Keep Delete

Duration: 2012

Project Description:

* Example image: Jennifer M Mcknight, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA // Sent on 2/22 from me to my husband, it was the final answer to a text message conversation about whether my son and husband remembered to feed our cats. Otto, my large, long-haired siamese, is always especially sure he has not been fed.

In 2012 Social Spaces designer and researcher Andrea Wilkinson had a summer writing/design residency at the Frans Masereel Centre in Kasterlee, Belgium. The residency centred around a project called Keep Delete in which international designers were encouraged to turn digital messages (messages on the verge of being forgotte, deleted, outdated or even lost) into something tangible; a designed, physical artifact. With origins in a educational project for student graphic designers which centres on the marriage of content and typographic form, the Keep Delete concept is simple: digital messages are linked to specific people or particular moments in our lives and some of these messages should be archived in a physical manner. Perhaps the last message from a friend who passed away, the first message from a grandparent still trying to figure out how to use predictive text, a cryptic love note or simply a well-timed message that was so appreciated at the time; these are the messages of Keep Delete.

In November of 2012 the project culminated in a book, highlighting the transformation of digital text-messages into physical artifacts. Over a hundred designers from around the world submitted their artefacts, designs drawn from either from their own personal repository of messages or from their circle of friends and family. Along with these artefacts (across various types of media from prints on paper, fabric, hand-lettered typography, etc) the book includes essays by designers that look critically at the ability for the graphic medium to archive the personal.

The book Keep Delete is available for purchase through Amazon including Amazon’s global sites such as and Because this is a book that deserves to be shared and read, the book is also available under Creative Commons license from Google Books.

Website: Keep Delete website

Team members from CUO | Social Spaces:
Andrea Wilkinson

Project partners and Funding:
Stad Bilzen
Frans Masereel Centre


Wilkinson, A. (2012). Keep delete: turning messages into keepsakes. [Book] Hasselt, Belgium: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Recent activities:

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