TIME: 1, 1/2 HRS


When designing anything, artists usually recall from abstract ideas on many fields of study. These can touch on fundamental design rules, color theory, fashion, advertising, pop-culture, mathematics, fine-art ... etc,. This myriad tapestry that designers connect with is like recalling information from a computer. Though the process is not so linear. In the art and design world 'genius', and 'inspiration' are thrown around lightly.

In many ways this says something interesting about designers and artists.

"If a structured search was googled, the system displays results with the odd one crossed out. Knowing this lets look at our list again and take the odd one out."

We might ask why mathematics? Mathematics is a rigid and ordered process. It takes a lot of effort to learn its rules. And sometimes even the fundamentals are baffling. For someone who doesn't want to concern themselves with such things its tempting to let the mathematicians deal with mathematical things. We have basic arithmetics and that's enough to figure out the bill. Thank you.

It's a common misconception that creativity and logic are somehow separate from each other. We tend to accept talk of the creative brain vs. the logical brain as a fact. But aside from psychology and self-help books these terms have no real concrete use when it comes to how the conscious brain works.

Neuroscience on the other hand is helping us better understand and map the brain to find out which areas of the brain are active when we perform certain tasks but scientists are still grappling with the daunting task of how information is stored and retrieved.

Question: Is the brain an organ or a muscle?

Mathematics helps humans quantify physical ( space, matter ), eternal ( infinity or singularity) , ephemeral ( randomness ) substance and perhaps there's the key to how we perceive, gather, store and remember things as well. But few would say that math is artistic. Mathematicians would of course. But there so full of themselves that nobody believes them. Designers on the other hand are nice people.

Designers are naturally drawn to math, because at any time they need to have a good idea of the kind of memory they can recall ( even ideas may be quantified) , what rules they need to follow and what guides their thinking on physical space. To them the process is second nature to being creative and much like a game.

We're still thinking about design, creating brands and art of course - but let's just indulge ourselves and let this idea take shape. That art is by extension a visualization of mathematical logic. That it is in effect creating space and expanding our physical brains. And mapping time and space in the process.

Logical expression is the same as Creative thinking.

The mythical left vs. right brain.

Some examples of great artists and thinkers ...


We're made to think that creativity and logical expression is on two ends of a spectrum, that they meet only but briefly. With the exception that some people seem very good at crossing over from one to the other with ease. What we'll try to prove is that this is not the case. That in-fact each and every one of us have a very good sense of both. Formulating logical questions and exploring them creatively is in fact part of how humans think. We just tend to forget it or take it for granted. For normal everyday tasks we don't do this consciously but look closely and a pattern emerges.

Examples of how we learn from patterns ...

Thinking about how the human mind processes information we tend to come across nuances. Observe how we express ourselves. Some do it through writing and we call them good writers. Some do this through speaking and we call them good diplomats. Some are good artists.

Most of us express through the action of putting pen to paper ( or finger to screen) without much thought. Some of our systems of learning maybe flawed ( learning by rote for one since it doesn't dwell on a subject deeply), others are more natural, like performance art, sports, choosing how we dress...etc.

We're only interested in the natural learning process of observation. Scientific observation. Since we're the only species intelligent enough to use abstract unnatural devices to learn, devices of our own making - we model these on natural rules.

We also need rules to define tools and devices first, and then their function. The process may help with the idea behind our initial observation.

Some product and design examples and discoveries, inventors here ....

To recap so far our idea is this ... that designers would also make good mathematicians, and that anyone can be a good designer and a brilliant mathematician. It may be hard of course, but becomes natural as we progress.

We are also learning some basics about how the human mind processes information. How mathematics factors into this. How memory plays a role. And how we can use information to be good artists.

Memory is fleeting. Memory is constant.

For the longest time we imagined that the brain is compartmentalized and that we retain skills and we retain everything we learn for good. There is no proven case of a photographic memory in scientific history, except maybe one (explain). Yet we learn of extraordinary geniuses who achieve the seemingly impossible in deduction (no, not Sherlock Holmes).

There's no limitation placed on being a great artist. And our perception of what defines 'art' changes constantly.

Examples and exploration of art, and how art evokes memories ...

Today we're able to externalize our memories in mechanical storage devices. And now art, mathematics and information is also defined as being digital and moving.

Some examples of technological advances, programming languages, quantum computers here ...

The process of learning has come full circle with our age. Observe that we perceive the world now through digital means. Humankind is about to take a leap. The only thing holding us back right now, is our failure to retain our abstract memories - of the physical world. Of history, of art, of time and place. And to our greater loss ... forgetting mathematics, as our best natural reasoning tool.

Examples of forgetting here ...

Not all of us are mathematicians, not all of us programmers, not all of us know how to use technology, and will be able to do this until some time in the future. Not all of us understand it. Not all realize that it's also wrong to say such things with finality.

We're natural mathematicians, we're good designers and so we can also all be programmers. More importantly every human being is an inventor and a visionary. Some are just better at it than others.

It may be hard to let go of the established idea that we can think abstractly and still be good at all the above things. It would be easier to map out this idea and dwell on it. To think about it... Let's do that now.

Remember art Imitates life. Mathematics helps the process.

Mathematical art examples ...


We know that art began to first shape our history from a necessity to remember quantities. Our need to express ourselves in amounts and numbers. This helped developed our spatial 'sixth' sense.

some history here ...

This skill then became crucial to how we imagined the world. We are by nature abstract and creative thinkers in the way our brains work.

Abstraction is also the natural way to think about our surroundings, how we understand it, how we create models, how we are inspired to invent. And how we codify rules of nature.

We'll first create models from paper, we'll then translate those skills to the digital domain. We begin our program to understand the Nature of the physical world and also digital code. But first some design basics to get a handle on our bearings.

Project: Designing the Papertrail brand.

Rule based project with participation by audience.

Note: While the #papertrail branding project is going on, the #kihaak team are learning how to map ideas from the brand into a digital project.

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