GDP-DA

Dimitri Jeannottat

Dimitri
Jeannottat

Interviewed by

Demian Conrad
and
Rob van Leijsen

<Dimitri Jeannottat>11 is a graphic designer who lives and works between Switzerland and The Netherlands. Since 2013, he has been collaborating closely with the Amsterdam-based Studio Joost Grootens (SJG), a design office specializing in editorial projects, data visualization, and cartography. In 2019, Dimitri Jeannottat set up a second SJG office in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Since 2014, he has been teaching graphic design at the École d’Arts Appliqués (EAA), La Chaux-de-Fonds. Together with Joost Grootens, they have held workshops for institutions such as the École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL), Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK), and Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE). His book designs have earned awards in competitions such as Best Dutch Book Designs, Die Schönsten Deutschen Bücher, Best Book Design From All Over the World and The Most Beautiful Swiss Books.

<GG>11 Who is
<Dimitri Jeannottat>
?

Before I get on with the review I want to give Dimitri Jeanotte a few words. His name will doubtless not be unknown to anyone who has been following the Eurostar and other Belgian racing, although he was not an immediate success, and is now a little known figure. Jeanotte was the son of a schoolmaster, who had moved to Antwerp on the death of his former master. His father was the son of the former Belgian postmaster, and had moved to Antwerp from Leuven. His mother was the daughter of a Belgian industrialist called Jacques-Jean Vogelein. The Vogeleins were an Antwerp-based bourgeois family who moved the business to Charleroi when that area of Belgium was annexed after the First World War, and they were to become closely allied to the French Fédération Française des Automobile Clubes de l’Hexagone. That family name is the source of the Vogelein-Marqueurs-Jeanotes race team in which Jeanotte and one of the main characters of this story competed, and I intend a post on this side of Jeanottes’ career some day. Anyway, Jeanotte’s father was a schoolmaster, so it can be assumed that he was intelligent, and that probably played a big part in making him a professional bike racer. But as I’ve said, he was not famous for his speed at the end of his career. Jeanotte’s racing career began in 1930, and was quite unremarkable at a first glance. He was one of the early Belgian cyclists to enter a professional Grand Prix, but did not make it into the points. He entered the prestigious Le Classique des Alpes and made it to the finish, but no further. He was a member of the famous team of Peugeot-Pomone, which was, at the time, the only Belgian team that was allowed entries into the Tour de France. Jeanotte won his first stage in 1934, and won the Belgian National Championship in 1935 and 1936, finishing second in 1937 and third in 1938 behind Leducq and Desgrange. These were small victories but by no means bad results, and certainly nothing to go in search of on a tour-racing career. They are also of interest as they demonstrate that he was not just a sprinter, as is sometimes claimed, but a talented all-round rider.

D.C.Good morning, Dimitri. Thank you so much for participating in our research project Post-Digital Graphic Design. Let’s start by asking you to explain the project you did for the Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival (LUFF). Tell us the story behind this project.

D.J.Well, Tiphaine Allemann and I were hired to do that assignment for three years running. Tiphaine is an illustrator and artist and I am a graphic designer: the commissioners decided to work with very different profiles to see what would come of such a collaboration. The first year, we began by precisely following their guidelines. This resulted in a project that we liked, but the end result was not very adventurous, rather classic even. For the second year, we thought we should bring something more to the table and we decided to play with the concept that LUFF is all about discovering new things… they don’t invite big names, the idea is to provide a means of exploring lesser known talent.

D.J.We had a mutual friend, Pierre Charmillot, who had trained as a graphic designer at ERACOM years ago. Afterwards, he went in another direction and became a software engineer, programming, developing software and coding. We thought this might be an interesting way to lend an extra dimension to the project, and focus on the process of the design rather than the end result, even relinquishing a bit of control in terms of the end result. So that’s what we did.

D.J.Ultimately, we decided to use digital printing instead of a nice silkscreened poster. The end result was a bit less beautiful, but it opened the door to multiple visuals without increasing the budget. We felt that, in the case of this project, that was more important than having a high-end, perfect silkscreen poster on the streets. So, for the first time in 2018, we used that process: we ended up with ten different posters on the street, as well as lots of other printed material, along with digital output. [In 2019], for our third festival, we decided to push that idea a bit further. We used the same software as a starting point, but then tweaked it slightly, in terms of intent and method of use. We also decided that all the posters should be unique—I think we had something like 200 posters printed, all different and numbered. We thought this was a nice way of using the technology behind it, as well as a way of reflecting the individualistic aspect of the festival, which is a very different experience for everyone. We are not all interested in the same things and each of us has our own perceptions. It’s all quite adventurous, even haphazard if you think about it. You can end up seeing things you never expected. For us, it was a good mix between how we developed the project and what the results actually conveyed about the festival itself.

PDGD-ITW-DimitriJeanottat, Image 2
Poster design, Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival (LUFF), Dimitri Jeannottat, 2018.

D.C.Dimitri, could you dive a little bit more into the visuals, and also how the mechanics of this coding, i. e. the creative coding, was designed and how that process developed over the course of the project?

