design systems design



The visual identity for the Norwegian University of Life Science never comes to an end.
With a symbol created as a “Biogram”, it creates a new version of it self every day and reflects how the university is about life, living organisms and cycles.

The system is based on 21 points with 7 different sizes, where the size changes according to the date. This dates can be everyting from important milestones in the schools history or personal references for the users.

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To avoid lots of nice examples getting unpublished, mainly because not always there’s time to do a bit of extra research and those links got lost on our bookmarks, we’re now on twitter.

Of course we will continue publishing extended reviews here, but in the meantime, follow us @rulesbased

Fifteen variations on a single theme

70 years ago the multi-talented German Max Bill made “Fifteen variations on a single theme”. The artwork is based on an equilateral triangle where the last side is used to make up a square, that makes up a pentagon, that makes up a hexagon, and so on. Jean-Pierre Hébert coined this shape Metagon – a regular, open, possibly infinite polygonal line developed in two or more dimensions following a serial rule of expansion.

Inspired by the work of Max Bill, Jean-Pierre Hérbert made his version, “One hundred views of a single theme”, and in that relation he also collected his predecessors work. Here’s an extraction:

Max Bill produced his series “Fifteen variations on a single theme” from mind, rule, compass, and traditional drawing instruments.

The theme:

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eddie opara

Another inspiring talk at the Walker Art Center.

Eddie Opara is a former designer of Art Technology Group, Imaginary Forces and New York based 2×4. He is a founder partner of the Map Office, defined in their own words as:

A contemporary design agency striving to build compelling visual brands through strategy, design and technology.

Dynamic Identities in Cultural and Public Contexts

Dynamic Identities

Talking about books, Dynamic Identities in Cultural and Public Contexts is a book by Ulrike Felsing, published by Lars Müller this year.

The book explores and showcases different approaches to dynamic identities, and simultaneously introduces us to related topics and concepts in a larger context.

One of it’s aims is to show and describe the general principles of variation processes. This is done through 24 case studies, everything from typographic systems like A typeface for the Twin Cities by Letterror, to visual identities for The Cinémathèque française by Ruedi Baur et Associés or Rotterdam 2001 by Armand Mevis and Linda van Deursen. Even many of the examples seems quite old today and the works could have been more varieted from more nations, (the netherlands highly represented), the book in total fulfills it’s aim and deliver an inspiring and promising introduction on the subject of dynamic identities.

This publication studies methods for creating flexible looks for public and cultural institutions. The classic logos normally used by companies are the result of a unique process of compression and abstraction. By contrast, flexible looks do not conceal their diverse components of identity in a logo, forming instead a complex family of symbols from them. In the combination of a basic logo and a family of symbols, the look is in a position to represent the fundamentals (the philosophy of the institution, its program) and the specifics (e.g., temporary exhibitions and events). The author describes the effect and potential of looks and offers the criteria that distinguish fully developed, dynamic looks. Case studies of famous designers such as Karl Gerstner and Ruedi Baur enhance the analysis.

With an essay by Clemens Bellut

16.5 × 24 cm, 6½ x 9½ in, 256 pages, 200 illustrations, softcover (2010)

Images and quote from Lars Müller Publishers where you also can buy it.

generative gestaltung

Reading old posts of Serial Consign, a blog about digital culture and information design, I came across this interesting generative layouts project.

The author is Benedikt Groß, at his website you get more information about generative strategies applied to graphic design and also find some InDesign scripting to play with.

He is also author, with Hartmut Bohnacker, Julia Laub and Claudius Lazzeroni, of Generative Gestaltung, a book published just in German at the moment. My German level is very very basic so I can’t wait for the English version.

Until now, designers used the tools developed for them by programmers, meaning that the persons doing the designing adapted themselves to the system. Generative design transforms design-schooled users of digital tools into programmers of their own individual digital toolbox. This opens up new visual vistas and fundamentally alters the design process.

Quoted from the publisher website (Verlag Hermann Schmidt), where you can sign in for the English version.


We have already published their work for AOL a few months ago.

All their work is truly generative with really engaging outcomes. Among their updates since last time we visit their website, Dokfest Lounge project catch my attention especially. Check their website.

They are giving a talk in London at the Glug BBQ at Cargo next Thursday, 22 May. Line up also includes Moving Brands, Mickey Stretton and Maverick Media. More info and tickets here.