Avant Guard

Design Research | UX/UI


Avant Guard is an app specially designed for curators and potentially museum workers. The name itself comes from the term "Avant Garde" which is used in art to describe ideas that are experimental and push against norms. I then replaced the second word with "guard" as curators can often be seen as the protectors of art. A lot of work these individuals do are spread across computers, paperwork, and their phones. This app would be a way for everything to reside in one location. Some of the main features include archiving artwork and studio visits, information on exhibitions, ability to document condition reports, and introduces augmented reality(AR)

What a curator does
What a curator does


App Research

Although this app is for the inside workings of a museum or gallery, the curators, for research purposes I looked into apps that either utilized the museum setting and/or show works of art in their app. I found that the MET app was the least helpful simply because it’s a travel guide for tourists, but took note of how they organized their collections. I found Google arts and Culture the most helpful because not only could you search work but also create your own gallery, which was similar to what one of my interviews said they would like to see. So in the end, even though my app serves a different purpose than any of these I took away what makes these successful.

Badge Entry

The MET App

Based around visiting the MET and New York City

Take Aways:
Lots of info on certain collections.
Easy to sort through collection.
Awkward Navigation, includes hamburger nav and a top nav.
Many features require payment.

Badge Entry


Tool for selling, buying, and discovering art.

Take Aways:
Black and white palette, focuses on art.
Thorough and clean organization of artists and work.
Ablility to 'like' works and follow artists.
Exhibition screen includes info on dates, description, artists, etc.

Badge Entry

Google Arts & Culture

Tool for getting upclose and personal with famous art.

Take Aways:
Black, white, and blue palette to focus on art.
Able to sort through artists’ and collections multiple ways.
Ablility to create personal gallery grouped how user would like.
Includes Art Projector, which uses AR to see work displayed.



Lana Meador

Assistant Curator
San Antonio Museum of Art

Is there anything that you do now that you feel takes too long or could be done in an easier way?

I frequently take photos of artwork and installations when I am traveling or visiting other museums/galleries; or even while I am looking at work in our art storage areas. I use my iPhone and all these images can take up lots of space, then it takes a bit of time to transfer them to my work computer (via email), organize, and rename the files. An easier way to take, store, share, and organize images on-the-go would be helpful!

Take me through a brief daily routine when you start your day.

Begins with checking emails, but varies from day to day based on projects and priorities/deadlines – could entail internal meetings to discuss upcoming exhibitions/programs; meetings with trustees and committees; studio visits with artists, visits to galleries/dealers; writing acquisition proposals, exhibition didactics, or grant proposals, and more. There are regular more clerical duties that come up, such as expense reports and internal paperwork.

Any routines other than opening or closing that are important?

My work is largely project-based and differs from day to day depending on what project I am focusing on and what deadlines are approaching.

Anything else you feel could improve your work flow?

We use the Outlook calendar to track deadlines for projects, but perhaps there is a better way – or at least a way to isolate timelines for specific projects away from other calendar items when needed. We frequently have several projects overlapping.


Lana needs a way to organize photos of work so that they are not in multiple places.

Lana needs a way to access a calander so that stay better organized with upcoming deadlines.


Rebecca Marino

Associate Gallery Director
TXST Galleries

What exactly does your job entail/responsibilities?

I usually meet and talk with artists and students about their work, displaying their work, and help brainstorm ideas how to present their work. Depending on the day I could also install or de-install a show or exhibition.

What are some things considered in deciding how to set up a space? How is this finalized?

This is a collaboration between the curator, the artist and the sometimes the install crew. Sometimes the curator is the primary decision-maker when the artist is not present. And sometimes the artist prefers to work more independently.

What is the method for organizing which works are coming in and/or going out?

First we work with artist to find the best shipping method for their work. We get estimates, and from there, decide who’s either the cheapest or best suited for the time alloted. When the art comes in we perform condition reports. This is when we monitor shape the work is in and make notes of anything out of place. This involves taking lots of photos of different works.

How is work usually split up? Is that documented or noted?

We really try to utilize the skills of our student workers. When a new show comes in we divy up work, matching certain tasks up with certain students’ strengths. Some people are better at wood working, vinyl, painting, etc. However, when we’re faced with a task no one’s too experienced in, it’s kind of all hands on deck there.


Rebecca needs a way to easily perform condition reports so that they are easily accessible.

Rebecca needs a way to organize studio visits so that she can find them all in one place.

How might we...

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Badge Entry

A special feature Avant Guard offers is virtual badge entry. Sensors at different doors and entries will be compatible with the app. This would be similar to something like Apple Pay where you would open the app and hold it to the sensor. Since you’ll be logged into your account, Avant Guard knows which rooms and spaces you are granted access to. If you have your phone, you have your access key!

Badge Entry

Critical Point

Badge Entry

Paper Prototypes

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Curators can now find all they're art related photos in one spot. Users are able to create virtual "collections" and sort them however they feel works best.


Studio Visits

Often times a curator's job is to find new work and be thinking of potential exhibitions. This is done by going on studio visits and meeting new artists.



Focuses on upcoming exhibitions and shows that are currently being put together.


Augmented Reality(AR)

Users can visualize a piece in a certain space relative to size. There is even an option to save photos of the piece on the wall.


Condition Reports

Everytime a new work comes in, curators and workers must go through a condition report. You can create a new one or refer back to an older report.