Using our Heads and Hands
“When Matisse created an image it was often only a starting point,” The Economist explains in their review of “Matisse: Radical Invention 1913-1917” at the Art Institute of Chicago. For instance, sophisticated technical analysis of one of the artist’s masterpieces reveals that “the canvas was wiped clean more than two dozen times before he was satisfied.” In contrast to popular notions that such works leap fully formed into reality, these revelations about Matisse’s way of working will come as no big surprise to many artists and designers. This process of learning from what we create with our hands – in the form of sketches, models and prototypes – is the basis for interaction and discovery that results in better decisions.
Donald A. Schon and Michael Schrage have each contributed illuminating perspectives regarding the hands-on iterative process. Schon has written about “design as a reflective conversation” and Schrage writes that “Quick and dirty prototypes can turn clients into partners.”
The slide show above captures aspects of our thinking-doing-thinking process.