This website documents my learning process in the world of systems. It is built on a series of smaller systems, such as the 16-column grid. Type-hierarchy, margins, colours - they come together to an interconnected super-structure.
Visual Systems & Nuclear Physics
Visualize a lump of uranium in your hand. (Assume superhuman radioactivity tolerance) It's physically impossible to know which atom is going to decay next, or when it will decay.
However, over time and infinite experimentation, a pattern emerges from the chaos. We are able to determine its half-life: the time taken for uranium to decay to half its mass. With that value, we can accurately predict the behaviour of uranium -- even without the knowledge of individual atom behaviour.
That's the magic of a system. A system is a special way of looking at an object as a whole. A successful visual system is often one that can create great complexity from simplicity.
And that's not surprising at all -- with all areas of learning, from art to biology, mankind strives to discover the most fundamental units in nature, in order to understand the complexity of our environment, and eventually rebuild it.
The Systemic Reproduction of One Unit
This project investigates the multiplicity created by repetition of a base unit, which is a simple 1" by 1" square. The number of possible variations is clearly infinite, but there are certain formulas one can use to predict more measured outcomes.
There are several observations that can be made about the success of patterns. Patterns that were seamless and continuous - patterns in which the eye couldn't discern the individual unit - were somehow far more mesmerizing. Somehow, the moment when the eye senses the grid, the pattern loses its attraction.
Another observation I made was the distribution of black and white. Patterns that managed to move beyond line work were often much more illusionistic. With repetition, the flickering effect created is even more pronounced.
This pattern was inspired by intertwining vines, as well as the Chinese patternicon ornaments. I was interested to see if I could create an illusion of a never-ending line.
This pattern has gone through many changes over time. First beginning with a simple 3X3 grid pattern, I later moved onto a 7X7 grid in order to explore more ways that the vines could connect. Eventually, I expanded the lines to create depth, resulting in a seemingly-impossibly intertwined pattern.
These patterns are created by the different arrangement and rotation of a single unique piece. The result created is vastly different from pattern to pattern, as new forms are created when areas of similar colour connect.
This pattern is inspired by the Art Deco movement, which sought a unity between traditional motifs and the machine aesthetic. The base unit, though geometric, when rotated around corner produces a flower; paying tribute to traditional floral motifs.
This pattern is inspired by the shape of bacterium and tubalar worms. Combining what I learnt from the first two patterns, I realized there was a lot of value in activating both the corners and the sides of the base unit. Varying the amount of shade also allowed the pattern to take on both linear and block form, which was a very fascinating result.
Selective shading also created the illusion of linear elements overlapping, which created further depth.
Creating a Common System
This series of posters explore how three very different concepts, or architects, can be connected under one theme through the use of systems.
Several systems are at play. One, is the strict 3-colour scheme, in which one colour belongs dominantly to one architect. The colour yellow was then used to represent elements that existed across all posters -- a system of information that laid ontop.
Second was the use of an isometric grid to structure all architectural elements, allowing vastly different styles to be deconstructed in a similar way. This theme draws its inspiration from architectural plans, which always provide insight into the individual elements that make up a single piece of architecture.
Many adjectives have been used to describe Frank Gehry's creations, including edgy, forward-looking, astonishing, and weird. Anything but ordinary, Gehry challenged the mainstream in the 1980s when he used everyday materials such as cardboard to make furniture, and chain-link fencing to construct buildings.
Louis Sullivan spent his life pushing for architecture that truly represented the people in the present, not one that copied the past. Committed to establishing an authentic, American architecture, free of imitations,Louis Sullivan is often called the father of the skyscraper.
Sullivan's core belief was that form always followed function.
Neutra responded to the Southern California climate by creating designs where the extensive use of glass allowed indoor and outdoor spaces to flow freely together. A journalist once described his work as "the most amiable relationship between science, industrialization, technique, and good taste."
This poster examines Gehry's innovative and edgy architectual style. Curvatures and warped forms are taken apart, tribute to his contribution to the Deconstructivist movement.
The poster is created with two layers of typography -- Type as information, as represented in yellow, and type as image, as represented in the large perspective text.
Similar to the form of his architecture, which defied the rigid form of cubes and 90 degrees, elements of the poster also warp and bend accordingly.
This poster examines Sullivan's architectual style. Elements in the poster are formal, yet ornamental -- a reflection of Louis Sullivan's love for geometry as well as pockets of ornamentation. The geometric pattern of the windows, coupled with his graceful signature arches, complete the overall feel of Sullivan's work
The illustrations mimic the functional look for Do-It-Yourself guides, allowing the viewer to interpret parts in order to piece together an entire structure.
It is impossible to escape the world of systems. In order for our world to change dynamically, yet not turn into chaos, many systems guide our day-to-day lives. Some systems are visible, such as the change from Winter to Spring, others are less visible, such as the endless orbit of our planet around the sun.
With Visual systems, we often create for ourselves very strict boundaries to work within. By choosing to start our project on the computer, we have resigned ourselves to the slick computer vectors that demarcate our work. By choosing to create a poster no taller than ourselves -- we have inherently decided that the default poster is not big, and not small.
A lot of these boundaries are instictive, rather than measured. Thus as graphic designers, I believe that we need to create new visual systems rather than only work within existing systems. Why should a book be held in the hand, not projected on a wall? Why should a poster be hung on a wall, not held in the hand? The world of our own experience is fantastical, and with that I bring this website to a close.