As a designer, I am constantly studying the objects around me: their form, material and production method. I see design as a subtractive process. Good design considers and addresses an audience: A successful design is clear and intuitive towards the problem it solves.
Art on the other hand, can be a forum for exploring the concepts and processes that might not necessarily solve a problem, but are simply an expression of Nature.
I have found that focusing on self initiated art & design projects facilitates lateral growth towards my discipline. Discovering solutions to seemingly ambiguous puzzles may seem wasteful, but it allows one to assimilate new knowledge.