Putting the Pieces Together, a Design Challenge

For our promotional project this year we invited people into the process of visual problem-solving. Great design is purposeful, it solves a problem through a combination of logic, creativity and ingenuity. Another important aspect of the design process is playfulness. It is necessary to explore different concepts, adjust them, and push the limits to see how elastic an idea is – at what point does it lose its context and become too unrecognizable? We wanted to find one item to embody all these ideas. Tangram puzzles were the perfect design challenge.

Tangram design challenge boxes

One puzzle consists of seven geometric pieces that combine to make a square. A deck of cards provides a series of figures, animals and landmarks formed by rearranging the seven pieces. It seems simple until you realize there are infinite ways to put the seven pieces together. We made it even trickier by including two puzzles with some cards combining all 14 pieces to make one design. One might call this an advancedgram.

Tangrams have seemingly endless possibilities and the final arrangements are very subjective. Two people may look at a completed puzzle and see two completely different things. This is similar to design at its heart and the challenges designers engage with during every project. Ultimately, we want our designs to be unique, but they also need to be recognizable to a wider audience. 

cards with design challenge images

In true Splinter fashion, we used wooden puzzles in wooden boxes with red and white cards. We kept the design simple so that the puzzles could be the hero of the project. We were overwhelmingly pleased to win a silver ADDY from The American Advertising Federation (AAF). But we were even more pleased to give a peek into the creative mind. Having a little fun while getting to the crux of the design challenge, that is our pointy genius.