Translations: Design As Poetry As Design

Class: Inquiry & Immersion

Institution: California Institute of the Arts

Project: Senior Thesis

Student Level: BFA 4

Designer: Brooke Irish

In Brief:  Poetry’s power lies in its simultaneous recognition of the density, fluidity, fragility and magic of language. Designers are very often poets and as such, should study design with its full capabilities as a language. Each part of this project, examines a poem (or collection of poems) and translates them into an designed object for a particular person. These personal translations are not illustrations or renderings but, rather, poems made manifest through the designer’s experience as a human being.




This project translates various poetic works of  Emily Dickinson using a structure adapted from Jack Spicer’s book, After Lorca, in which he corresponded and collaborated with the late Spanish poet Frederico García Lorca.


Have you got a Brook in your

little heart, 

Where bashful flowers blow, 

And blushing birds go down to


And shadows tremble so—


Translation for Armando

A box containing a set of hummingbird feeders.



Translation for Bret

A set of songs that can be played on a music box or other instrument.



Translation for Jenna

A book and puzzle.



Translation for Sarah

A poster and booklet in one.



Comments are closed.