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2018.02.15

Moiré: Design Within Lines

8 techniques for working purposefully with one of design’s most notorious glitches.

Moiré: A type of graphic interference pattern that seemingly appears out of nowhere when lines, stripes, grids or curves align unexpectedly in a design. It’s a phenomenon usually avoided in this industry – the subject of countless how-to articles and online tutorials overviewing the easiest ways to skirt around or edit out the notorious optical illusion from our creations.

But moiré can also be an incredibly useful tool for adding depth, movement and unexpected excitement to our creative projects. Below, we detail eight techniques artists and designers have used while working purposefully with interference patterns. Think of it as inspiration for your daily practice.

1. Moiré Illustrations

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Moiré can be a great tool for adding the illusion of depth and movement in static illustrations. Italian designer Andrea Minini takes advantage of the effect in her simple, minimalist drawings which have earned her a cult following on social media.

2. Analog Animations

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One of the most classic uses of moiré designs can be found on vintage record sleeves, book covers and other print materials dating back since the 1970s. This seemingly animated Jaga Jazzist Starfire LP designed by Martin Kvamme & Martin Horntveth is a fine example.

3. Dynamic Architecture

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Conrad ShadowcrossThe Optic Cloak is a clever design solution employed for a 160’ industrial chimney flue pitched for the London skyline. The architect applies Vorticism and moiré patterns to give the structure a semi-translucent skin, creating a paradoxical camouflage for the sky tube.

4. Animated Fabrics

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There’s an age-old rule about moiré that dictates you should never wear stripes on camera. But fashion designer Anouk van de Sande embraces the illusion, creating prints that change with subtle shifts and make the wearer appear as though they’re moving while still.

5. Kinetic Sculptures

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Simple geometry is all it takes to create a breathtaking moiré-inspired kinetic sculpture. See artist Stiliana Alexeva’s work, which uses warped wire installed in front of a patterned canvas and fpaper to create mutative effects designed to demonstrate the impermanence of human perception.

6. Digital Holograms

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Moiré is a perfect example of how static visuals can be used to imitate complex lighting effects like iridescence. Hamburg-based NobleNorse Studio created this series of “self-initiated studies creating glitched and destroyed digital art based on holographic material” as reference.

7. Graphic Typography

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Looking for a cool font idea? Dots, lines, colors and curves can all be employed to create graphic moiré-inspired typography. A famous example is Dirk Wachowiak’s “AF Module Texture” which creates illusive patterns with letter forms by combining different styles of the typeface.

8. Projected Environments

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Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson utilizes patterns of projected light and shadows created by hanging, mirrored discs to create immersive moiré environments. The experiential design featured here is designed to illustrate the concept of “seeing yourself sensing.”

This article is the first in a new monthly resource series we’re putting together for young, up-and-coming designers. Have an idea for next month’s list? Contact our editorial team at pr@trollback.com

 

Sources + Further Reading: 

Food, DJ. “Freaky Formats: The hypnotic world of moiré effect record sleeves.” The Vinyl Factory, The Vinyl Factory, 28 Apr. 2017, thevinylfactory.com/features/freaky-formats-moire-effect/.

Holmes, Kevin. “Optical Art Patterns Bring a New London Landmark to Life.” Creators, VICE, 7 Sept. 2016, creators.vice.com/en_us/article/53wvdz/optical-art-patterns-new-london-chimney-flue.

Miller, Meg. “These Brightly Patterned Textiles Create A Moiré Effect When Layered.” Co.Design, Fast Company, 2 May 2017, www.fastcodesign.com/3052812/these-brightly-patterned-textiles-create-a-moire-effect-when-layered.

Rosenthal, Emerson. “This Holographic Glitch Art Looks Like an Iridescent Oil Slick.” Creators, VICE, 9 Jan. 2015, creators.vice.com/en_us/article/gvwygj/holographic-glitch-art-looks-like-an-iridescent-oil-slick.

“The dreaded Moiré effect, used to this artist’s own advantage: clever!” Freepik Blog, Freepik, 5 July 2016, www.freepik.com/blog/the-dreaded-moire-effect-used-to-this-artists-own-advantage-clever/.

Yang, Bingxi. “The Visual Artistic Aspect of Moire Effect.” Paradoxes and Illusions, Digital Media Studio Project, 9 Feb. 2015, dmsp.digital.eca.ed.ac.uk/blog/paradoxesandillusions2015/2015/02/09/the-visual-artistic-aspect-of-moire-effect/.