PreRamble: Got into a spirited dinner party discussion on polka dots last night … wondered if polka-dot, the fun fashion statement, was in any way related to polka, the twirling wedding reception fare … and random other angles on the simple ubiquitous design.
Checked into it further and, as is cosmic confluence would have it, the polka-dot theme is swirling about in the blogosphere as we speak. In this delightful and timely blog post , artist and blogger Alex Bigman provides a comprehensive look at the history of the polka-dot. He cites several significant incidents of the decorative dot motif ranging from the billons of stars that pepper the depths of the universe to the plethora of polka-dots that appear in art and science.
” … Since first hitting the men’s fashion scene in mid-19th century England, the polka dot (which has no substantiated relation to the polka dance, by the way; Flamenco, yes) has come to hold a perhaps unexpectedly grand place in the history of modern art … from the post-impressionist paintings of Georges Seurat to the multi-multi-million dollar-selling canvases of controversial contemporary artist, Damien Hirst …
“And, … there is no shortage of awesome logos, product packages and such that make use of polka dot patterns, but the dot goes even deeper than that. If you’ve ever considered the terms DPI (dots per inch) or PPI (pixels per inch), you know that dots constitute the very building blocks of designed images, both print and digital.”
But wait, there’s more … Let’s consider the dot as a fundamental construct of thinking, visualization and creative strategy. Beyond the cliched reference to “connecting the dots” between seemingly disparate elements, there is tremendous value in taking an overview perspective on the entire field of dots.
Take Damien Hirst’s work above — When we look at this painting, we see not only the individual multi-colored dot shapes, but we also see the white field behind and among them. This field holds the dots in relationship to each other, imparting an entirely different level of perception — and, a different level of meaning. The space between the dot shapes has as much to do with their appearance and significance as the circular color that forms the dots themselves.
So, what’s the point? Conceptually, the dynamics found in this field of dots can represent the form and relationship between any set of variables. In business for example, an actionable vision and plan must be considered in totality — the big picture as made up of various points of information and their relationship to each other. This critical perspective can only be clearly seen and accessed when you (and your team) are able to behold the entire scenario — to see the spots and their context in a single field of vision.
The Take-Away: In art, in science, in business, … in life — look for meaning in the big picture — see the data points and the relationship between them.