoe!!111!!!!!” That particular banana is part of the world’s cultural reference by now; more people know the image than know that it originally graced an album cover.

    I have no doubt Paul Klee would have loved to design websites and work with other digital media. Now, would you please compare the given example of http://alifelski.com/ with 10 (whatever, 1 will do actually) randomly chosen paintings by Klee and explain to me, very slowly, on what tiny bit of inspiration the webdesigner got stuck whilst completely ignoring that other aspect of Klee’s work namely ‘color’? Oh wait, it’s already obvious from the example you’ve given.

    Starbucks: carefully created type, carefully divided lay-out. Basquiat: carefully created type, carefully divided lay-out. What have the two in common: well, it’s light on dark but not much else. See also Matisse vs. Devia, it’s bright colors on white but not much else.

    Weak.

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  11. 1011

    Unless any critics here are willing to provide an intelligently written response article, then you have no case. Claiming something is “weak” or “obvious” is not an argument — It’s a shallow opinion. Sure, Francisco’s point here may also be characterized as a shallow opinion by some, however there is a more polite way to say “I don’t think this works”. (I’m not talking about you, Tom Muller, you’ve been gracious in apologizing and explaining yourself)

    And let’s not forget that it’s just one artist’s opinion, not the full views of SM or web designers in general. So let’s all take a valium and appreciate the effort involved in writing this article, which by the way is provided FREE of charge to all SM readers! After you express some appreciation in a polite manner, then maybe you’ll be in a position to provide valuable criticism that will be taken seriously.

    0
  12. 1112

    im really impressed whoa
    not that somebody got too much freetime to do such a wide research lols
    but its really a nice find

    0
  13. 1213

    I enjoyed this post. great idea.

    0
  14. 1314

    one of the best posts ever

    0
  15. 1415

    Great post! And yeah, this pretty well proves there are no original ideas.

    0
  16. 1516

    And just to clarify, I don’t mean that in a negative way.

    0
  17. 1617

    Just awesome guys!

    0
  18. 1718

    Artist did profit from their work

    0
  19. 1819

    commercial website design connect with art~
    nice~

    0
  20. 1920

    Great post – very interesting and informative. I enjoyed reading this.

    0
  21. 2021

    I don’t get it.

    0
  22. 2122

    wonderful post, interesting and informative thats way we enjoyed reading this.. ;)

    0
  23. 2223

    A couple of New Zealand artists that people might find inspiring:

    Gordon Walters: Gordon Walters.
    and

    Colin McCahon: Colin McCahon.

    0
  24. 2324

    This is what i really like :-)… Off course Webdesign has it’s roots in Graphic Design, Print Design and … Art!!!

    0
  25. 2425

    Don’t agree with most of the comparisons.
    There is much more to art than what meets the eye, and that’s about it the authors compares to.

    0
  26. 2526

    There is always a “great” artist acclaimed behind any style, even when the style or the work is not great. We always need to be hit by a form of Stendhal syndrome just to make headlines.

    0
  27. 2627

    I dont know how could SM can come out with such great stuff and article like this.
    amazing!!!. SM,……. keep going.

    I love SM.

    0
  28. 2728

    interesting articles,good creative~

    0
  29. 2829

    wow GREAT POST!!!
    congratulations, by far my favorite!

    0
  30. 2930

    It is a great post and will form the basis of something similar I am giving a talk on soon. I agree most design companies, be it web or traditional, don’t go back that far for inspiration. I wrote a short piece on my blog called Creative Block, have a look and see if it resonates with you?
    http://www.kmidigital.com/KMi-Digital-Blog/August-2009/Creative-Block—What-do-you-do-.aspx

    0
  31. 3031

    i agree with those who say: GREAT POST! inspirationary! nice painting, obvious, and very nice design works..!
    although i agree also with the fact that it’s not “if-famous-painters-were-web-designers”…
    summin’ up… i liked it a lot!!! :D

    0
  32. 3132

    I´m in the not convinced boat, as soon as I saw the title I knew this one was headed for controversey!This article was pretty weak for me as well, I thought the same as alot of people when I first read the article, that it was very poorly researched and more or less just a “pastiche”. However after reading Francisco´s replies here in the comments it seems that the research was there, and he did actually establish a chain of influence in at least some of the examples, What´s dissapointing is that this was not presented in the article! I mean to do all that research and identify influences only to post some thing like;
    “Irwin’s influence seen today: ISST Organic Ice Tea Packaging”
    Is not really helpful is it?
    I didn´t like this article, but I could have, Francisco, please share your research with us in the future, or just do a “top 20 websites that look like famous painters paintings” post.
    Thanks anyway.

    0
  33. 3233

    nice post, always get a lot from you.

    0
  34. 3334

    Klaus R. Zweydinger

    August 28, 2009 2:06 am

    Oh. This is where designers heart beats…
    Thank you, Mr. Francisco…

    0
  35. 3435

    Bizarre… this is a wafer thin article attempting to align modernist and pop art imagery with web design by comparing the likes of Warhol’s orange car crash with the soho brewery branding – or to say that he could have designed the Carsonified site! Utter rubbish. There’s no substance here whatsoever, and it reads very much like an undergraduate essay.

