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Sum of the Parts, by Abigail Solberg

A new system of visualizing the ingredients and preparation of a recipe

January 29, 2013

[This is a guest post by Abigail Solberg*, telling us about her project Sum of the Parts]

“Everybody knows that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. What few people realize is that it’s only through the parts that the whole gets delivered.” -Michael Wolff, Intel Visual Life

The Sum of the Parts recipe project displays the amount of ingredients for a given recipe in a circular set of rings. The project was born one morning when I couldn’t locate the recipe card for my family’s Norwegian Waffles. I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be perfect to have the recipe I use the most hanging on my wall?” Once I realized I could merge my love of information design with my home decorating interests, it all came together nicely.

(image: Abigail Solberg)

Since beginning The Sum of the Parts, I made three series of prints: A Bakers’ Dozen Baked Goods Prints, Nine Coffee Rings and Twelve Mixed Drink Prints—each ingredient with its own color and icon. What I love the most about these prints is that each one tells a complete story. Every teaspoon and tablespoon is represented, but as you step back, the colors for each ingredient give you a sense of the recipe’s result. For example, the orange of the cornmeal ingredient is a beautiful color by itself, but when you stand back and look at the grid as a whole the colors really do look like cornbread.

When you’re reading the grid, each regular-sized segment equals the main measurement that the entire grid is based on. For the Baked Goods Prints, this is one tablespoon. Since there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, there are 16 segments in one ring. This makes reading the number of cups so easy! Once you work your way to the middle of the ring, there are thin segments. These are teaspoons. They are created to be one third the height of the tablespoons because they are one third the amount of a table spoon.

The baking prints can be found online on my Etsy page and upon request, the coffee and alcohol prints are available as well. They can all be seen on my Behance and my Cargo page.


(image: Abigail Solberg)



(image: Abigail Solberg)


(image: Abigail Solberg)


(image: Abigail Solberg)
(image: Abigail Solberg)

*After finishing Art School at Gordon College, in Wenham MA, Abi now works in an in-house design department of a publication company and freelances on the side. She loves hands-on design, and has taken her education into production design for short films. You can find her on Behance.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.