1,024 Polygons For A Cause

I don’t normally use this space to share my own professional work, but here’s a rare glimpse into an extra curricular project I just completed.

A few months ago I was contacted by Suzanne McKenzie, who runs the Ucal McKenzie Breakaway Foundation — an organization that promotes youth soccer as a stepping stone to personal development. Suzanne is the widow of Ucal Mckenzie, a soccer coach, counselor and mentor who died unexpectedly and tragically at the age of 32. In addition to partnerships with Nike and MLS teams, one of the organization’s fundraising efforts is a oversized calendar in which each month is a tear-away poster contributed by a different artist or designer.

Suzanne is currently the president of AIGA’s Boston Chapter, a position that connects her with a vast network of designers and artists. She’s tapped into that network to assemble an impressive lineup of collaborators for her cause. Last year’s inaugural calendar included work by several designers we’ve recently discussed in class: (Chip Kidd, Debbie Millman, Ellen Lupton) as well as Marc English, Adam Larson and others. This year includes contributions from Bruce Mau, Luba Lukova, Lorraine Wild and Chris Pullman (the inspiration behind our 1-minute film project). If you’re not already familiar with the work of these designers, look them up. If you are, take this opportunity to reacquaint yourselves with them.

In thinking about the project (which was simply to created a soccer-related image for the calendar) I was struck by a particular synchronicity — Ucal passed away at age 32; there are 32 panels on a soccer ball (20 hexagons and 12 pentagons).

My solution was to geometrically deconstruct the 32 facets of 32 soccer balls, sort them into their respective shapes (640 hexagons and 384 pentagons), then rearrange them into a dynamic image. The result is the image you see here — a player and ball comprised entirely of pentagons, rising against an abstract field of their companion hexagons.

You can learn more about Ucal and the foundation here.