D.J.Our starting point was to have a very simple tool that could take pictures in a folder and just place them in a defined format, then cut and combine them in random ways. That really was our point of departure. Little by little, we added layers to the functionalities and increased what we could do with them. We did a lot of testing. I have several folders filled with hundreds and hundreds of exports over the two years we did it. I don’t even know how many thousands of images we have, because they are generated in a second. Consequently, the biggest part of our job was to focus on playing with it and to see what works and what doesn’t. To return to the basic concept, I collaborated with Tiphaine, who worked exclusively in an analog mode. Our intent was to create a triad between Tiphaine, myself, and a sort of external digital treatment, in essence to confront her analog, artisanal, handmade approach with a digital tool that would use these images in a an extremely clinical way. We were looking to highlight this contrast. My job was more about setting up the parameters for the software with Pierre, choosing what worked and what didn’t, and so on. I think that, when we started out, each of us was really entrenched in our own areas, but gradually, we were all on an equal footing, in the sense that we each had our own part to contribute to every aspect of it. So, yes, it sort of evolved over time. As I said before, we slowly added functionalities. In the beginning, we just picked out random images in different folders, cutting and pasting them. Then, little by little, we were able to add details, such as the way in which we organized the folders. We had one folder that only had typography, one that only had textures, one with a variety of images provided by Tiphaine. Then we began experimenting with them, mixing them for example with digital image patterns, or simple shapes, like rectangles and circles.

D.J.In 2018, the first year, we really focused fully on the drawings, illustrations and collages made by Tiphaine. Her work really informed the end result. The year after that, we used her input in a very different way. We took a specific type of illustration that she did, that consisted of sorts of black shapes with almost no gradients or texture, something really simple. Actually you don’t sense the software as much. The idea was for her to create a few basic illustrations and then we would use it to generate tons of other ones. You no longer know if you’re looking at the original one or one generated by the software. The previous year, the concept was different—we really wanted one to be aware of the difference, so we used a more impersonal treatment that distinguished the software in juxtaposition with her illustrations. In both cases, we used the same tools, just in very different ways. Apart from cutting and pasting, we created a few effects that we sometimes used. It’s a very simple interface you can just turn on or off, to select an effect or treatment, or whether to use a folder or not. Depending on our input, we could make the grid behave differently. Whether you used a mathematical grid—i. e. dividing the width by five, or a random one, or using higher or lower numbers—a variation of any of these parameters can yield extremely different results.

D.J.Actually, what I liked most about the project was all the things we never showed. There were tons of images that we hope to compile in a book or something one of these days, when we have a bit of time—just for us of course. They might not seem so relevant in that respect, but, I think that otherwise, they would just disappear, buried somewhere in our computers. I think we should compile them some day and see what can be done with them since we only used an extremely small proportion of the visuals we actually created for the festival.

PDGD-ITW-DimitriJeanottat, Image 2
Detail of process used to generate visuals, Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival (LUFF), Dimitri Jeannottat, 2019.

D.J.At this point in the process, it’s not random anymore. You have to make decisions. You are confronted with tons of options: there are many directions you can take but you need to maintain consistency and a common language of communication: if that varies too much from poster to poster, you no longer get the message across. Consequently, we had to make decisive choices, and leave many elements by the wayside. As I said in the beginning, the process was far more important than the end result. So there are the selections we made that you could see on the streets, but we also had the option of going in quite a different direction: seeing it as a classic graphic design commission where it is necessary to fall in with the client’s wishes and be consistent.

D.C.Could you tell us a bit more about the technical aspect, provide some details? How did your experience over the three years that you worked on this shape the tools you developed?

D.J.Pierre worked with Processing . If I remember correctly, in the beginning, he was working with another tool. Then he switched to Processing for technical reasons that I can’t really explain. I can’t tell you too much about the detailed technical aspects. We basically did tons of testing and sending emails back and forth. We spent days sitting in front of the screen and fooling around with the software in order to gain an understanding of what would work and what would not. It slowly evolved along those lines. As for the coding itself, I can’t really go into detail, since it’s not something of which I have much of a grasp myself. Pierre just had a good understanding of what I wanted to create right from the start. Even his first draft worked quite well, and came very close to something I could imagine using. Slowly we refined it, adding more functionalities, and gradually, we also learned how to use the tool. There is one filter that we used a lot that he developed himself: it’s basically for moving pixels around, copying them from one part of the image and pasting them somewhere else. You can vary frequencies, rhythms, and stuff like that. We used this a lot for the 2018 posters.

R.v.L.Did the three of you do the selection process together?

D.J.In part, yes. We were often together while we were experimenting with it, and then we would generally agree on which settings worked the best. Then I would receive folders with tons of generated images using those preselected settings. At that point, I was basically making the next series of selections on my own. When I was done, I would again show them what I had come up with and we would decide together what would be sent to the client. In that sense, it was a bit of a strange assignment for me, in terms of graphic design, since most of my work was selecting and editing images. Of course it’s something I do for other projects, but not generally to that extent. Once you choose your images, you are basically done, at least in terms of posters. Later on, there are things that need extra work, but the poster is basically the main image.

