Design without profit is art

Hello. I am desperately trying to remember who made this statement, or something very similar. My mind has gone blank and Google searching is not helping. I am sure it was a famous designer and was decades ago.

I am hoping someone here will be able to remind me.

I’m not sure who made the statement but it is familiar. Though it might be an over simplification, Jeff Koonz seems to be making a tidy profit in the art world :slight_smile:

I prefer Raymond Loewy’s “The most beautiful curve is a rising sales graph.”

Anything new or unique is an example of a creative endeavor…then when we turn that into a quest for profit it becomes innovation. So whomever said that design without profit is art is certainly correct.

Innovation can be without profit. The Provonost checklist is only one example

I would also change the quote to “Design without profit is bad design.” Calling it art implies anything can be art. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Nope, if you’ve done anything unique, congratulations, you’ve done something creative - Innovation is only something creative + profit (of any kind, not just money).

and…design doesn’t have to rely on profit to be good or worthy.

I’ve grown tired of trying to draw a line between art and design. I don’t know if it’s even possible to do so–maybe the two are on a spectrum. Profit is definitely a factor, and I think reproduction/manufacturing and functional considerations may be other factors. In the end, if you create something awesome, who cares what label you put on it?

By way of example… think of some of Marc Newson’s work. He has created a number of one-offs, like that car for Ford. That feels like “design,” simply because it’s a car, but they only made one and didn’t even sell it. The Lockheed Lounge is a furniture piece, and they did end up making 20-30 of them, but IIRC you aren’t supposed to actually sit on them. And lord knows they profited on those, too. Regardless of whether you call them Art or Design, these projects made an impact in the creative world.

I agree we conflate art and design and we tend to gauge profit with money - I believe any new effort or thing we think of, imagine or communicate can be seen and appreciated as “creative”, whether it’s a piece of art, a design for a unique toaster or a proposed service experience and one could argue that just by communicating the creative thing we have imparted profit to both the author and the recipient, even if no money or ownership is ever exchanged - and that’s when the creativity manifests itself into something innovative, because only then can it take shape as a measurable thing that can be judged, sold or otherwise shared. Deep stuff by Jack Handy.

We have different definitions. Innovation is creative + impact.

Design without impact is by definition worthless. The best objective metric for impact is profit.

You’re proving my point. Impact is beyond creativity, it’s innovation, And impact is not just money, nor is profit.

I just really want to remember so I can cite it! I am sure it was from the 60s or so, early days of Industrial Design in America. I am disappointed that Google is not helping.

Peter Saville said something like, “I don’t mind spending 5000 £ to make 5000 £ if it’s something interesting.” I kind of agree. Most design should be profitable, but sometimes it’s necessary to do design to meet some other goal, although I don’t think it should ever be a personal goal.

I have always thought design is the act of creating an object to please someone else. Art is created to please yourself.

along the same lines but from the other direction:

“If you think good design is expensive, you should see the cost of bad design” - Dr Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar

If you know any Jaguar owners, he probably should have replaced design with electrical engineering… :slight_smile:

Whoever said it, it’s nonsense.

I agree but in the context of the time period it was uttered in it was not surprising.

Wrong. Design (or any job) without profit is a favor with liability.