Why are Art and Design So Important?


We live in a time when almost everything we do is related to art and design. This is different from times past. Utility, and scarcity determined value before. And there were few choices. It used to be that sharing a photograph was just that. You’d pass your friend a print. They’d view it, cordially comment and then hand it back to you. From there, it went back into its Kodak envelope to be filed in a shoebox under your bed. Other parts of life were the same; many aspects of life had little choice. For hardware, you went to the hardware store in town.

Now things are different, we have lots of choices for everything. We can choose an unbelievable number of venues to share our experiences. That’s great, but accompanying that is the curatorial and aesthetic decisions associated with doing it well. That’s design. And design is everywhere.

Additionally, we have the power to reach many more people than in the past. My posts are regularly read by people in a huge range of countries including Pakistan and Indonesia. Ten years ago, that was impossible. What that means is that when I post something, I should consider that. The flipside of that is more people have access to me. That means competition is greater than ever before.

When I go to the grocery store, I am overwhelmed by choices. My Walmart has 72 choices of tomato sauce, and the cereal aisle is five shelves tall and about 60ft long. Which cereal do I buy, the one designed to fit my interests. If I want healthy, it better be brown and green. If I want cheap, it better not look fancy.

Many of the skills related to artistic production like creativity, expression and design are important because we live in an era of abundance where choice abounds. To be heard, to be seen or to be chosen, one needs to consider that there are others out there who want to be heard, seen or chosen. So developing what are often considered soft skills, the ones related to art and design, is essential for anyone’s success.

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