What is beauty? And do we need it in art and design?

what is beauty? image of a woman
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

What is beauty? Well, beauty is a six-letter word, and a loaded one, especially when it comes to working in the creative industries, but, while there’s the old adage that it’s 'in the eye of the beholder', some argue that what is (and isn’t beautiful) is far from subjective. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines beauty as "A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight." But we all know it’s more than that: we often say a person is beautiful, or that they have a beautiful soul. 

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Emily Gosling

Emily Gosling is a freelance art and design journalist currently writing for titles including Creative Review, Eye on Design, Creative Boom and People of Print. She’s previously worked at Elephant magazine, It’s Nice That and Design Week, and was editor of Type Notes magazine. Her book Creative Minds Don’t Think Alike was published by Ilex Press in 2018, and she also plays bass as one-quarter of the eight-titted beast, Superstation Twatville.