Spinning Cursor

we were asked by Icon Magazine to re-invent something familiar. Things were quite hectic at the studio so we decided on the spinning wait cursor which is every designers worst nightmare. It means that your computer has either crashed, or decided to perform some inexplicable task that interrupts your workflow. Accordingly, the little icon is also dubbed the “marble of doom” or the “wheel of death”.

After abandoning a wristwatch, counting fingers and a bomb symbol, Apple introduced the spinning wheel in rainbow colours for its OS X. As misleading as those happy colours are on something so annoying, they do hint that waiting could be a positive thing. Even if it’s not by choice, you can sit back and think about what you are really doing on the computer. Most designers spend far too much time moving things around on screen rather than focusing on the actual idea. The spinning wheel cursor could be seen as an opportunity and an inspirational tool.

With our re-design, the spinning wheel becomes a stream of rotating words. The only rule is that each new word starts with the last letter of the previous one. Other than that, there is no obvious or intended narrative. The words would be randomly generated, similar to a “stream of consciousness”, the literary method pioneered by James Joyce, or to how John Cage composed music – through chance. Our design is intended to inspire, offer suggestions and new starting points that may or may not be relevant to a project. Since we have always been interested in concrete poetry, our spinning word cursor also pays homage to the work of Ferdinand Kriwet, a German artist who created large rotating discs with text and word mantras on them in the 1960s.

Apple, we are waiting for your call. In the meantime, we will be staring at spinning words.

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