Finding Larger Infinity

The Smallest Infinity Detail

As a social science-loving wife of a mathematician, it’s often difficult for me to grasp what my husband does. On occasion, however, the elegance of mathematical thinking comes to life for me. For example, the idea of infinity having relative sizes.

Infinity is mind-blowing enough, but when I learned about some infinities being bigger or smaller than others, my brain nearly shattered. The amount of natural numbers (i.e., 1,2,3,4) is infinite. There is also an infinite quantity of rational and irrational numbers packed between the confines of these natural numbers. There are more irrational numbers than rational numbers, and the smallest infinity is the one you'd get to if you counted “1, 2, 3, 4” and so on forever. In other words, there are different sizes of infinity. The infinite amount of numbers is smaller than the infinity between numbers. Mind blown? Mine was.

What does the relative size of infinity have to do with design? It’s connected to the limitless potential inspired by solid strategy. The larger infinity is the boundless creativity and possibility that lives within the confines of what is right for a brand, what creates value for people, and what advances a cultural conversation or phenomenon.

Great design works within these boundless confines through a philosophy and process of design alchemy to create meaning and magic. Infinity itself is magical—within it a vast collision of ideas is possible. Even something as seemingly simple as color presents infinite permutations. The expressions of a single color are endless through the interplay of other design elements…other colors, movement, typeface, texture, language, etc. These collisions, these experiments in alchemy, ultimately create value and meaning for people because they are within the bounds of insights about the brand; business opportunities; and human needs, wants and motivations.

Finding the right solution within that infinity requires two essential components: identifying the boundaries (strategy), and the rigor and curiosity necessary to explore the infinite possibilities.