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Simple rules for a beautiful date

Wed 25 Jul 2012

Every summer we take on a handful of students to work in our innovation lab for a month at a time. Our first intern this year was Will, a very sharp young chap when it came to insight, learning and humour.

One of the things we talked about a lot in the first few days was the idea of a drawing machine. Maybe this was a physical machine that made real marks, or maybe it was a library of computer code that left traces on a screen. We didn’t really know at this point and we didn’t really mind.

We shared a few experiments that we had done already along these lines, like the bug trails and the spirograph drawings, and talked about taking these further.

We liked the idea of setting very simple rules that could yield complex, unique, and beautiful results.

Will opened up Processing, a tool designed for quick sketching with code, and began a week of experiments, investigation and head scratching.

Date stamps

Here’s are close up of one of our final pieces:

March '72

Each of these shapes is a date stamp. Some people have said they look like gem stones, others say they look like space ships from cult 80′s video game Elite. Either’s good by us.

To draw them we used the date, in numeric form, as a starting point. We split the date into 6 individual digits to describe 6 points around a circle. Each point was joined to the others forming a series of triangles. We took the combined 6 digit date and used this as a Hexidecimal colour to fill the triangles.

The shapes feel architectural yet organic. We love the way they change slightly from one day to the next, and that he subtlety and variance is based solely on those simple rules we set in the code.

Here’s Will with a poster showing all the days in the month he was born.

February '92

David Burton

David Burton

Head of Innovation

I’m Head of Innovation at Redweb, a department that’s constantly looking to explore, nurture and exploit new ideas and technologies in the most creative ways.

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