How to talk about unsig geometry

While it’s fun to look at unsigs and appreciate them as art, it took some serious thought to find ways to talk about what we see in unsigs. How do we describe the colors, forms, and geometries that we see? In this article we’ll cover the language and conventions used here on to describe relative form orientations — how forms appear relative to one another in each unique geometry.

The first thing to know is that the basic forms and orientations are already covered:

The Basics

There are two categories of forms when it comes to orientations–those that can have two orientations, and those that can have four.

Number of possible orientations Forms Possible orientations


Single Beam, Triple Beam
Horizontal, Vertical


Diffuser, Single Bulbs, Triple Bulbs
Ascending, Descending


Hourglass, River, Veins
Ascending, Descending, Upward, Downward

Order of Forms

One of the first questions that had to be answered when talking about geometries was how to talk about which form relative to which other form. In what order does it make sense to discuss them? In some unsigs with the same geometry, one form might appear above or below another form in the order of layers, but that isn’t always reliable. The order forms appear in is specific to each individual piece.

Instead it helps to discuss the forms in the order they appear in the collection. For example, the very first form to appear in the entire collection was the Single Beam. Then the Triple Beam. Third was the Diffuser, and so on, based on their multipliers.

  1. Single Beam (multiplier: 2)
  2. Triple Beam (multiplier: 4)
  3. Diffuser (multipliers: 1/1)
  4. Hourglass (multipliers: 1/2)
  5. River (multipliers: 1/4)
  6. Single Bulbs (multipliers: 2/2)
  7. Veins (multipliers: 2/4)
  8. Triple Bulbs (multipliers: 4/4)

Based on this, adopted a convention for describing geometries that discusses the forms in order of their appearance in the collection. For example, if a geometry contains a Diffuser and a River, the Diffuser is discussed relative to the River and not the other way around. This has proven a stable convention for discussing relative form orientation.


Now lets get to the specific words used to describe relative form orientation.


The forms are oriented in the same direction.

A Beam can align vertically with an Upward or Downward form, or horizontally with an Ascending or Descending form.

A Diffuser, Single Bulbs or Triple Bulbs can align Ascending with an Upward or Ascending form, or Descending with a Downward or Descending form.

Geometry 2F-002

Vertical Beam aligned with an Upward Hourglass

Geometry 2F-022 (Tango)

Ascending Diffuser aligned with an Ascending Hourglass


The forms are oriented (mostly) perpendicular to one another. This could be Vertical / Horizontal, Upward / Descending, or Downward / Ascending.

Geometry 2F-008

A Single Beam crossing a Triple Beam

Geometry 2F-020 (Pyramid)

Two Diffusers crossing

Geometry 2F-031 (Windmill)

An Upward Hourglass crossing a Descending Hourglass

Geometry 2F-051

An Upward River crossing a Descending Veins


The forms are aligned opposite one another across an axis.

Across the center axis a mirrored relative orientation could be Upward / Downward or Ascending / Descending.

Across the diagonal axis a mirrored relative orientation could be Upward / Ascending, or Downward / Descending.

Geometry 2F-029 (Single Diamond)

An Upward Hourglass mirroring a Downward Hourglass across the center axis

Geometry 2F-040

An Upward Veins mirroring a Downward Hourglass across the center axis

Geometry 2F-030 (Spear)

An Ascending Hourglass mirroring an Upward Hourglass across the diagonal axis

Geometry 2F-050

A Downward River mirroring a Descending Veins across the diagonal axis

Windmills, Diamonds, and Spears

You may have noticed above that the examples showing only Hourglasses result in the Windmill, Diamond, and Spear named geometries. The fact is that you can create these  relative orientations with any of the four-orientation forms (Hourglasses, Rivers, and Veins).

So you could look at geometry 2F-051 above and say that the River and Veins are in a Windmill orientation. Or 2F-040 has an Hourglass and a Veins in a Diamond orientation. Likewise, 2F-050 has a River and Veins in a Spear orientation.

In fact, all four-orientation forms will always be oriented to one another in one of these three ways.