Ougrapo (Ouvroir du design graphique potentiel, or: Archive for design constraints, rules and methodologies) was founded in 2001. The founders are: Sigrid Ortwein, Sophie Dobrigkeit and Ulrike Gauder (see below).
Sigrid Ortwein's studio for graphic and information design, bureau grotesque, is located in an impressive penthouse in Offenbach. She works together with esjottes and is also known to some as Frau von Rotwein. Sophie Dobrigkeit received her MFA in graphic design from California Institute of the Arts in 2000. Then, she moved back to Germany and opened the studio visual activities for design, typography and illustration, in Frankfurt. She teaches design fundamentals at the University of Applied Sciences, Mainz. Ulrike Gauder creates graphic design for friendly customers and social institutions at her studio Impulslabor, also located in Frankfurt.
Notes: One of the most exploited constraints of Ougrapo is the X+7 (or Sieben7). For us, X+7 no longer replaces words in texts (like the Oulipo’s N+7); instead, it works with pictures, colors, fonts, etc.
Before beginning with the operation, one must decide on a defined object set. This can, for example, be a dictionary, a color index, the results of an Internet image search, even a supermarket. Every seventh object is selected or “sifted out.”
The search itself becomes the method. The collected material is then used for various projects (eg., a book).
The real challenge here is translating text based constraints onto images and other graphic material. It is this semiotic adventure that is at the heart of Ougrapo.
The Ougrapo website was created as an archive for design methods and a showcase for design under constraint.