D.J.So, yes, it was quite interesting to approach something in such a different way, not spending hours diving into the details of a poster you were doing completely by hand, thoughtfully deciding upon each detail. This process was very different. You spend way more time beforehand, but, once you have completed that phase, you can have your 200 posters basically done in one afternoon.

D.J.It brings to mind another project that was extremely different. Several years ago, I worked with Joost Grootens on the main dictionary of the Dutch language. Subsequently, we also did pocket editions in different languages. Since it was the major dictionary of the Dutch language, it had been under way for years before I was even involved in the project, which was ongoing when I joined the studio, however I did the pocket versions on my own. We spent weeks on basically two pages of text that included all the possible cases, and that was it. Then they would generate it automatically based on the cases you had envisioned beforehand—it literally comes to something like four pages. However, these four pages created a template that enabled them to generate nine volumes of pocket edition dictionaries, so it was also a very fascinating approach. I’m generally used to going page by page and diving into details for each textbook. Then at some point, you hand it off to another person who continues the project and cross your fingers and hope you will be happy with the end result. This sort of coding, with this type of complex content, really works extremely well, and, while it had been a new way of working for me, it’s actually been around for quite a while.

D.C.We would like to know how the process of using algorithm s and scripts affects your own work, your own way of shaping the design?

D.J.I think in the case of the dictionaries, for example, you cannot deal with exceptions if the content is generated. You have to set the rules beforehand, unlike what you can potentially do in a book you design page by page. In the latter case, you can say, “Ok, this is the principle, but in a few places I will deviate from that and do things slightly differently.” I think the fact that it’s generated forces you to be extremely clear and maybe a bit more simple in your choices. You need to find solutions that fit anything that could happen. That’s definitely not the case if I do a book page by page, where it’s actually nice to bring exceptions into play, to deviate from the rules or principles that you set.

PDGD-ITW-DimitriJeanottat, Image 2
Van Dale Dictionary, Studio Joost Grootens and Dimitri Jeannottat, 2018.

D.J.For example, I am teaching one day a week at La Chaux-de-Fonds, and I have a fellow teacher there, Thibaud Tissot, the founder of Onlab in Geneva. During the last few years, we have introduced a bit of data visualization, on a very basic level, but we have a few days dedicated to that with the second-year students. We show them a few tools for working with data, whatever it is. We use online tools we know; for example, we often use a website called Rawgraphs because it’s quite accessible, does not require coding knowledge, and you get good results really quickly. In the few years since we began teaching that course, we have observed that the ones who use this type of tool end up with very similar solutions, whereas the ones who decide to do things differently, say by hand, generally try to provide a different take on the visualization of their data that fits the project.

D.J.This also shows that these digital tools that generate or visualize content can also be a trap in a way, because you can end up with a solution that’s very similar to what your neighbor did. I do think that part of our task is to be careful of that. So, case in point, with Joost in Amsterdam, although it takes a lot of time, we do things the old school way, with Illustrator and by hand. We also try to avoid these kinds of tools as much as possible, because they also lead you to somewhat generic solutions that do not vary much from many, many others.

D.J.I think it’s great for students to try them, to see how they work, and to test them within the parameters of a school project, but, in the end, it’s not something that can take you very far.

R.v.L.When you set up a coding program, do you notice that you have to do a lot of post-production? In what manner can the tool be perfected?

D.J.I think our idea, or at least my idea of what I wanted to do with it, also changed little by little as I saw the new steps. It’s very difficult to then look back and remember exactly what you wanted at the start, and compare it to what you’ve got at the end. As I said before, we took a lot of small steps improving the tool, but also learning to use it. I think in the end the result was definitely different from what I had in mind, but probably also better. I think that is possibly not even related to that software. I think it might happen as well with a book that I do in a very traditional way with InDesign , deciding how each page will work. Finally, it’s also different from what I had in mind initially, but hopefully also better. So perhaps this reflection is not particularly related to the other approach…

R.v.L.In conclusion, would you say these processes are comparable?

D.J.Yes, I think so. It’s certainly interesting to see what’s possible and perhaps I will have some different projects in the future where I might use that approach, but I think it was particularly fitting for LUFF, and I don’t think that, if I were commissioned for a poster for a different type of festival or institution, I would try to use this kind of approach again, unless it made sense. In my view, it’s great when it is really supporting the concept. If not, then it can also be a bit gimmicky. For example, on Instagram you can sometimes be a bit overwhelmed by all the moving typography that doesn’t make sense. It’s just a question of visual pleasure, and I can be enthusiastic about things that are purely about visual pleasure, it doesn’t always need to be conceptual or meaningful. Of course, as an audience, I can enjoy it. What we have begun to see in the last few years is sometimes very visually pleasant.

D.C.We were also interested in your opinion about how this way of working is going to evolve in the future, economically?

D.J.I think that, in the case of LUFF, we spent way too much time developing it. We decided not to count working hours and just develop this tool because we thought it was a great way to proceed; the festival had a fixed package price for its advertising.

