Boris Müller

Interface & Interaction Design





Poetry on the Road 2004

Medium: Print
Year: 2009
Client: Poetry on the Road
Team: Petra Michel, Boris Müller, Florian Pfeffer

Poetry on the Road is an international literature festival which is held every year in Bremen, Germany. From 2002 — 2013, I was commisioned to design a visual theme for the festival. While the theme itself was changing, the underlying idea for the visuals was always the same: All graphics were generated by a computer program that turned texts into images. So every image is the direct representation of a specific text. The design and the development process were a collaboration with the design agency one/one.

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 the poems into a complex, three-dimensional space.


As in the years before, the algorithm was also used for the design of the accompanying book that contains all the poems of the festival.