The Romans gave us signum, meaning “a mark denoting something.” Our own signatures arise from the same root, & enjoy both a symbolic & legal power. Not only do marks themselves carry weight, their specific arrangement -- their visual design -- carries more power.

    Our own eyes are designed to sample the world across a broad, peripheral-vision continuum, & then literally focus upon that which has caught our attention. Our brain’s neural architecture assigns more than 40% of its processing power to visual information. The patterns our eyes seek out & recognize are precisely those that span the Cosmos, from subatomic particles to galaxies.

    In excess of 99% of all “matter” is space between matter. How those specks of matter are arranged on the malleable form-follows-function canvas is what creates genetically familiar designs: cloud formations, lake ripples, lightning, cells & tissues, leaf veins, sea shells, animal markings, bird plumage, crops & hair, fingerprints, sand dunes, river tributaries, ocean waves & currents, water droplets, rainbows. And much more. From invisible to cosmic, the best designs are found in Mother Nature. 

Perfect She Is. We’re trying hard to catch up.

    If we define intelligent life as that collection of matter designed to create & recreate amassed memory, then everything from viruses to us are design machines.

    So, yeah, we’re just matter doing what comes naturally. With our own personal energy & style.  ;o)

Our partial portfolio samples:       


contact info:

Cathy Gibbs Thornton at CG Graphics

     graphic design, illustration

     407.347.3050 / 305.378.6050 / 800.506.arts (2787)

Mike “Spark” Thornton at Thornton Communications

     multimedia design, instructional design, writing, research

     407.614.8004 / 800.600.arts (2787)


name: signum

age: older than our senses

birthday: pattern recognition

applications: a-z

focus: order + memory

effect: 4-D navigation

fave unity: attractive themes

fave harmony: functional space

fave balance: Venn diagrams

fave variety: 16.7 million colors

design pensée: “All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.”*

nature’s design principles


motif monopoly


connective appeal


stable, dependable


functional flavor

products & services overview 

• conceptual, research, writing

• print & digital media
• marketing communications
• film & multimedia
• distance learning

graphic design

• corporate image, logos, niche

• brochures, catalogues, all promo
• full marketing suite, brand R&D

literary design

• business communications

• non-fiction, academic
• creative thought/writing

multimedia design

• text-AV-web, interactive

• informational apps
• persuasive opps

film design

• storyboards, synopses, trailers
• cinematography, photography
• editing, post-production

instructional design

• learning outcomes, goals/targets

• assets/resource management
• pre-test, post-test, surveys

bonus goodies (beta/wip)

• designarts blogs
• courses, workshops, webinars
• interdisciplinary showcase
• some sub-atomic to cosmic design perspectives:

  Powers of Ten (1977, 9 min) 

  Cosmic Voyage (1996, 8.5 min 


  sub-atomic patterns, cell patterns,    

  natural patterns, cosmic patterns

* Alexander Pope 1773


Mother Nature already solved it