Skip to content
Nov 19 / Brandon Fredericksen

Project 4 – Constrained Systems

Project 4 has been my favorite project, by far. It is a lot of fun. We started by being assigned 2 different words, and were told to go and create a list of connotations for them and find visual representations for them.




After we did this, the real guts and constraints of the project came in. We had to use a modular system to create a feeling of our words in a letterform. The catch – We can only use either squares or circles, not both. These units must be modular, and we are allowed 3 different sizes of modular units, no more than that. This process started with a variety of sketches.

img001 img002 img003 img004


The last 6 sketches are the ideas I had sketched out applied to 2 letters. Synthesis was rather easy to sketch out, because the connotations were very simple to draw out and make sense of. Arrogant, on the other hand, was incredibly difficult. It’s hard to find a variety of ways to sketch out ways to convey “arrogance” through circles and squares. However, once I worked on the process, some good ideas came about.

The next step was digitizing our ideas.

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.01.19 AM Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.00.59 AM


You can see the different size of module units used for each idea. After I got these ideas sketched, digitized and printed, I thought that the square module units were working better, and feedback from my colleagues agreed. So I started going further on my second idea for arrogant and my first idea for synthesis.

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.04.13 AM Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.03.51 AM


At this point, I faced a few issues. For arrogance, I was worried that the letters would all be different sizes and would look very sloppy in terms of craftsmanship. I played with both uppercase and lowercase letters. I found that the uppercase letters would allow for better representation of the connotations, so I stuck with those. For synthesis, I wanted to display a feeling of mixture. I just jumbled all the module units together the create that feeling. While I think it worked well, I was told that it could be represented better. It looks like it could also mean destruction, or other words distributed around the class.


Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.08.00 AM Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.08.29 AM


These ended up being the final product, mounted on black illustration board and labeled.




Leave a comment
  1. Ruwaida Ba-arma / Nov 29 2013

    You did a great job with your thumbnails. It is nice to see your different explorations and the annotations, which made your thought process clear. I can totally relate to having a hard time exploring different variation for one of the words. I think it is because one word was more visual than the other, which made it more difficult to design. You did a great job and your final outcome was very interesting. I really like the subtle shift in the squares for the word synthesis. The shift and the placement created movement that makes the squares look like they are uniting slowly. For the word arrogant, the letters (o, s and c) are a bit distracting. I think if you use the same size modules throughout the design it would unify the system more. I love your use of a large square because it creates an unpleasant feeling and it somewhat looks like a broad shouldered arrogant person.

  2. Brian / Nov 20 2013

    The word arrogance is designed really well. It has very unpleasant feeling, which was also one of your connotations. The large modules really bring out the feeling of arrogance.

  3. Halie Mcintosh / Nov 20 2013

    I like the sketches in the beginning of your process. You can really follow your train of thought which makes for an interesting read on your blog. I particularly LOVE what you did with synthesis. What a clever approach. The word really does seem like it’s coming together…slowly but surely.

Leave a comment