Category Archives: Tipografía

892 Unique Ways to Partition A 3×4 Grid

By Hugh Dubberly

We recently published a poster depicting “the 892 unique ways to partition a 3×4 grid into unit rectangles.” This project was inspired by a patent received in 2006 by William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand of Winterhouse (“Method and system for computer screen layout based on a recombinant geometric modular structure,” Patent No. 7124360) that modeled screen-based grid systems. However, their early work with grid systems never mapped all possible combinations within a given screen space. We made this our challenge.

Poster design by Dubberly Design Office, 2011

Before the poster, we had no sense of precisely how many variations of unit rectangles were possible within a 3×4 grid. Tens? Hundreds? Thousands? We didn’t even know how to find them! This seemed odd, considering how common grids are in graphic design. (A unit rectangle has sides of whole units: 1×1, 1×2, 1×3, 1×4, 2×2, 2×3, 2×4, 3×3, 3×4.)

The truth is: We haven’t had tools to think about this kind of problem. (Or, more accurately, we previously hadn’t seen it as a problem or opportunity.)

That may be because we tend to think of grids as open systems. Designers set-up rules and explore a small fraction of the possible variations by whim or chance — as though on random walk through possibilities. That’s a strange way to approach things — simply hoping to stumble on the right variation or even a good variation. But what choice did we have before we could properly map the options?

It’s easy to see that grid systems are not open ended. All grids begin with a finite number of line segments. Every segment can be on or off. Now, imagine a sequence that begins with all the line segments on and continues subtracting one segment at a time until they have all been turned off, and in all the possible combinations. There: You’ve just imagined a counting problem — a beginning and an ending and a set of rules for getting from one to the other. From there, it’s a short step to writing a program to do the counting for you. (Or you could do it yourself, but that’s a bit tiresome and prone to error.)

There is only one stumbling block: For a grid to be useful to designers, the rules are more complicated, which makes counting more complicated (and computers more helpful). The trick is figuring out a way to make sure you’ve got a complete box — all those unit rectangles combined. (Patch Kessler explains this trick in a scholarly paper, noted below.)

So what’s the point? Having generated all the variations, designers can see the solution space. You know what’s possible. You can consider all the possibilities — quickly. You can compare. You can optimize. You have other choices! That’s the potential of computation-based design, an area that promises to be a larger part of our future.

Download a PDF of the poster here. Along with the poster, Dubberly Design Office made a 100-second animation cycling through all 892 variations.

They’ve also written a grid-builder application in which you drag-and-drop rectangles to create grid variations. When you’ve filled out your variation, you can display the HTML code that draws it. And you can cut-and-paste the HTML and use it as a starting point for building a web page.

For the mathematically inclined, they’ve supplied a paper describing the algorithms used to generate the variations. “Arranging Rectangles,” written by Patch Kessler, tackles not just the special case of 3×4 grids but also any n x m grid. Using the algorithms, Kessler wrote a MATLAB program to output PDFs, which Thomas Gaskin imported into Adobe Illustrator and used to design the poster.

Tipografías del mundo

Tipografías del Mundo es un poster creado por  Shelby White para mostrar las tipografías comunmente utilizadas hoy en día. El poster incluye información de cada tipografía como el año en que fue creada, el lugar y el tipógrafo. Estas 50 tipografias fueron seleccionadas en base a su popularidad y uso. Fue por mera coincidencia que se hayan repartido 50/50 entre Europa y Estados Unidos. Esto demuestra que la mayoría de las tipografías surgen de esos lugares.

Piel Script by Ale Paul

The skin is the new paper. Now available here > Get Piel Script

Over the past couple of years I received quite a number of requests to typeset and modify tattoos using Burgues Script or Adios. At first the whole idea was amusing to me, kind of like an inside joke. I had worked in corporate branding for a few years before becoming a type designer, and suddenly I was being asked to get involved in personal branding, as literally “personal” and “branding” as the expression can get.

After a few such requests I began pondering the whole thing from a professional perspective. It was typography, after all, no matter how unusual the method or medium. A very personal kind of typography, too. The messages being typeset were commemorating friends, family, births, deaths, loves, principles, and things that influenced people in a deep and direct way, so much so that they chose to etch that influence on their bodies and wear it forever.

After digging into the tattooing scene, I have a whole new respect for tattoo artists. [Although] Some artists go the extra mile and take the time to develop their own lettering for tattooing purposes most tattoo artists use generic type designs to typeset words.

There have been quite a few attempts at making [tattoo], but as far as I could tell a stylish skin script was never attempted in the digital age. And that’s why I decided to design Piel Script. Piel is Spanish for skin.

In a way, Piel Script is a removed cousin of Burgues Script. Although the initial sketches were infused with some 1930s showcard lettering ideas (particularly those of B. Boley, whose amazing work was shown in Sign of the Times magazine), most of the important decisions about letter shapes and connectivity were reached by observing whatever strengths and weaknesses can be seen in tattoos using Burgues. Tattoos using Adios also provided some minor input. In retrospect, I suppose Affair exercised some influence as well, albeit in a minor way. I guess what I’m trying to say is there is as much of me in Piel Script as there is in any of the other major scripts I designed, even though the driving vision for it is entirely different from anything else I have ever done.

I hope you like Piel Script. If you decide it to use it on your skin, I’ll be very flattered. If you decide to use it on your skateboard or book cover, I’ll be just as happy. Scripts can’t get any more personal than that.

Piel Script designed by Ale Paul
Specimen design by Ale Paul, Mariano Lopez Hiriart & Lucas Pertile

Museo de Letras Rescatadas

Los afortunados berlineses cuentan con el Museo de Letras Rescatadas.

See trata del Museo de Letras en Berlín, más conocido por los locales como Buchstabenmuseum. Esta galería cuenta con una enorme colección de letras que fueron salvadas y que alguna vez fueron parte de la identificación de fábricas o tiendas. Con el actual aumento de la popularidad de la tipografía y el deseo de preservar el pasado antes de que sea tarde, el Museo de Letras ha estado atrayendo gran cantidad de público desde su apertura hace algunos años atrás.

Podría haber algún museo de estas características en tu ciudad?