Boris Müller

Interface & Interaction Design





Poetry on the Road 2007

Medium: Print
Year: 2007
Client: Poetry on the Road
Team: Andrea Schaffors, Boris Müller, Florian Pfeffer

Poetry on the Road is an international literature festival which is held every year in Bremen, Germany. From 2002 — 2013, I was commisioned to design a visual theme for the festival. While the theme itself was changing, the underlying idea for the visuals was always the same: All graphics were generated by a computer program that turned texts into images. So every image is the direct representation of a specific text. The design and the development process were a collaboration with the design agency one/one.

In 2007, the key visual of Poetry on the Road is based on photos. As a resource, I have used the well known photo community On flickr, all photos are organised by tags. Each tag is a keyword that describes the entire apperance of a certain aspect of the specified photo.

This structure provides an obvious and simple mechanism for transforming text into an image. VisualPoetry07 treats every word in a poem as a tag. Using the Flickr API, the application sends every word to Flickr and simply takes the first image from the returning list. So if the word sun appears in a poem, VisualPoetry07 checks flickr for the most popular image tagged with “sun”. Very unusual words that are not used as tags on Flickr (like Bahnhofsgeister) are marked with a white bar.

Each word in the poem is repaced by a photo. However, not the entire photo is used. The photo is cropped depending on the length and the frequency of the word. The horizontal axis is defined by the length of the word, the vertical one by its frequency.

A great thing about flickr is that a huge number of community members share their photos based on the Creative Commons Attribution license. We took care only to use photos published under this Attribution License.

Here is a list of all photos and attributions that have been used for the creation of the key visual of Poetry on the Road 2007.

Detail from the poster