In recent years, graphic designers have embraced the alphabets of foreign languages like Japanese, Chinese, and, even in the case of band names and Twitter handles, the alternative symbol alphabet offered by many computer operating systems. Numbers, comparatively, have received little attention, still mostly finding expression as arabic numerals. A new project by illustrator Mark Gonyea, however, tries to get under the surface of the numbers we take for granted every day by rendering them beautifully and innovatively while reminding us that they represent quantities.
“One to One Hundred” is as unconventional as it is restrained and systematic. Gonyea’s six different posters, which recently received Kickstarter funding to be produced as 18×24 posters, start out simple and slowly become more complex as they advance toward 100, varying a single element like the number of colors or lines in each poster while keeping other elements consistent for a clean look. As he advanced toward 100 in each poster, he was increasingly on his toes. “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,” he told FastCo design.
Gonyea’s fascination with sequential designs started in 2007, when he published a kind of avant-garde comic called Squares in Squares in an art book whose only narrative was the varying shape of each panel. His Mr. Oblivious series also deals with repetition but in a more figurative, cartoonish way. “It’s an old design mantra but limitations really do promote creativity,” he said. Check out the poster designs below.