If the Morisawa 10 Were Created in 2017

Over the course of 1996-1997, John Maeda created an extraordinary set of designs called The Morisawa 10. At the time, he said he “created this series of ten posters as a message to young designers to have optimism for the future of design in the next century,” according to the TokyoTDC’s website. The pieces have since been added to the permanent collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and continue to be studied by design students.

“They were all composed in the Adobe PostScript language (the predecessor to SVG) and were a little difficult to create because it was so expensive to make these images in the 90s. I needed to pay an exorbitant amount to render test images at scale through a repro service in Tokyo — which turned out okay because I bartered their printing of my images in exchange for my doing work for them for free,” Maeda writes on his MaedaStudio website.

He reports that recently, art educator Zach Lieberman “ had his students re-interpret these images dynamically and with much more powerful computers. It made me think how far we’ve come in computing capabilities thanks to Moore’s Law.”

Among the creative interpretations was an animated gif of an original that takes the static and spins it up in new ways, demonstrating exactly the kind of rapid change in design of which we are now capable thanks to tech.

There are those who bemoan the age of digital design, saying it’s helped to usher in an age of mediocrity. Yet we see plenty of evidence of designers who are taking the higher ground and using technology to create fascinating and compelling modern design for human consumption. To those, we offer our thanks.