Brandon Washington's Ode to Tobias Wong

Brandon Washington’s Ode to Tobias Wong

Brandon Washington’s project, “Searching for Words,” aims to convert words into images as a way to create new meanings behind them. Taking inspiration from the Deconstruction:Reconstruction process, Brandon reflected on his hero, the late designer Tobias Wong.

Brandon deconstructed Tobias’ process of taking existing creations and spawning whole new meanings for them. While Tobias repeatedly did this with physical objects, Brandon thought of a way to manifest new design through words—and in a way that could ultimately be used by anyone—ultimately resulting the in creation of a graphic poster.

The images are gathered by a program built with Processing, and using Google’s search API. After typing in a “search term,” Google produces a large number of images relating to that search. An algorithm was created to downsample the images by counting the number of characters in the search term word, multiplying that number by ten, then selecting the image that corresponds to its place in the search result lineup. (For instance, the word “dream” will result in the 50th image in the set that Google returns.) Finally, the program renames the images as the search term along with the image’s number order, creating a file such as: “bowl_of_fruit_00001.jpg”, for example.

For the poster above, Brandon pays tribute to the designer/artist Tobias Wong, referencing a well-known quote of his that represents Brandon’s own ambitions of carving out a life for himself, using design as a catalyst: “In a dream I saw a way to survive and I was full of joy.”

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