Inspired by groups that work with self-imposed systems of constraints, such as Oulipo and more specifically Ougrapo (Ouvroir du design graphique potentiel or Workshop of potential graphic design), we decided to create a collection of postal stamps under specific restrictions.
We are a group of seven, so the collection has seven units, each unit with seven layers. We worked for seven weeks. Every week, each person had a layer of a stamp to work on, to be added on top of the former one, in a rotative process. Each person was assigned with a letter and had to include in the layer twenty-one elements, words, attributes, processes, etc. that began with that letter. Each person could only use one color, preferably beginning with the specific designated letter. Each person could only occupy the maximum of fifty percent of the stamp area. The chosen area was an official stamp size, which naturally constrained some of our choices in terms of images, styles and proportions. As a result of the process, we understood our constraints and imposed restrictions as productive obstacles: they took us to unexpected outputs, very unlikely to happen otherwise. They made us employ different tactics to accomplish the task every week. Just like constraints do to oulipian rats, our arbitrarily given obstacles helped us escape our own labyrinth.
Provisório Ounão is a committee of the research group Espaço, Poética, Jogo (Space, Poetics, Play) from the Design Department at the University of Brasilia, Brazil. Inspired by the literary and graphic exercises of Oulipo and Ougrapo, Provisório Ounão carries out collaborative visual experiments based on self-imposed constraints.