I didn’t know it was called Tangrams. I just remember it as the puzzle game in Grandma’s closet. The box called it Pythagoras – 179 Puzzle Games. It was a favorite and I inherted the game years latter. It is perhaps one of my earliest explorations into the world of design. Tangram is an Ancient Chinese moving piece puzzle, consisting of 7 geometric shapes. Move them around and create picture. Abstract, and very simple. Try it online at http://tangram-patterns.appspot.com/tangram . There is even a website dedicated to Tangrams.
Well, the other day I was doing my design study, an online search to expand my knowledge of my chosen profession. I stumbles on a designer named Designer Barney Bubbles. That’s right, Bubbles. His actual name was Colin Fulcher. Don’t even remember how or where I stumbled onto a site that mentioned his work. While exploring his work, I was drawn to a couple of his pieces. The Damned: Music For Pleasure (1977). Artist John Coulthart describes the art as follows,”The Damned sleeve is a Kandinsky-esque portrait of the band with the group’s name spelled out using abstract shapes, an approach to album lettering he was to use for other artists as the decade progressed.” Kandinsky-esque, that’s the ticket. When I was in college I liked studying the Russian Constructivist movement. Then I can across, Ian Dury & the Blockheads: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (1978) 45 sleeve. Wow! It is a beautiful mix of Tangram elements and early New Wave. Right down to the pink and green. This piece touched me on so many levels. You know, when you look at a design and smile to yourself. That little voice says, “NICE”.