Chialab is a visual design laboratory. We visualize information on paper, in space and on screen. We create visual identities, and the tools and methods to manage them. We build publishing systems and reading platforms for digital publishers. We are dedicated to shaping new visions.
If I have included visibility in my list of values to be saved, it is to give warning of the danger we run in losing a basic human faculty: the power of bringing visions into focus with our eyes shut, of bringing forth forms and colours from the lines of black letters on a white page, and in fact of thinking in terms of images.
I have in mind some possible pedagogy of the imagination that would accustom us to control our own inner vision without suffocating it or letting it fall, on the other hand, into confused, ephemeral daydreams, but would enable the images to crystallize into a well-defined, memorable, and self-sufficient form, the "icastic" form.
Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Harvard University Press, 1988
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
Epitaph from Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, 1969
"The graphic designer has a great responsibility to the public. The graphic designer who respects himself, must back out if he knows that a product is of poor quality. It can have a negative influence on the development of a child, for example, or the cultural development of the people. The graphic layout must always be oriented scientifically; it is not a conman..."
Translated from Albe Steiner, Il Mestiere del grafico, Einaudi, Torino, 1997.
“… our awareness of the world is inseparable from our self-awareness as humans. In fact, creating our environment and creating ourselves has been, phylogenetically and ontogenetically, the same process.”
Tomàs Maldonado, Design, Nature, and Revolution: Toward a Critical Ecology, Harper & Row, 1972.
Among Chuang-tzu's many skills, he was an expert draftsman. The king asked him to draw a crab. Chuang-tzu replied that he needed five years, a country house, and twelve servants. Five years later the drawing was still not begun. ‘I need another five years,’ said Chuang-tzu. The king granted them. At the end of these ten years, Chuang-tzu took up his brush and, in an instant, with a single stroke, he drew a crab, the most perfect crab ever seen.
He who sees better, who distinguishes better, who recognizes the relativity of facts and knows that a single solution never exists for visual formulations, will certainly change his opinion about other formulations, too; above all, he will become at the same time more precise and more tolerant.
Translated from Josef Albers, Interazione del colore
From the Western attitude there arose Greek philosophy, Jewish prophesy and hence Christianity, science and technology. From the Eastern attitude there arose an aesthetic and pragmatic approach to life that we Westerners have never been able to understand completely. Now, these two mutually exclusive attitudes can, indeed must, blend into one another.
Vilém Flusser, The Shape of Things: a Philosophy of Design, 1999.
— Everything written symbols can say has already passed by. They are like tracks left by animals. That is why the masters of meditation refuse to accept that writings are final. The aim is to reach true being by means of those tracks, those letters, those signs — but reality itself is not a sign, and it leaves no tracks. It doesn’t come to us by way of letters or words. We can go toward it, by following those words and letters back to what they came from. But so long as we are preoccupied with symbols, theories, and opinions, we fail to reach the principle.
— But when we give up symbols and opinions, aren’t we left in the utter nothingness of being?
Kimura Kyūho, Kenjutsu Fushigi Hen, 1768 — quoted in R. Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style, Hartley & Marks Publishers, 1992
That very seeing does not see itself at all. How can something that cannot see itself see another?
The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer. As examples of such obstacles, I give (among others) memory, history or geometry, which are swamps of generalization from which one might pull out parodies of ideas (which are ghosts) but never an idea in itself. To achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood.
For the daring, dread is not an opponent of joy or even of the comfortable pleasures of quiet busyness. It shares a secret bond with the cheerfulness and mildness of creative yearning.
Martin Heidegger, What Is Metaphysics?, 1929.
"We can (and must) denounce the irrationality of our environment, but no discourse on the alienating nature can make us forget […] that it is the result of our factual desire and that we are all, directly or indirectly, making the objects of our surroundings, which, in turn, are a crucial part of the human condition."
Tomàs Maldonado, Design, Nature. and Revolution: Toward a Critical Ecology, Harper & Row, 1972.
"We can have all the possibilities, but we don’t have a project."
The raison d'être of libertarian education, on the other hand, lies in its drive towards reconciliation. Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students.
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, The Continuum International Publishing Group, 1970
When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
R. Buckminster Fuller
Each time we are confronted with a technological product, we are confronted with the ideas and knowledge behind it.
Every machine, every project, is never just a machine or a piece of paper, but rather a resource of thought, an invention and therefore a social invention, and in this sense we need to confront ourselves with it and utilize it.
Wau Holland, Chaos Computer Club, Hamburg