Buckminster Fuller: Mapping Change

At Lucid we are always looking for ways to introduce new perspectives and ideas. When we were approached by the Foreign Ministry to develop a logo for a public debate on Germany and the future of foreign policies, we immediately turned to the work of R. Buckminster Fuller, and even more specifically his Dymaxion Map. (Side note: If you are unfamiliar with the work and life of Buckminster Fuller, you won’t be after reading this post).



Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, Non-Symmetrical Tension-Integrity Structures,
© The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved.


Richard Buckminster Fuller, one of the most influential people of our time. Expelled from Harvard for so called “lack of ambition”, he went on to hold 28 patents, author 28 books, receive 47 honorary degrees, and win numerous prestigious awards. In his own words he dedicated his life to “changing the world and benefiting all humanity” by focusing on global problems including: shelter, transportation, education, and energy consumption. Fuller’s design philosophy was one of “doing more with less,” eventually leading him to coin the term Dymaxion. A combination of the words dynamic, maximum and, ion, the title “Dymaxion” was later applied to many of Fuller’s inventions and designs.



Patent Drawing of Dymaxion Car, 1933
built by architect Norman Foster



The Dymaxion Map, designed in 1946, was one of Fuller’s most innovative creations. By printing the map onto a 3-dimensional icosahedron, a geometric form with 20 faces, the unfolded Dymaxion Map represents the world’s continents with minimum distortion. Unlike a traditional flat map, the Dymaxion Map depicts a more realistic version of the Earth’s entire surface.


Animation by Chris Rywalt


The Dymaxion Map’s accurate representation of our planet provides a new perspective of the world in which we live. The Map’s clear and realistic depiction, aids in better understanding the challenges we face as one human race, on one planet. “Review 2014 – A Fresh Look At German Foreign Policy”, proposed an open debate addressing the questions: “What is wrong with German foreign policy?” and “What needs to be changed about it?” The idea behind the review – “If foreign policy has an affect on us, then all of us should have our affect on foreign policy”.


Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map

Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map, 1981
© The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved


In order to respect the philosophy of the Dymaxion Map, and bearing in mind the goal of the Review, we thought it best to keep the logo design as minimal as possible. To do this, we stripped the map down, leaving two key elements: a direct view of the continental chain, and a clear outline of Fuller’s unorthodox map projection. The typeface, created by designer and typographer Samuel Oswick, was modeled to look like a rubber stamp; a play on the idea of accuracy, and making one’s mark. Map projections are a frequent theme in many Lucid projects, and due to personal interest in Fuller, we were always looking for the right project to apply his work. Review 2014 was undoubtedly such a project. The debate offered a new perspective on German Foreign Policy, just as the Dymaxion Map offered a new perspective on the world.



Review 2014 – Aussenpolitik Weiter Denken
Federal Foreign Office – Open Debate Logo Design

© The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved.
“The Transformation Scenario” drawing courtesy of Pat Chipman



In a time of so many global challenges, it is essential to embrace new perspectives. Whether we are looking at the entire world from a new angle, or opening discussion to include public opinion, it is important to remember, we are fostering change. Richard Buckminster Fuller was arguably one of the greatest thinkers of our generation. His insatiable passion for change, lives on in his contributions to architecture, design, science, and overall sustainability. We are happy we had the opportunity to apply the Dymaxion Map to Review 2014 – a project introducing new perspectives, and like Fuller, working to encourage a better tomorrow.



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If you would like to learn more about Richard Buckminster Fuller please visit The Buckminster Fuller Institute at http://bfi.org/.

All information and text references provided by The Buckminster Fuller Institute.  Retrieved from https://bfi.org/about-fuller


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