The Math Behind the Art :: Works by Jonathan Puckey


Jonathan Puckey is a graphic designer from Amsterdam, whose experimental style results in artworks that are sometimes unrecognizable as being from the same author. However, his polygonal portraits are most noticeably his, though their style has now been imitated endlessly. He created these portraits using the Delaunay Raster, a graphical process he invented in 2008 with Scriptographer.

mg_puckey2 mg_puckey3 mg_puckey4delaunay-triangulation

The Delaunay Raster contains two main components, the first being the geometry. The math behind the art is called Delaunay triangulation, named after the Russian mathematician and mountain climber Boris Delaunay. Math Munch created the accompanying graphic that most clearly illustrates the concept. Simply explained:

1. A collection of points are connected to form triangles.

2. A circle is drawn around each triangle, intersecting each of its three points.

3. The circles must be empty, with no points inside of them.


The Delaunay Raster’s second component is color averaging, contributed by Jürg Lehni. The Delaunay Raster is used overtop of an image, usually a photograph. When a triangle is created, the color averaging draws from the colors in the image, producing not just one solid color, but a smooth gradient.

Without the foreknowledge of what a feat it was to create this script, these works are impressive on their own. The colors are vibrant and shaded in such way that makes them appear three-dimensional. The eyes in the portraits are particularly engaging, while being frozen and lifeless like sculptures.


In my original post on Minimo Graph, I wrote, “What an incredible thing to see how mathematical, yet not sterile, design can be; how measurement can make way for beauty; and how simple triangles, circles, and squares can be so dynamic.” Puckey’s work is remarkable for portraying exactly that sentiment.

>> See more of Jonathan Puckey’s work at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s