Computers are taking over the world it seems. Ray Kurzweil, a futurologist and information society god to some, predicted something called ‘The Singularity’ would happen between now and ten years. His basic premise put very simply: computers will become extremely dominant in our society and the speed at which that happens will increase logarithmically, meaning it will get here quicker than you think. That’s a problem for Color Objects! We love writing these articles, we love meeting the creatives we showcase. Each with their own story behind the work they make and the colors they choose. If computers were to take over everything, also design, we would have to interview a computer. Gee, fun…
We have to be flexible, and adjust to survive. We recently interviewed two Lituanian students, Lina & Paulius, from the arts school in Bergen, Norway and their business partner Egle. They call themselves Bits & Pieces Lab. They posted a picture on the Color Objects Facebook wall and we thought it was pretty cool. So we called, and it turned out the t-shirts we’re designed by a computer. Really, a computer made the designs of the t-shirts you see here. The computer that designed these t-shirts couldn’t talk, but it’s a matter of time before it will. We were worried the Color Objects concept of interviewing the creatives behind the designs and colors was no longer viable as the creative work had been taken over by computers. We were worried the fun of doing all the interviews would be gone. We spoke to the designers of the computer program instead.
The computer program that designs the t-shirts creates loads and loads of designs based on an algorithm (made by people). You press enter, the computer goes wild, and out pops a design. Well, it’s not that simple. Computers don’t necessarily have a good eye for design (not yet…), and especially not colors. The program uses the RGB system, meaning it can create 255 to the power of 3 different colors. That’s sixteen million five hundred eighty one thousand three hundred seventy five colors the computer can ‘choose’ from. Of course different colors are used on a t-shirt so the amount of color combinations is a multitude of that. Chosing the wrong colors is really easy and computers haven’t learned to do that (yet) so Lina and Paulius select designs that are suitable to use for t-shirts. The final result is a subjective one. It’s what they think will appeal to their target group.
It started as a school project where they tried to create a kaleidoscopic color effect for clothes using computer design. Lina had the fashion & textile expertise, Paulius is the techie. They bumped into Egle who’s always on the look out for great ideas to market. Egle saw the potential in Bits & Pieces to become something great. You could make never ending unique patters for any type of garment. And you will be the only one who has that unique design, that unique t-shirt. You can already buy the t-shirts on their website and if you ask politely you can get your design on other materials (like the christmas tree below). Lina and Paulius are still developing the program further so you have more designs to choose from, and even ‘make’ your own designs in the future. What will always be the case, is the surprise element. You enter some variables, and out comes a result that will hopefully surprise you. If it doesn’t, just press enter again. Funny enough, the ongoing development of the t-shirt designs (read computer program) is limited by manufacturing restrictions. It’s now still undoable to have each unique design printed on a unique t-shirt, the costs would simply be too high to market the t-shirts. Neon and really bright colors are difficult, as are transparency effects. New printing opportunities are constantly being explored by the team, so expect to be able to have your own designs printed and sent to your address in due time! And if you know about technologies to help them improve their options: let them know.