Morphological Matrix is a simple technique to combine and capture many possibilities of image in designing something. This technique is developed by Fritz Zwicky, a Swiss astrophysicist. Even though I’ve been learning and doing design for many years, I just found this technique about one month ago in a graphic design book authored by Pricken.
This technique is very useful in designing logo, poster, flyer and anything else related to creative arts. It needs in-depth exploration to list all things, whether logically or illogically, associated with the purpose. Practically, it’s a combination between ideas brainstorm and design execution within one layer.
First thing to do in applying Morphological Matrix is to define goal(s) ensuring you know what the output for doing this technique is. Why you or users wanna do this: Do you want to design a logo? Create a poster? Develop a design concept? or what? By defining goal, users, either you or not, can make the journey more efficient because they already did some initial filtering. The matrix will guide you to accommodate and explore all design elements’ possibilities. This matrix is a medium to spill all raw ideas, all images, all sound, all numbers, all identities, all symbols, all words, or all patterns associated with the design aim. No worry to think are they related enough to the design aim. Just put all inspirational items into the matrix.
Once the matrix was fulfilled by many elements, it’s time to start doing analysis and synthesis. It’s time for transformation and morphosis. Users synthesize all items in the matrix and create many variations of design by intelligently linking among the elements. In this phrase, it needs persistence and tenacity to always look and explore for the best possibility.
For example, let’s see the morphed design of “Live Aid in Africa” logo above. The aim of doing morphological matrix was to create a logo for rock concert held in Africa. In the matrix, it covered word elements “Live Aid” in various shapes, picture of music instruments, animals, and so forth. From many possible solutions, analysis was needed as fundamental reasoning to choose particular elements associated with the venue. The designer of Live Aid Logo chose guitar and Africa symbol as important elements because for some reason (that I didn’t know). Synthesizing, connecting, combining and improving the analyzed elements are critically needed to develop final design. As shown in the final “Live Aid” logo, its creator used Africa continent shape as the guitar’s body to represent the rock concert. Simple, but Wonderful!
Pricken, M. (2002). Creative Advertising: Ideas and Techniques From the World’s Best Campaigns. London: Thames & Hudson.