Monday, February 14, 2005

Ambiguity and Truth in Design

The second edition of Adobe's Proxy 'zine (caution: 4.6MB PDF) has a fascinating look at Leonardo's da Vinci's The Last Supper by Milton Glaser.

After noting the number of ambiguities in the masterpiece, Glaser asks:
Of course, for us the question is, why would the most lucid mind in human history introduce so much ambiguity in a work that intends to affect its viewers? Ambiguity, incidentally, is a military term that means to be attacked from two sides at once. The answer may have to do with the way we process information. The human brain is a problem-solving organ, a characteristic that probably is at the center of our dominance over other species. The brain frequently remains inert until a problem is presented to it. In the case of The Last Supper, the profound ambiguity it contains alerts and stimulates the brain into action. DaVinci clearly believed that ambiguity was a way of arriving at the truth. As a result, the painting moves us in a deeper and more profound way than any direct statement.
He then offers a number of current examples of the way design ambiguity can be employed to "create a puzzle that the audience can solve in a short time." And there's an accompanying video interview with Glaser.

Design is essential to UXCentricity. It's not just about UI or IA.


Anonymous company web design in Houston said...

Nice post man.I like the content.Thank you

4:36 AM  

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