In Search of Non-Biased Design

When Parsons instructor and Pentagram designer Talia Cotton set out to create an unbiased brand for Guilty by Association (GBA), an arts organization that promotes under-represented artists, she used algorithms to generate a logo with infinite permutations to represent the endless variety of art and artists in the world.

Cotton fed the algorithm ten different hand-drawn versions of the letters GBA that she created, then let the computer get to work. The results are indeed endless, but still recognizable as the client’s own identity. (You can play with GBA’s generator tool at


But Cotton had wanted to create a bias-free design—very appropriate for a client with such a disparate membership—but because her hand and brain had made the original ten drawings, she knew her personal biases were embedded in the work. So now she is working on a new version of the plan that will involve having other people draw the letters. Then she will use the experience she gained in version one of the design to manipulate Bezier curves and anchor points in more informed ways. Bias won’t be completely gone, but it should be significantly watered down.

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