We enjoy our Creative Breakfasts at Six. Our design team (and sometimes Account Managers too) think about something fresh (other than coffee and croissants) and share something creative with the group, linked ~somehow~ to the given theme. The response is always varied and you can’t help but leave with heaps of unexpected inspiration. This month the theme was ‘Polymorphism’. You know what we mean by that…right!? Ok, let’s show you what we looked at.
Polymorphism might be a new word for you too, so let’s start with something we all understand: animated GIFs. Shapes morphing into each other using looping GIFs by Dave Whyte. A physicist, he makes GIFs using the ‘Processing’ open source programming language. Taking this inspiration, Emily also gave us her own take on the style with her looping Six GIF (to follow).
Polymorphism in biology is when two or more clearly different forms or traits exist in the same species. Or…same same, but different. But what happens when you get same same, but same? Dopplegangers! Canadian photographer François Brunelle has been working on a project for over 14 years, which features portraits of people who look like identical twins but aren’t actually related at all. “I’m Not a Look-Alike!”
The Alien – Xenomorph. Aliens are eusocial life-forms with a caste system ruled over by a queen.Their life cycle comprises several distinct stages: they begin their lives as an egg, which hatches a parasitoid larval form known as a ‘facehugger’, which then attaches itself to a living host by, as its name suggests, latching onto its face. Therefore, it could be called a Polymorphic lifeform.The face-hugger then “impregnates” the host with an embryo, known as a “chest burster,” which, after a period of gestation, erupts violently from the host’s chest, resulting in the death of the host. The chest burster then matures to an adult phase, shedding its skin and replacing its cells with polarised silicon. Due to horizontal gene transfer during the gestation period, the Alien also takes on some of the basic physical attributes of the host from which it was born, allowing the individual alien to adapt to the host’s environment.
H.R. Giger’s artwork was a major influence on the Alien films, bringing to life these dark, polymorphic lifeforms into a highly stylised, immersive world.
Always a fan of an identity system and a ‘rebus’ – the NowTV idents caught Olly’s eye recently. Branding a TV service with such a range of shows while having relevance and attraction to the audience is no easy task. The NowTV idents change appearance by allowing the ‘o’ to change. Maybe it’s a Formula 1 tyre or rugby ball for sports fans, a yo-yo-ing character for the kids, some popcorn or Captain America’s shield for movie lovers. Being all things to all people is a risky strategy. Having an identity system that allows such flexibility is a brave decision and relies on careful execution. The jury’s still out on some of these examples. But we are fans of a flexible design system in place of a singular logo.
Agency Method carried out a thought experiment into the future of money. Part of this project asked the question ‘If money was smart, would it have a personality?’ The team visualised a new series of bank cards looking at the physical design of a bank card, to help users understand and identify with the impact of their spending. They developed five new cards to represent the following personalities:
1. Adventurous: A card made from a multifaceted material which adapts to changing environments.
2. Frugal: Made from scraps of old material (a block of sticky notes shown). This card is a reminder that you don’t always need to spend megabucks to get a quality product.
3. Hedonistic: This card inflates until bursting point and invades your personal space as it cries for attention.
4: Jealous: Designed for couples using a joint account. LEDs are built into the surface of the card, to show who has spent more!
5. Mindful: A bank card made from a polymorphic material which changes to indicate financial health (crumpling when the user has spent too much!).
As a subject polymorphism applies to a number of areas; genetics, biology and computing. Whilst researching these, two key extracts stood out, as listed above. Narrowing this thinking down to cover different forms/programming/different times, I discovered the work of Damien Hirst (with his exhibition ‘A thousand years’), and the installation work of Humans since 1982 (‘A million times’ programmed clocks piece).
Capturing something as polymorphic and transient as ink droplets in water is no easy feat. Alberto Seveso’s high-speed photography does just that and produces some stunning results in the process. The almost sculptural forms almost make us forget this is a fleeting, captured moment in time. The results are as beautiful as they are unique and have inspired art directors across a vast range of brands and products.
The differentiation between art and not art is not always clear. Is it good? Bad? Is it so bad, that it’s good? The vaporwave ‘micro-genre’ falls slap bang in the middle of the unclassifiable category, however, Aaron Campbell’s vaporwave-inspired art does not. Canadian graphic artist Aaron Campbell recalls the aesthetic of a late 80’s and early 90’s childhood – the plastic-looking 3D modelling, hot pinks and idiosyncratic interior detailing accurately mimic what is was like to grow up in an embryonic digital age.
So there you have it. Our exploration of the theme of Polymorphism. Let us know what you think and we’d love to hear your take on the subject.