D.J.The first year, we used a more traditional approach to the design of the poster and all the things that went with it. I think I worked a very decent amount of hours. However, the two years after that, it was completely different. We kind of accepted that the time would not be counted.

D.J.If the brief was to develop a software they could use for the next five years to generate all kinds of things, maybe, the project is really to develop that. At that point, it’s not just a tool for communication anymore, it’s actually the product you’re selling.

D.C.How do you think in the future this way of working is going to impact our work? How do you think this new creative coding technology is going to affect our trade?

D.J.I’m not really worried about what it will become. I think it would most likely make our life increasingly easier. I mean, in terms of tools, I remember my software when I was a student, compared to now, it’s just improved. I imagine that some aspects of design will be replaced in part by automated processes. On the other hand, I think as long as there is no standardization, you will always need someone backing it up, making the decisions and sifting out what’s specific to this or that project or context. I can imagine that bigger companies, or companies that are really into template-based production, will need less people at some point since it’s faster and because certain things can be done differently once they are automated.

D.J.Still, I think as soon as you do something a bit more ambitious, like a book or a bit of advertising for something like LUFF or whatever it is, then you need an idea behind it. You really cannot replace the decision-making process. I am not scared or even cynical about it. I think it’s actually quite exciting to see what you can do.

D.J.In a way, I’m a bit jealous of my twenty-year-old students who are starting to work in the field, with all this at the ready. I guess we cannot even imagine what will be possible afterwards, it’s more exciting and fascinating than scary. I think the challenge is just to understand it, digest it, and appreciate what you want and can do with it.

D.C.Do you see a creative coding community in the European Union? Is it just a few disparate individuals, in different cities?

D.J.Actually, when it comes to graphic design, it is closely related to Instagram. It became the common language to have things moving instead of static. I don’t see it as a takeover, where it will be the standard and everything has to be like that. I’m not convinced, for example, by the moving poster trend, where you need an app to check the poster. I think it’s a nice and sometimes entertaining addition, but that doesn’t make a poster. I remember, when it came out a few years ago, that a lot of people were seeing it as the new Thing, and if a poster didn’t move, then it wasn’t complete or something, but I really don’t agree with that. I don’t think people will ever check posters on the street with their phones. Perhaps it does work for big screens in a station. It’s fascinating because it’s new. Then you digest it and then it becomes just one more option among all the others, but it’s not really something that will become the standard.

R.v.L.Do you see a more general creative coding landscape in Switzerland, or even in Europe, besides kinetic type?

D.J.I’ve seen a few graphic design projects recently, but I couldn’t list that many, actually. In Lausanne, just a few weeks after LUFF, the posters for Les Urbaines were in the streets. That was also quite a terrific project where the approach was related to creative coding. Otherwise, yeah, it’s there, but generally for a limited audience, or within a strictly artistic context, free of the constraints of visual communication. This is an entire topic in itself. Specifically, as far as graphic design is concerned, you see something occasionally, but I wouldn’t say it was all over the place. Also, it’s not so easy to implement if you don’t want to use standard tools. If you really want to do it from scratch, it’s quite time-consuming. Also there are not that many clients and projects that are ideal for it.

R.v.L.To finish up this interview, if you had to give a definition of creative coding in one or two sentences, what would it be?

D.J.I think for us it was basically the creation of our own tools. I think that’s what we had the chance to show at the Designing Tools exhibition at the last Weltformat Festival, amongst other very interesting projects, all with quite different approaches. I think that is a perfect illustration of what we wanted to do, namely to create our own tool.

Glossary

ActionScript

ActionScript was an object-oriented programming language originally developed by Macromedia Inc. (later acquired by Adobe Systems). It is influenced by HyperTalk, the scripting language for HyperCard. ActionScript was initially designed for controlling simple 2D vector animations made in Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash). Initially focused on animation, early versions of Flash content offered few interactivity features and thus had very limited scripting capability. Later versions added functionality, allowing for the creation of web-based games and rich web applications with streaming media (such as video and audio). Today, ActionScript is suitable for desktop and mobile development through Adobe Air, and can be used in some database applications, as well as in basic robotics, such as the Make Controller Kit.

Adobe

Adobe Inc., originally called Adobe Systems Incorporated, is an American multinational computer software company. Incorporated in Delaware and head-quartered in San Jose, California, it has historically specialized in software for the creation and publication of a wide range of content, including graphics, photography, illustration, animation, multimedia/video, motion pictures and print. Adobe was founded in December 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke. Flagship products include: Photoshop image editing software, Adobe Illustrator, a vector-based illustration software, Adobe Acrobat Reader and the Portable Document Format (PDF), along with a range of tools primarily for audiovisual content creation, editing and publishing.

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application developed by Adobe Inc. and used in the post-production process of filmmaking, animation, video games and television production. Among other things, After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation. It also functions as a very basic non-linear editor, audio editor, and media transcoder.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor and design program developed and marketed by Adobe Inc. Originally designed for the Apple Macintosh, development of Adobe Illustrator began in 1985.