    0
  36. 3536

    this really genius post man… totally make us clever! :D :P

    0
  37. 3637

    I wonder if the negative opinions here would have been abated if there had been examples of how to practically apply the post’s premise, rather than a list of comparisons, with limited captions or commentary.

    If the post is targeted at those without an art or design background, then maybe some suggestions of how to take the work of an artist or designer and develop it in to a design for a web page would have helped. Part II perhaps?

    0
  38. 3738

    You are asking young people to study history? Nice try. Most young people don’t know what happen before 1996.

    0
  39. 3839

    Loved the post, thank you for sharing!

    0
  40. 3940

    this is not a “great post” as so many have said. this is art history 101 and a poor article explaining art and design influence, which has a long rich intermixed history. people who say this is a good article, need to educate themselves better about both art and design. no offense, but this article shouldn’t have made it past the editors — with flair it combines both a lack of knowledge of art history and a tangential understanding of design, at best.

    0
  41. 4041

    Nice! This was like a mini refresher course in Art History. I especially liked the section of the article showing how these artists could’ve created web designs. It just goes to show that if you really do study artists from the past it can influence beautiful designs in anything you do. And by the way, one of my favorite artists is Herb Lubalin. I just love the logos he designed, and I try to incorporate the curves and swashes into some work that I do. =)

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  42. 4142

    Being from non-design background, I failed to understand the significance of what made an artist’s design… their style, and thus the justification of why the article claim a site design is of the same style.

    From the comparison, I only grasped the picture and colour, but what about the content layoutting or even the boxes (some samples looks just like design used in many place but with specific background and colour scheme slapped in)

    0
  43. 4243

    Christopher Rees

    August 28, 2009 7:42 am

    As someone who went to art school, and studied art history (I’m not an expert by any means, but I did take those classes) I think the post isn’t bad. I don’t think all the examples are spot on, the brewery example is a massive stretch! :)

    However, blog posts are made for several reasons…

    1) To invoke a response – which this one certainly did, bravo!

    2) To inspire thought – Which this one certainly did as people ponder what is and what isn’t a good example, where connections lie, etc.

    I think often times people tend to look at the written word, especially in blog posts as offerings of irrefutable facts. This isn’t the encyclopedia, it’s not Wall Street Journal or anything of the sort where every word is assumed to be 100% factual. It’s a blog post with one author’s opinions. I certainly agree everyone is free to agree or disagree, but to bash someone who took the time and effort put this together, to inspire thought and invoke responses is missing the point a bit.

    If this were a tech article on how to script something or use a piece of software, and it was riddled with inaccuracies I could see decrying it’s value. But this is nothing more than one person’s opinion designed to invoke some thought and audience participation.

    At the very least, offer kudos for taking the time and effort to put the article together.

    Smashing Magazine is one of my favorite blogs, keep up the great work!

    1
  44. 4344

    Awesome post! Now I need to go create something…I feel inspired!

    0
  45. 4445

    This is a great post, seeing the relationship from fine art to design. / SML

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  46. 4546

    Alexander Bickov

    August 28, 2009 8:46 am

    Amazing works

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  47. 4647

    I had no idea there were so many ass-kissing bots on SM! I’m gonna go ahead and agree with everyone that this was a shoddy attempt at making something look legitimate when it isn’t.

    To say these sites were inspired is a stretch — I’ve made sites very similar to those shown listed and I don’t even enjoy fine art.. no less was I thinking “How would x do this?” There is no consistency between a good portion of the original references and the “knock-offs” besides those directly taken from the artist (ie Klein/Warhol) and using those examples makes this argument even more weak.

    Artists are not designers.
    Designers are not artists.

    I know we’d both like to think we’re a bit of both but when it comes down to the fundamentals and what makes us tick — what makes us do what we do — they are for two different reasons. Artists primarily do it for themselves, designers primarily do it for others.

    Designers work in boundaries that artists would never be able to deal with and there’s nothing wrong with that — some of us need structure and some of us don’t.

    However this post just cries “trying too hard,” and in all honesty, I think both the artists and the designers who were compared to each other would likely be disgruntled at such assumptions. Personally if I were the designer for any of these sites/products I’d be pretty pissed that you had the audacity to say I didn’t bust my ass trying to be somewhat unique and instead assumed I jacked my ideas from someone I’d never even heard of.

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  48. 4748

    @Christopher Rees / others claiming that the author put a lot of effort into “compiling this” and should be applauded:

    It’s easy to pull a list together in your spare time if you’re getting paid:
    Of course! The amount of money depends on the volume of the article and its quality. Before the article goes live we make sure both sides agree upon the publishing & payment conditions. It is also possible to put a link to the author’s web-site.

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  49. 4849

    very good idea!

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  50. 4950

    Way to go SM… you’ve just proved that the majority of your readers have no clue about art history.

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