NC State University defines the combination of art and design.
Designers are problem solvers, the creators of solutions, products, systems and services that improve the quality of life and propel us forward. Artists experiment with materials, observe and ask questions about life; questions that can be answered or questions that just send the artist searching in new directions. These questions can be perplexing, ambiguous, and complex. This may offer an explanation why many perceive art as challenging and unsettling. However the combination of art and design is synergistic, the two re-enforce one another.
There is, however, a difference between a traditional artist and an artist-designer: the artist-designer’s visual message does not have to be personal, as they work for another, giving form to expressions or ideas of their client. In short, the artist-designer is a visual translator.