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing and page layout designing software application produced by Adobe Inc. Graphic designers and production artists are the principal users, creating and laying out periodical publications, posters, and print media. It also supports export to EPUB and SWF formats to create e-books and digital publications, including digital magazines, and content suitable for consumption on tablet computers. In addition, InDesign supports XML, style sheets, and other coding markup, making it suitable for exporting content for use in digital and online formats.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics editor developed and published by Adobe Inc. It was originally created in 1988 by Thomas and John Knoll. Since then, the software has become the industry standard not only in raster graphics editing, but in digital art as a whole. Photoshop can edit and compose raster images in multiple layers and supports masks, alpha compositing and several color models. Photoshop uses its own PSD and PSB file formats to support these features.

Adobe Shockwave

Adobe Shockwave (formerly Macromedia Shockwave) is a discontinued multimedia platform for building interactive multimedia applications and video games. Developers originate content using Adobe Director and publish it on the Internet. Such content could be viewed in a web browser on any computer with the Shockwave Player plug-in installed. MacroMind originated the technology; Macromedia acquired MacroMind and developed it further, releasing Shockwave Player in 1995. Adobe then acquired Shockwave with Macromedia in 2005. Shockwave supports raster graphics, basic vector graphics, 3D graphics, audio, and an embedded scripting language called Lingo.

Algorithm

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is a finite sequence of well-defined, computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of specific problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are used as specifications for performing calculations, data processing, automated reasoning, and other tasks. Starting from an initial state and initial input, the algorithm’s instructions describe a computation that, when executed, proceeds through a finite number of well-defined successive states, eventually producing “output” and terminating at a final ending state. Algorithms are essential to the way computers process data. Many computer programs contain algorithms that detail the specific instructions a computer should perform—in a specific order—to carry out a specified task.

Apple

Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to develop and sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. It was incorporated by Jobs and Wozniak as Apple Computer, Inc. in 1977, and sales of its computers, including the Apple II, grew quickly. They went public in 1980 to instant financial success. Over the next few years, Apple shipped new computers featuring innovative graphical user interfaces, such as the original Macintosh.

Application Programming Interface (API)

An API is a set of defined rules that explain how computers or applications communicate with one another. APIs sit between an application and the web server, acting as an intermediary layer that processes data transfer between systems.

Arduino

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs—light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message—and turn it into an output: activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board. To do so you use the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring), and the Arduino Software (IDE), based on Processing. All Arduino boards are completely open-source, empowering users to build them independently and eventually adapt them to their particular needs. The software, too, is open-source, and it is growing through the contributions of users worldwide.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals. Leading AI textbooks define the field as the study of “intelligent agents”: any system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of achieving its goals. Some popular accounts use the term artificial intelligence to describe machines that mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as learning and problem solving. AI applications include advanced Web search engines, recommendation systems (used by YouTube, Amazon and Netflix), understanding human speech (such as Siri or Alexa), self-driving cars (e.g. Tesla), and competing at the highest level in strategic game systems (such as chess and Go).

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is computer-generated content overlaid on a real world environment. AR hardware comes in many forms, including devices that you can carry and devices you wear, such as headsets, and glasses. Common applications of AR technology include video games, television, and personal navigation.

BASIC

(Beginners’ All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. The original version was designed by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz and released at Dartmouth College in 1964. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all computer use required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn.

basil.js

basil.js is a simplified library aimed at designers. It brings scripting and automation into layout and makes computational and generative design possible from within InDesign. Additionally it also includes workflow improvements for data imports from various sources, indexing and complex document management.

C++

C++ is a general-purpose programming language created by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1982 as an extension of the C programming language, or “C with Classes.” The language has expanded significantly over time, and modern C++ now has object-oriented, generic, and functional features in addition to facilities for low-level memory manipulation. It is almost always implemented as a compiled language, and many vendors provide C++ compilers, including the Free Software Foundation, LLVM, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, and IBM, so it is available on many platforms. C++ was designed with an orientation toward system programming and embedded, resource-constrained software and large systems, with performance, efficiency, and flexibility of use as its design highlights.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style-sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language such as HTML. CSS is a cornerstone technology of the World Wide Web, alongside HTML and JavaScript. CSS is designed to enable the separation of presentation and content, including layout, colors, and fonts. The term cascading derives from the specified priority scheme to determine which style rule applies if more than one rule matches a particular element. This cascading priority scheme is predictable.

Commodore C64

The Commodore C64 was a flagship personal computer product of the Commodore company, released in 1982. It was largely recognized as the highest-selling personal computer model of all time, with between 10 and 17 million units sold (according to available estimates). The Commodore C64 was an 8-bit home computer with 64 kB of RAM. It ran on a Commodore BASIC operating system and had a VIC-II graphics card, an external 170 K floppy drive, ports for two joysticks, and a cartridge port. In its time, the Commodore C64 stood out from its competitors in terms of both sound and graphics, with multicolored sprites and three-channel sound that provided what was, for that era, cutting-edge technology. The ability to play Commodore games on the system was only part of the appeal, with a variety of business uses also built into the early computing system.

