The Mountains of Pi

Magazine Spreads

The Mountains of Pi is a fascinating article about two brothers creating a supercomputer in their apartment. The article goes on to talk about who they are, their lives, the experience creating a supercomputer, and how Pi is intertwined.

Used in this project: InDesign, Photoshop, etc.

The Brief

The goal for this project was to create the visuals for a multipage article spread, The Mountains of Pi by Richard Preston. We were to focus on creating designs that related to the content of the article. The article focuses on two brothers creating a supercomputer and an exploration of the number Pi. My approach was to manipulate typography and emphasize an important line in the article.

“Pi hides in the rainbow, and sits in the pupil of the eye, and when a raindrop falls into water pi emerges in the spreading rings. Pi can be found in waves and ripples and spectra of all kinds, and therefore pi occurs in colors and music.” – Richard Preston, The Mountains of Pi

The Process

My initial thoughts were to focus on computer, mathematical, and technology concepts. However, these specific lines in the article were inspiring in how math is represented in our everyday lives.

Creating the Typography

The concept of how Pi can be found in the ripples of waves is what inspired the choice in typographic manipulation. I prepared and laid out the type in InDesign in a multitude of different layouts, weights, and sizes. Then, I printed and laminated each of the texts printed out at full size and photographed them underwater. From above, I dropped water to create ripple effects and photographed them.

This was a difficult process to get a balance between the water ripples but also maintaining type that was legible and readable. Once I was able to achieve the look I had wanted, I brought the photos into Photoshop for editing. I repeated this process for quote pull outs in the article to maintain the theme.


Project Takeaway

Experimenting with physical manipulation of type was a fun and exciting process. Today, we have programs that have endless possibilities for editing and creating striking typography. However, creating off screen is rewarding and can lead to beautiful creations.