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Poetry on the Road

Poetry on the Road is an international literature festival which is held every year in Bremen, Germany. Since 2002 I am commisioned to design a visual theme for the festival. While the theme itself is changing, the underlying idea for the visuals is always the same: All graphics are generated by a computer program that turns texts into images. So every image is the direct representation of a specific text. The design and the development process are a collaboration with the design agency jung und pfeffer. (Now one/one)

Poetry 2004

Medium: Print
Year: 2004
Client: Poetry on the Road
Team: Petra Michel, Boris Müller, Florian Pfeffer

As Poetry 03 is line-based, it was almost a logical step to think about shapes when it came to designing Poetry 04.

In Poetry 04, every poem is visualised as a cluster of polygons, while every polygon represents a single word. The exact shape of each polygon is based on the statistical allocation of letters within a language. If a letter has a very high frequency in the language, its impact on the overall shape of the polygon is very strong.

A common structure in many languages are alternating vowels and consonants. As there are only a few vowels, their frequency in a text is much higher. So in Poetry 04, vowels have a very strong impact on the overall shape of the cluster.

Based on these simple rules, a computer program was created that turned 20 poems into a complex, three-dimensional space. In order to explore this concept, please have a look at the simplified web-version of Poetry 04. With this little application, you can create your own clusters:

Launch Poetry 04 interactive

{Far left: Pages from the book. The author's poems were used to generate distinct images. Other: The 2004 Poetry poster. Click to enlarge.}

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