Commodore VC-20

The Commodore VIC-20 / or VC-20 (known as the VC-20 in Germany and the VIC-1001 in Japan) is an 8-bit home computer that was sold by Commodore Business Machines. The VIC-20 was announced in 1980, roughly three years after Commodore’s first personal computer, the PET. The VIC-20 was the first computer of any description to sell one million units.

Database

A database is an organized collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system. A database is usually controlled by a database management system (DBMS). Together, the data and the DBMS, along with the applications that are associated with them, are referred to as a database system, often shortened to just database. Data within the most common types of databases in operation today is typically modeled in rows and columns in a series of tables to make processing and data querying efficient. The data can then be easily accessed, managed, modified, updated, controlled, and organized. Most databases use structured query language (SQL) for writing and querying data.

DrawBot

DrawBot is a powerful, free application for MacOSX that invites you to write simple Python scripts to generate two-dimensional graphics. The built-in graphics primitives support rectangles, ovals, (Bézier) paths, polygons, text objects and transparency. DrawBot is an ideal tool for teaching the basics of programming. Students get colorful graphic treats while becoming familiar with variables, conditional statements, functions, etc. Results can be saved in a selection of different file formats, including high resolution, scaleable PDF, SVG, movie, PNG, JPEG and TIFF. DrawBot is written in Python. The DrawBot project started in 2003 as a program named DesignRobots, written for a Python workshop at the TypoTechnica conference. Since then the application evolved into a Cocoa application with a powerful API and image export functionality. It has proven itself as a key part of the curriculum at the Royal Academy in The Hague, and is developed by Just van Rossum, Erik van Blokland and Frederik Berlaen.

Dual Licensing

Using dual licensing, licensors can distribute software to licensees under a proprietary model as well as an open-source model, allowing the licensor to simultaneously leverage the advantages of both types of licenses.

EPUB

EPUB is an e-book file format that uses the “.epub” file extension. The term is short for electronic publication and is supported by many e-readers, and compatible software is available for most smartphones, tablets, and computers. The EPUB format is implemented as an archive file consisting of XHTML files carrying the content, along with images and other supporting files. EPUB is the most widely supported vendor-independent XML-based e-book format. EPUB is a technical standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum and supported by almost all hardware readers.

e-Reader

An e-reader, also called an e-book reader or e-book device, is a mobile electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital e-books and periodicals. Any device that can display text on a screen may act as an e-reader; however, specialized e-reader devices may optimize portability, readability, and battery life for this purpose. Their main advantages over printed books are portability. An e-reader is capable of holding thousands of books while weighing less than one book. Many e-readers use the Internet through Wi-Fi and the built-in software can provide a link to a digital library or an e-book retailer, allowing the user to buy, borrow, and receive digital e-books.

Flash

Adobe Flash is a multimedia software platform used for production of animations, rich web applications, desktop applications, mobile apps, mobile games, and embedded web browser video players. Flash displays text, vector graphics, and raster graphics to provide animations, video games, and applications. It allowed streaming of audio and video, and can capture mouse, keyboard, microphone, and camera input. Flash was initially used to create fully interactive websites, but this approach was phased out with the introduction of HTML5. Instead, Flash found a niche as the dominant platform for online multimedia content, particularly for browser games. Due to numerous security flaws, the use of Flash declined as Adobe transitioned to the Adobe Air platform. The Flash Player was deprecated in 2017 and officially discontinued at the end of 2020.

Fontographer

Fontographer, developed by James R. Von Ehr for the Mac and released in January 1986, was the first commercially available Bézier curve editing software for a personal computer. High quality fonts in PostScript format could be developed for a fraction of the cost of other existing methods, leading to the democratization of type design. For the first time, numerous self-taught type designers without substantial capital investment could produce fonts for professional use. Fontographer 2.0 was released eight months later, in the fall of 1986. In 1989, Fontographer 3.0 was released, featuring an auto-trace tool and automatic generation of hints for PostScript printer fonts.

For Loop

In computer science, a for-loop (or simply for loop) is a control flow statement for specifying iteration, which allows code to be executed repeatedly. A for-loop has two parts: a header specifying the iteration, and a body which is executed once per iteration. The header often declares an explicit loop counter or loop variable, which allows the body to know which iteration is being executed. For-loops are typically used when the number of iterations is known before entering the loop. For-loops can be thought of as a shorthand for while-loops, which increment and test a loop variable.

Fortran

Fortran is a general-purpose, compiled imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. It was originally developed by John Backus and IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, and subsequently came to dominate scientific computing. It has been in use for over six decades in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, geophysics, computational physics, crystallography and computational chemistry.

Generative Adversarial Network (GAN)

A generative adversarial network is a class of machine learning frameworks. Two neural networks contest with each other in a game (in the form of a zero-sum game, where one agent’s gain is another agent’s loss). Given a training set, this technique learns to generate new data with the same statistics as the training set. For example, a GAN trained on photographs can generate new photographs that look at least superficially authentic to human observers, having many realistic characteristics.

