Systematic Surface Design

Systematic Surface Design by Tobias Christoph, 1980

Systematic Surface Design eliminating the hindrance of searching for strategies and starting points, allowing designers to quickly find optimal solutions.


Original images and text scanned from Novum Gebrauchsgraphik 06/1980

Which is a feature on Flächengestaltung mit System, by Krumpschmid, J., K. Lichtensteiger und J. Mariel, Callwey, 1979

‘The troublesome search for conceptual strategies and starting points toward solutions often prove a hindrance in overcoming design tasks. The following pages are devoted to this theme in order to present, in an exact, logical and practical way, a system for discussion which allows every designer to find, almost at his first attempt, the most suitable and optimal key to his specific problem.

The meaning and goal of this method of attack, however, is not to influence the degree of the quality of realization and «directions for use» to this effect are not included. Whoever wants to work with the basic material shown here should try to implement his own ideas, to put his own creativity to the test.

The creator of this design aid, published under the auspices of the Callwey Verlag of Munich, makes the following remarks in his foreword: «The constructions and design formulae collected here, ranging from the simplest to the most complicated, capable of multiple variations and combinations, have been put together for the first time in this form. But they can only be regarded as «partial units» and function solely as tools for independently working through an almost infinite number of ornamental and surface design patterns.»

Using this guide, the individual intentions of the graphic, display, model or object designer in regard to screen structures and module systems can be completely fulfilled.’

Tobias Christoph

Systematic Surface Design - Basis and starting point
Systematic Surface Design – Basis and Starting Point

The basis and starting point for this ornamental development are a screen pattern and one or more specific forms. The screen pattern is a mesh design made up of lines with a specific width, which in each particular case is to be changed, that is newly designed in different mesh sizes, in order to achieve the desired rhythm within the forms to be inserted. Without first establishing a screen pattern, continuity of design In similar or variable forms cannot be achieved. The lines in the screen pattern may be horizontal, vertical, diagonally slanted to the left or right or a combination of these directions.

The screen pattern, executed in equally distant horizontal and vertical lines, presents the universal basis for the arrangement of even very different forms. t will therefore be used in the work under consideration as the basis and starting point for all forms or model systems to be illustrated. The main forms are the square, the triangle and the circle. Using these basic forms, ornamental design, from the simplest to the most complicated rapport, will be shown in successive stages


Systematic Surface Design - Combinations of Basic Forms
Systematic Surface Design – Combinations of Basic Forms


Systematic Surface Design - Size Changes
Systematic Surface Design – Size Changes


Systematic Surface Design - Forms
Systematic Surface Design – Forms


Systematic Surface Design - Blending
Systematic Surface Design – Blending


Systematic Surface Design - Overlapping
Systematic Surface Design – Overlapping


Systematic Surface Design - Partial Forms
Systematic Surface Design – Partial Forms

The basic forms square, triangle and circle, may be changed by extraction (cutting out of parts of the areas. To facilitate this guide lines will be constructed, running inside the basic forms horizontal, vertical or diagonal (I or II), which may also be combined with each other or employed as an arc segment, so that, inside the screen structure, which retains its validity here. too. new forms may be developed, whose limitations are only of the designer himself.

Systematic Surface Design - Ornaments from Partial Forms
Systematic Surface Design – Ornaments from Partial Forms

Ornaments developed from partial forms The number of possible new ornaments which may be developed from partial forms in various positions and various arrangements seems infinite when employing, in addition, horizontal, vertical or diagonal (I and I) guide lines.


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