Every year IBM earns more patents than any other company. While the innovations are spectacular, the U.S. patent documents themselves are utterly underwhelming. To honor IBM’s 20-year winning streak, we set out to showcase the record in a manner worthy of the achievement, around their timeless rallying cry, THINK.

First we whittled two decades worth of possible IBM inventions down to a shortlist of 20. Then 20 creative teams on five continents began reinterpreting the gobbledygook. Abstract diagrammatic flow-charts became abstract artwork. Pages of wonky legalese were rewritten and translated visually into a form anyone could enjoy. It would take the shape of 20 unique posters, art that could hang on walls forever—and inspire IBMers, and the world to THINK.

The 3 that I worked on were featured in Shots magazine.
The whole set of posters won a Cannes Bronze Lion and
a Bronze from the London International Awards.


Patent No. 7790495. 2010.
Silicon nanophotonics.

It’s computing at the speed of light. By pushing data through a silicon microchip using light instead of electricity, this invention is enabling a new breed of cheaper and less power-hungry supercomputers capable of one quintillion operations per second. That’s a 1, followed by 000,000,000,000,000,000.


Patent no. 2431242, 2012.
Electronic learning synapses.

In fish and in humans, brains learn by trial and error. And now we can add a new species to Darwin’s list: the computer. This algorithm-and-circuit innovation efficiently mimics the way the mind functions, learns and evolves over time. And could help us understand the world in ways we can’t yet begin to comprehend.


Patent No. 8259175. 2012.
Intelligent retail security.

Just because a security camera monitors every checkout lane doesn’t mean that the person watching the footage sees everything. This patent creates an intelligent system that detects shoplifting patterns automatically. So the customer who’s trying to stuff a couple of extra shirts in their bag might as well be waving to the camera.


All posters were turned into gifs and featured on ibmblr.tumblr.com

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 10.25.32 AM
%d bloggers like this: