The Influence of Art in Design

This panel focused on how the arts, being painting or architecture or music, for example, can help shape the way products are designed. Each of the panelists took turns giving brief mini presentations regarding this theme. A few of them stood out to me.

Glenda Sims, an interactive designer affiliated with the University of Texas and the Blanton Museum, talked about designing an interface experience for a particular painting. The painting, by Byron Kim, is a series of 20 8.5 x 11 canvases, each one a “portrait” of a person based solely on their skin color.

Sims designed a hand-held interface that let gallery attendees select one of the 20 paintings to represent the closest match to their own skin color. From there, the user could darken or lighten the skin color to get a personalized color. Then this final color could be uploaded and archived in a Blanton database.

This is a great example of technology enhancing the user-experience of a piece of art. The hand-held application makes the experience more personal, when you select your skin color, and more collective, when you upload your personal color swatch into the database.

Here’s Glenda’s original paper on the project, and an online version of the user-experience.

David Shea talked trends of commercial photography, particularly how amateur photography has changed the landscape. Digital photography continues to get better, and traditional film has remained static. This means that costs are lowering. With professional-grade digital cameras available for less than $1,000 almost anyone can produce commercial-quality photographs. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to avoid purchasing a stock shot from sites like GettyOne and searching Flickr instead, finding a photograph, contacting the photographer directly, and negotiating a much cheaper usage rights agreement.

Finally, Patrick Haney presented a unique slide show of various screen captures of websites he gets inspiration from. He has his whole collection on his Flickr page.

posted by Bryan Keplesky

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