Picasso’s Blue Period of IxD Design

Artists’ are said to have different periods in their artwork where they investigate a specific theme, technique, or media. These are influenced by emotions, technology, and any of a dozen other internal and external influences. Typically these periods mark evolution of an artist’s talent and skill and a maturation of their perspective. So how might these artistic movements translate to design?

While I can’t go as far as to say I have a blue period, rose period, or cubism in my designs (though a cubist interface would be pretty awesome if done appropriately) I certainly see recurring themes in my work. Not in the sense of tabs work here or a three column layout, but more that my work can be drafted on a timeline and work done at the same time clearly has the same patterns evolving. What do I mean by this? Currently I am working on a pharmaceutical application that synthesizes information and allows customizable entry points. At the same time, I am working on a financial application bringing together a variety of systems. Now these are two very different verticals with two seemingly different problems. However, after every conversation with one set of stakeholders I keep wanting to recycle concepts from the other project. The ideas overlap and translate quite well. But that’s normal, right? I mean synthesis of a variety of applications is normal, right? But the same solution?

In talking with the researcher on the projects, who is equally familiar with both, we agree that designs translate based on what else you are doing. If we worked on this pharmaceutical project a year ago, when I was in the weeds with wealth management work and a stylized gant charts, would I would be more likely to scrape concepts from that? I didn’t have the notions of this synthesized desktop at that time. In truth, this is exactly what happened. A year ago, my work in wealth management translated directly to some concepts for a handful of visualizations in the office. Before that my work with mobile translated to investigative interactions with QR codes across zoo experiences and doctor’s waiting rooms. And today, my work with one client is directly influencing another.

So in the end, I can’t say if I am in my Blue Period or Rose Period, or discovering cubism. In fact it all changes far too quickly to become a substantial movement. What is more interesting though is how all projects influence each other and, how over time, trends in work start to appear as significant projects start and finish and the information gleaned in one vertical might translate to another.

1 Response to “Picasso’s Blue Period of IxD Design”

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