Gabrielle Kroese

Visual artist

The Color Alphabet






In 2021-2022 DeFKa Research will focus on the Havenkwartier in Assen. This area is municipally characterized as a spearhead for housing development and redevelopment with immediate effect. I was invited to participate in a research group of artists and architects to work on various options at the request of DeFKa Research.


I designed a color alphabet for this assignment based on the ICS.

The International Code of Signals (ICS) is an international system of signals and codes for use by ships to transmit important messages about navigational safety and related matters, especially when language problems arise. It includes flags for all letters of the alphabet, plus numerals and a number of replacement pennants.


Using the ICS as a base, it was personalized for the Havenkwartier by assigning its own colors. These colors were determined at random on location. In total, 86 different colors are used throughout the alphabet.


The color alphabet can be applied in many ways, for example in paving, doors are colored according to house number, festivities are dressed up by long lines of flags, in the harbor there is a line of poetry with colored buoys. Every new resident could receive the color alphabet in compact (card) form as a tool and a warm welcome to the Havenkwartier.



I printed a loose leaf limited edition of 10 copies.

For more details about the edition or the color alphabet itself go to printables