Tria-Pattern-Alphabet –

abstract writing system

university workshop

Introduction –

topic & goal

Designers use software that has been programmed.
So are designers “programmed” aswell?
Do we design with our tools or for our tools?

We dealt with this question in the workshop Programming Users during „Laborwoche“ – a week where student work on creative projects in selected workshops – in November 2019 at the University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd. Our goal was to develop a tool that would solve a specific task according to our individual concepts. This tool was to be built using Python & the pyautogui library.

Design Process –

brief & quick

abstract writing system

In the beginning we developed an abstract writing system. Therefore we designed forms composed of triangles within a 3×3 grid for each letter.

concept development 

Basically our tool is based on controlling the movement of the mouse & its actions. By pressing a key, the corresponding letter should be drawn as an abstract form by the mouse. To implement this we chose MS Paint, as it is a simple programme that we could easily adapt to our needs. Since the words written with the “Tria-Pattern-Alphabet” were a break with the classical way of writing & were not readable anyway, a linear arrangement seemed inconsistent to us. For this reason, we continued the grid idea when arranging the letters of a word. In order to maintain the grid idea, the number of letters of a word determines the lengths of the square-grid sides. Each letter of the word is placed at a random position of the grid. How often a letter is drawn depends on how many letters the entered word consists of.

Since the position of the letters is random, a new image is always generated even if the same word is entered several times. This uniqueness can for example be used as creative means when creating individual business cards. So each business card would reflect a single individual, even if two persons carry the same name. For example the figure below shows three times the name “Marvin”.

Key Learnings –

do not limit yourself to tools

Tools offer us many advantages, but also limit us, because they are not adapting to us, but we are adapting to them. With our “Tria-Pattern-Alphabet” we have created a tool in the form of an algorithm which exactly suits us & our usage scenario in order to achieve our goal. Coding is thus a way for designers to create precisely fitting tools in order to achieve their design goals more effectively & efficiently.

Project information –


Interaction Design

Semester 2

University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd


Programming User

Winter 2019/20

contact information

Any questions? –

let’s get in touch

If you have any questions about the project or want to know more about it, just write me a short message.
I am happy about any suggestions and comments.

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