People who like math often say it’s due to polarity; there’s always a right and wrong answer, with no shades of gray. Math is certain. That certainty also bodes well for designers who, on any given project, face a bottomless well of solutions.
“My design has always had a good amount of math behind it,” says graphic designer Mark Gonyea. “It’s an old design mantra but limitations really do promote creativity.” Gonyea’s interest in sequential designs–like the ones seen in these posters–heightened when one of his abstract comics from 2000 appeared in an art book. In the piece, Squares in Squares, each panel acquired a new geometric shape. “It had no narrative other than the increasing complexity of shapes,” Gonyea tells Co.Design.
After the success of that print, he decided to keep exploring ways to illustrate numbers in confined spaces. In each of the One to One Hundred series Gonyea creates a numerical language out of negative space, lines, circles, dots, and pixels. As the numbers climb upwards, Gonyea had to do more and more mathematical aerobics to illustrate the digits. But surprisingly, he says, the larger numbers made for more compelling work: “The more elements, the more pieces I had to work with and the more intricate and interesting the designs became. It really showed me how infinitely flexible design can be.”