Ink Calendar by Oscar Diaz



Spanish designer Oscar Diaz has designed a calendar that uses the capillary action of ink spreading across paper to display the date. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.


Each month, a bottle of coloured ink spreads across a sheet of paper embossed with numbers, colouring them in as it goes.


Ink Calendar will be exhibited at an exhibition called Sueños de un Grifo - Diseño con Alma de Agua that opens at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid today.


See also our story about the Dramprom light by Roger Arquer that appears in the same exhibition.


Here's some info from Diaz:


DESIGNER: Oscar Diaz (
DIMENSIONS: 420 X 595 mm
MATERIALS: Paper and ink.


Project Description

Ink Calendar make use of the timed pace of the ink spreading on the paper to indicate time. The ink is absorbed slowly, and the numbers in the calendar are ‘printed ‘ daily. One a day, they are filled with ink until the end of the month. The calendar enhances the perception of time passing and not only signaling it.  The aim of the project is to address our senses, rather than the logical and conscious brain.


The ink colors are based on a spectrum, which relate to a “color temperature scale”, each month having a color related to our perception of the weather on that month. The colors range from dark blue in December to three shades of green in spring or orange and red in the summer.

Ink Calendar is shown as part of SUEÑOS DE UN GRIFO.
Diseño con alma de agua at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid.

Curated by Hector Serrano ( and Javier Esteban, the exhibition explores  the role that objects may have in our dialogue with water from different points of view.

On view until October 11, 2009, the exhibition has been organized by ddi (Sociedad Estatal para el Desarrollo del Diseño y la Innovación, and Círculo de Bellas Artes ( in Madrid, where is being held.

When: 17 July – 11 October 2009
Where: Sala Juana Mordó, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid (Spain)

Posted on Friday July 17th 2009 at 6:07 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Ha ha ha ha…

    Bodkin you loose sucker. Nice work Oscar.

    Andrea – what century are you living in?
    Do you know what a disaster Corbusier’s Vila Savoy was?

  • unbelievable, i really hope this works accurately, because its too special not to!

  • Wonderful !

  • you know you won once you made them fight

  • Kitsunami


  • laďka

    i dont know what to say, really, its like the most inovative work ive seen lately, congratz

  • I want one! Excellent stuff

  • My son’s first name is Oscar. So every Oscar is for me particular. Oscar Diaz and his calendar are actually … so cute!

  • Richey

    @bodkin and craig

    Your main argument is that it would not be an accurate way of keeping track of time. How would you know this unless you actually tested it; even though Oscar said: “This means that the ink will pass from one cell to the other on a timely manner.” which sounds to me like it has no such problems.

    If you want to be a critic, at least use arguments which have some ground. Anyone could say this is not accurate, but what does their opinion matter if they haven’t seen it for real; it just makes it speculation.

  • Neo

    An advert coping the idea has just been released in Spain.

    ” if you put your attention on following someone you won’t be able to overtake him”

  • dear reader

    I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding about most design projects published on the internet. The majority of them (as in this case) are concepts – nothing more and nothing less. Most people, though, treat them as real products. They criticize them as such or praise them, even wanting to buy them. Some even claim wanting to buy a concept not knowing for sure if it works. In this case that would be quite irresponsible.

    If you buy this calender for 12 months and you realize it doesn't work after one or two weeks, you might try it next month, or even for a third month. After that why make the hassle and use it for the rest of the year? It will just be lying around or hanging on the wall collecting dust.

    My point is that all these published concepts give a false impression about what design is really about. It's only partially about concepts and pretty pictures, mainly its about the challenge of making a real products out of these concepts. I would love to see more real products (which are on the market) and think the media should put more of a focus on that.

  • I went through first three pages of comments. Frankly i think it can work beautyfully, do not want to disregard the design and waste thoughts and comments unnecessarily.

    Moving forward from its functionality I think one more layer of time can be added on it by just simply marking numbers from 1 to 24 on these existing number. The capillary action of ink and color display can also indicate time which adds one more layer of clock on this calender.

  • Kitchen13

    I'd like to see this, except as a very large crazy straw. It would (probably) require electricity, and it would need a function so that it could be set on any day of the month and would fill instantly to the proper time before slowing to the pace of one number a day, but it would be so cool. And it would look really cool on a wall (or window) filled with a coordinating color.

  • Carlos

    So you have an ink that is moist 30 days. How do you manage to keep the integrity of the paper?

  • lydia

    So cute!

  • sophie

    Wow. What a unique calendar. This is nice idea and I love it.