The FORTY FIVE SYMBOLS magazine #4
The poster-size (A3) FORTY FIVE SYMBOLS magazine #4 has been carefully handcrafted on a risograph using a compelling combination of Fluorescent Pink and Green. It introduces the winners of the globalmurmurs 16/17 open call for participation. Buy it through the online SLANTED book store, see more images of the final publication and the process .


Open Call for Entries
We are inviting contributions from students in or outside the classroom! Deadline for this round is December 1, 2017.


  • genomicsstart
  • urbic
  • unitystart

Winners of the global open call for entries 2016/17
Globalmurmurs: A celebration of diversity and equal rights.
Sean Burgess

Jury Statement
The project “Genomics” by Sean Burgess deals with GMOs (genetically modified organisms), using recombinant DNA methods, gene modification, and transgenic technology. This current and polarizing topic questions social, political, economic, ethical, and moral values of our society. Is this really the way we, as citizens, want to optimize, control, manipulate and shape our world? Burgess applies the principles of genetic modeling to the visual form of his project. He modifies a simple structure into a complete set of diverse and variable iterations, creating increasingly complex constructions. As a “creator,” Burgess strictly follows a systematic, precise, and minimal approach that is dominated by a characteristic diagonal orientation.
Each symbol is described by a disciplinary terminology of genetics. It is supplemented with a term of mundane language to enable a layperson to grasp the full understanding of the concept. As an example, one of the symbols is called “Trisomy and Error,” and another is called “In Vitro and Design.” The jury was particularly impressed by the clarity and abstraction in his visual scheme. The outstanding qualities of Sean Burgess’ work are the analytic and visual approach, the clear exploration of symbolic elements, and its elaboration and execution.
See project

Tracy Bassil

Jury Statement
For centuries, ornamental explorations of Arabic script have been diverse and mesmerizing. The great visual richness manifests both in an elaborated application derived from handwriting, as well as in abstract geometric patterns and ornamentations. This is particularly true in the architectural context. The URBIC experiment combines these visual traditions with current urban design themes in a surprising approach. Concepts of urban planning are reproduced as characters in Arabic translation; they convey meaning visually without abandoning readability. Tracy Bassil combines her passion as an Architecture and Digital Media student with the local visual culture of Beirut to raise awareness of urban challenges like accessibility, densification, urban sprawl, and environmental equity. In a playful way, this reminds us of our social responsibilities building the physical and digital infrastructures for future generations. Even though not all symbols appear perceptible at first glance to the Arabic reader, the jury was impressed by the convincibility of the global visual language, its unique approach to hybridity, and the design quality of the 45 symbols.
See project

Assra Tajbhai
Fatima Mohammed Bham
Nikita Govender
Ssanyu Sematimba

Jury Statement
“Unity in Diversity” is not only the title of the project, but it is in many facets the representation of this – on the first glance – contradicting idea. The conceptual setup appears initially quite straightforward, with the visualization of five words: truth, joy, honor, love and peace. Each of the five words are visualized by a composed “fountain” of eight elements. The eight single elements communicate a visual translation of the word in eight different languages/cultures. In this construction, the symbol “TRUTH” is built by the following languages: Yiddish, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Bengali, Xhosa, and Zulu. In addition, the designers successfully incorporated the water element, which unifies humans in each of their symbols. The five fountains are designed with refinement and a delicate fusion of sub-symbols offering a unique and coherent visual language. Each symbol is distinctive yet follows one aesthetic idea.
As much as the language expertise of the international jury allows, the symbols are capturing the idea of truth, joy, honor, love or peace in each cultural context. “Unity in Diversity” was created by a group of four young designers from diverse cultural backgrounds, all studying in South Africa. The contribution of four personalities who are reflecting their own culture, but still managing to unify the visual appearance of the symbols, is another brilliant achievement of intercultural visual communication demonstrated in this work.
See project

Sean Burgess


Tracy Bassil


Assra Tajbhai
Fatima Mohammed Bham
Nikita Govender
Ssanyu Sematimba



The jurors of the globalmurmurs 2016/17 open call
Randa Abdel Baki
Associate Professor, Lebanese American University Beirut
School of Architecture and Design

Olivier Arcioli
Designer, Atelier Gruen

Annelie Franke
Associate Professor, Universidad de los Andes Bogotá

Pascal Glissmann
Assistant Professor, Parsons School for Design New York
School of Art, Media, and Technology

Andreas Henrich
Professor Emeritus, Academy of Media Arts Cologne

Mariko Takagi
Associate Professor, Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts,
Department of Information and Media, Kyoto, Japan

More selected projects from the globalmurmurs open call 16/17
Based on the high quality of submissions, the jury invited selected participants to publish their work digitally.


Merging Mobile City
Cole Finch
Jury Selected for Website


habitat destruction
Andrea Gilbert
Jury Selected for Website


Padayachy, Elkon
Pillay, Tilly, de Klerk
Jury Selected for Website


hand hair
Kellee Morgado
Jury Selected for Website

Open call for entries: Globalmurmurs 2016/17
Deadline December 2016


The Phaistos Project in New York and Berlin
The Open Call for Entries 16/17 was introduced at NY Design Week and Typo Berlin. See more pictures on the blog


Winners of the global open call for entries 2015/16
Globalmurmurs: A celebration of diversity and equal rights.
Lin Yu-Heng
Jury Statment | See project

Yoko Kristiansen

Jury Statment | See project

Raafia Jessa

Jury Statment | See project

Thi Tran

Jury Statment | See project

Helen Nerio

Jury Statment | See project

Lee, Chieh-Ting

Jury Statment | See project

More selected projects from the globalmurmurs open call 15/16
Based on the high quality of submissions, the jury invited selected participants to publish their work digitally.

The FORTY FIVE SYMBOLS magazine #2
The second issue of the FORTY FIVE SYMBOLS magazine introduces five selected projects that respond to some kind of social change. They comment on the sociopolitical situation in Russia, Venezuela, and the US; reflect on individual life choices in Hong Kong; or depict our lives as modern nomads. Get it @ SLANTED


The FORTY FIVE SYMBOLS magazine #1
Blood, sweat and tears: We printed 150 copies on a risograph in the heat of Cologne, August 2015. More information and a web form to get in touch are at the end of this page. Find the documentation of the process on our blog. Get it @ SLANTED


The Spiral of Symbols
Centerpiece of the exhibition at Kunst-Station Sankt Peter in Cologne was a gigantic spiral of symbols uniting the work developed across the globe. In combination with the little book of symbols, visitors were able to decode the signs while walking along the circles. Cologne, Summer 2014.




The FORTY FIVE SYMBOLS group published a book for the exhibition in Cologne 2014. It introduces 45 projects of 45 symbols created by students from Cologne, New York, Bogotá, Hong Kong, Falmouth and Beirut.


Symbols as frames
This animation combines selected projects out of the 45 symbols submissions and it has been projected during the exhibition at the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter.FORTY FIVE SYMBOLS from think45 on Vimeo.

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To our exhibition in 2014


GLobalmurmurs Open Call 2015
The call is closed.