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Design and Craft Differences Essay

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Updated: Apr 8th, 2022


Design and Craft are terms which are commonly used interchangeably although they differ in meaning. Craft is technique believed to have evolved many years ago, and it is still in existence. The oxford dictionary defines craft as a capability to generate and organize items by the use of intellectual power, force, strength, ingenuity and inventiveness. However, Craft involves cunning, guile and magic.

Differences between Craft and design

The difference between design and craft spans back to over several centuries. With the development of French, Italian and English Design academies, the idea of distinguishing between design and craft emerged (Forty, 46). The following differences therefore, can be noticed between the two aspects.

A. The word craft is associated with a noun whereas design is associated with a verb.

B. Craft is a term which is commonly used to refer to objects which are made from non-art materials. The word craft is only used when describing a set of objects and it’s often confused and used interchangeably with the words art and design.

Craft can also be defined as a precise and accurate form of creating items, that is, an approach to manufacturing.

According to Forty (76), the term craft is used to refer to two things at the same time, that is, it is used to describe how different things look, (for instance, we always say that I love that design) combined with the steps involved in achieving the final product of a good (for instance, we often say the tailor is designing my dress).

Forty (63) argues that the word design is very tricky to determine since the logic of the word in the design sector does not comprise of words.

He continues to elaborate that the explanation can only be established through the creation of artifacts and acquisition of key framework for analysis. Therefore, his interpretation is based on the standard definition which defines design as, the process of transformation of something from its existing state to a preferred state.

C. Craft is an intangible act, and it’s not made but applied. A craft work involves the use of imagination, knowledge and skills to the characteristics of different items such as paintings, clothing, furniture, ornaments and vessels whereas Design includes how things are made, their external appearance and how they are marketed.

Design has the ability to change the culture of a place as people tend to embrace new designs with the changing times. According to Forty (33), Design also reflects on the culture of a given place as one is able to deduce the values of a given place through the existing design patterns.

D. Craft work typically involves the use of hand whereas most of the design processes involves the use of computerized technologies such as the 3D software for the production stage to be completed.

E. Crafting is applied to processes such as producing films, writing poetry and making paints and breads whereas the design process is creative and involves a lot of analytical processes such as testing, prototyping, model making, product research and sketching.

F. Crafts practices include ornamenting, covering, performing ritual, decorating, wearing and furnishing among many others, which all these practices can be carried out by one unit whereas the design process involves integration of functions from different specialists due to its complexity.

For instance, for a product to be converted into a finished good it involves the work of architect, engineer, marketer, lawyers and the series may contain several other professionals.


Design is a very powerful aspect in the differentiation process since certain elements such as; gender roles, age and class are emphasized through it. Design rights generally industrial design rights are protected under the intellectual property rights which makes infringement of the rights unlawful.

Works Cited

Forty, Adrian, objects of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750, New York: Thames and Hudson, 2005

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1. IvyPanda. "Design and Craft Differences." April 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/design-and-craft/.


IvyPanda. "Design and Craft Differences." April 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/design-and-craft/.


IvyPanda. 2022. "Design and Craft Differences." April 8, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/design-and-craft/.


IvyPanda. (2022) 'Design and Craft Differences'. 8 April.

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