I was tasked by Parley with creating a system for badge/stickers which will allow modularity along with some sort of hidden puzzle and Augmented Reality. My interpretation of this problem statement was that I needed to create a design that would create effectively a large number of discrete image targets without visually being different for a human observer.
The system I’m trying to come up with is inspired by Dharma Initiative from the TV series Lost, which has a logo with radiating trigrams which form the basis of I Ching. The approach that I am taking is to try and create a secretive quasi-militaristic badge. Apart from mere appearance, there is a need for creating a system that will allow us to create unique badges with minimum effort, such that it will just require assembly and nothing more. Also, I’m trying to make it so that the visually unique badges will enable Augmented Reality. I know this is not the most essential feature of the project, but I am assuming this to be an important baseline when thinking about the design elements.
I Ching uses the principle of binary code to convey a certain kind of message. The binary 0/1 takes the form of stick/broken-stick. There are 6 figures (hexagram) with each place taking up a stick or no stick. This means there are 2^6 possibilities, which is to say 64 possibilities. Each of the hexagrams have unique and deep meaning.
The most simple way of using the binary coding that one finds in I Ching is as on the right. We can increase the number of sticks to increase the number of possible combinations. The design on the right has 16 sticks - thus there are 16 binary placeholders. Not that this is necessary, but this is simply to demonstrate that we can create a number of unique combinations. We can use the combination in multiples of 6, to create a sort of secret messages drawing from I Ching.
If we are to expand the idea of binary beyond hexagram - so as to not look too similar to Dharma Initiative and not be too tied down into the visual representation of I Ching, we have to think of a different tactic. One thing that we can do is to look the suit system of generic cards or tarot cards. Tarot cards have 4 suits and we can look into this to expand our approach.
The tarot have the suits Cup, Sword, Club and Coin. To the right you can see possible suit symbols that we can add to our badge. We can possibly have two versions of the tarot suit symbols to denote 0/1 - no fill/fill. So we get our binary as a plus on top of having four suits. That means the number of combinations are 4*2^(number of placeholders).
We can further add to the possible combinations by having these geometric patterns combined with tarot suit. These borders, within a set theme, can be used interchangeably.