Git

Git is a software that tracks changes in any set of files. It is generally used for coordinating work among programmers who are collaboratively developing source code during software development. Its goals include speed, data integrity, and support for distributed, non-linear workflows (thousands of parallel branches running on different systems). Git was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005 for development of the Linux kernel, with other kernel developers contributing to its initial development. Since 2005, Junio Hamano has been the core maintainer. As with most other distributed version control systems, and unlike most client-server systems, every Git directory on every computer is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full version-tracking abilities, independent of network access or a central server. Git is free and open-source software distributed under GNU General Public License Version 2.

GitHub

GitHub, Inc. is a provider of Internet hosting for software development and version control using Git. It offers the distributed version control and source code management (SCM) functionality of Git, plus its own features. It provides access control and several collaboration features such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, continuous integration and wikis for every project. Headquartered in California, it has been a subsidiary of Microsoft since 2018. GitHub offers its basic services free of charge. Its more advanced professional and enterprise services are commercial. Free GitHub accounts are commonly used to host open-source projects.

GitLab

GitLab is a web-based DevOps lifecycle tool that provides a Git repository manager providing wiki, issue-tracking and continuous integration and deployment pipeline features, using an open-source license, developed by GitLab Inc. The open source software project was created by Ukrainian developers Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov. GitLab follows an open-core development model where the core functionality is released under an open-source (MIT) license while the additional functionality is under a proprietary license.

Glyphs

Glyphs is a Mac font editor that puts you in control, enabling you to quickly draw high-precision vectors, efficiently reuse shapes, and easily manage any number of letters, figures and symbols. Glyphs is a project of type designers and software developers Georg Seifert and Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer.

Google

Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the big four technology companies along with Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. Google was founded in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California.

Google Docs

Google Docs is an online word processor included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite offered by Google. Google Docs is accessible via an Internet browser as a web-based application and is also available as a mobile app on Android and iOS and as a desktop application on Google’s Chrome OS. Google Docs allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating with other users in real-time. Edits are tracked by user with a revision history presenting changes. An editor’s position is highlighted with an editor-specific color and cursor and a permissions system regulates what users can do.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite offered by Google. The app allows users to create and edit files online while collaborating with other users in real-time. Edits are tracked by user with a revision history presenting changes.

HTML

HyperText Markup Language, better known as HTML, is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. It can be supported by technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and scripting languages such as JavaScript. Web browsers receive HTML documents from a web server or from local storage and render the documents into multimedia web pages. HTML describes the structure of a web page semantically and originally included cues for the appearance of the document. HTML can embed programs written in a scripting language such as JavaScript, which affects the behavior and content of web pages. Inclusion of CSS defines the look and layout of content. In 1980, physicist Tim Berners-Lee, a contractor at CERN, proposed and prototyped ENQUIRE, a system for CERN researchers to use and share documents. In 1989, Berners-Lee wrote a memo proposing an Internet-based hypertext system. Berners-Lee specified HTML and wrote the browser and server software in late 1990.

HyperCard

HyperCard is a software application and development kit for Apple Macintosh and Apple IIGS computers. It is among the first successful hypermedia systems predating the World Wide Web. HyperCard combines a flat-file database with a graphical, flexible, user-modifiable interface. HyperCard includes a built-in programming language called HyperTalk for manipulating data and the user interface. HyperCard is based on the concept of a “stack” of virtual “cards”. Each card contains a set of interactive objects, including text fields, check boxes, buttons, and similar common graphical user interface (GUI) elements. Users browse the stack by navigating from card to card, using built-in navigation features, a powerful search mechanism, or through user-created scripts. HyperCard was originally released in 1987 and was included free with all new Macintosh computers. It was withdrawn from sale in March 2004, having received its final update in 1998 upon the return of Steve Jobs to Apple. HyperCard runs in the Classic environment, but was not ported to Mac OS X.

HyperTalk

HyperTalk is a discontinued highlevel, procedural programming language created in 1987 by Dan Winkler and used in conjunction with Apple Computer’s HyperCard hypermedia program by Bill Atkinson. Because the main target audience of HyperTalk was beginning programmers, HyperTalk programmers were usually called “authors” and the process of writing programs was known as “scripting”. HyperTalk scripts resembled written English and used a logical structure similar to that of the Pascal programming language.

Java

Java is a high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language that is designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is a general-purpose programming language intended to let application developers write once, run anywhere (WORA), meaning that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation. The syntax of Java is similar to C and C++, but has fewer low-level facilities than either of them. The Java runtime provides dynamic capabilities (such as reflection and runtime code modification) that are typically not available in traditional compiled languages. As of 2019, Java was one of the most popular programming languages in use according to GitHub, particularly for client-server web applications, with a reported nine million developers.

JavaScript (JS)

JavaScript is a lightweight, interpreted, object-oriented language with first-class functions, and is best known as a scripting language for Web pages, but it’s used in many non-browser environments as well. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic, and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles. JavaScript runs on the client side of the web, which can be used to design/program how the web pages behave on the occurrence of an event. The basic syntax is intentionally similar to both Java and C++ to reduce the number of new concepts required to learn the language.

Kinect

Kinect is a line of motion-sensing input devices produced by Microsoft and first released in 2010. The technology includes a set of hardware originally developed by PrimeSense, incorporating RGB cameras, infrared projectors and detectors that map depth through either structured light or time of flight calculations, and a microphone array, along with software and artificial intelligence from Microsoft to allow the device to perform real-time gesture recognition, speech recognition and body skeletal detection. This enables Kinect to be used as a hands-free natural user interface device to interact with a computer system.

Kinetic Type

Kinetic typography—the technical name for “moving text” or “motion typography”—is an animation technique mixing motion and text to express ideas using video animation.

LaTeX

LaTeX, pronounced “Lah-tech” or “Lay-tech,” is a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production medium-to-large technical or scientific documents but it can be used for almost any form of publishing. LaTeX is available as free software.

Library (computing)

In computer science, a library is a collection of non-volatile resources used by computer programs, often for software development. These may include configuration data, documentation, help data, message templates, pre-written code and subroutines, classes, values or type specifications. A library is also a collection of implementations of behavior, written in terms of a language, that has a well-defined interface by which the behavior is invoked. Library code is organized in such a way that it can be used by multiple programs that have no connection to each other, while code that is part of a program is organized to be used only within that one program. The value of a library lies in the reuse of standardized program elements. When a program invokes a library, it gains the behavior implemented inside that library without having to implement that behavior itself. Libraries encourage the sharing of code in a modular fashion and ease the distribution of the code.

Lingo

Lingo is a verbose object-oriented scripting language developed by John H. Thompson for use in Adobe Director (formerly Macromedia Director). Lingo is used to develop desktop application software, interactive kiosks, CD-ROMs and Adobe Shockwave content. Lingo is the primary programming language on the Adobe Shockwave platform, which dominated the interactive multimedia product market during the 1990s.

Linux

The Linux kernel is a free and open-source, monolithic, modular, multitasking, Unix-like operating system kernel. It was conceived and created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds for his i386-based PC, and it was soon adopted as the kernel for the GNU operating system, which was created as a free replacement for UNIX. Since then, it has spawned a large number of operating system distributions, commonly also called Linux. Linux is deployed on a wide variety of computing systems, such as embedded devices, mobile devices (including its use in the Android operating system), personal computers, servers, mainframes, and supercomputers.

MIT Media Lab

The MIT Media Lab promotes an interdisciplinary research culture that brings together diverse areas of interest and inquiry. Unique among other laboratories at MIT, the Media Lab comprises both a broad research agenda and a graduate degree program in Media Arts and Sciences. Faculty, students, and researchers work together on hundreds of projects across disciplines as diverse as social robotics, physical and cognitive prostheses, new models and tools for learning, community bioengineering, and models for sustainable cities. Art, science, design, and technology build and play off one another in an environment designed for collaboration and inspiration.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves. The process of learning begins with observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction, in order to look for patterns in data and make better decisions in the future based on the examples that we provide. The primary aim is to allow the computers learn automatically without human intervention or assistance and adjust actions accordingly.

Macintosh

The Macintosh (generally referred to as a Mac since 1998) is a family of personal computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Inc. (originally Apple Computer, Inc.) since January 1984. The original Macintosh is the first successful mass-market all-in-one desktop personal computer to have featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen, and mouse. Apple sold the Macintosh alongside its popular Apple II, Apple IIGS, Apple III, and Apple Lisa families of computers until the other models were discontinued in the 1990s.

Macromedia Director

Adobe Director (formerly Macromedia Director) was a multimedia application authoring platform created by Macromedia and managed by Adobe Systems until its discontinuation in 2017. Director was the primary time-based editor on the Adobe Shockwave platform, which dominated the interactive multimedia product space during the 1990s. Originally designed for creating animation sequences, the addition of a scripting language called Lingo made Director a popular choice for creating CD-ROMs, stand-alone kiosks and internet video game content during the 1990s.

Material Design

Material Design is a design language developed by Google in 2014. Expanding on the “cards” that debuted in Google Now, Material Design uses more grid-based layouts, responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects such as lighting and shadows.

Max/MSP

Max, also known as Max/MSP/Jitter, is a visual programming language for music and multimedia developed and maintained by San Francisco-based software company Cycling ’74. Over its more than thirty-year history, it has been used by composers, performers, software designers, researchers, and artists to create recordings, performances, and installations. The Max program is modular, with most routines existing as shared libraries. An application programming interface (API) allows third-party development of new routines (named external objects). Thus, Max has a large user base of programmers unaffiliated with Cycling ’74 who enhance the software with commercial and non-commercial extensions to the program.

Metafont

Metafont is a description language used to define raster fonts. It is also the name of the interpreter that executes Metafont code, generating the bitmap fonts that can be embedded into PostScript. Metafont was devised by Donald Knuth as a companion to his TeX typesetting system.

Microsoft

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation which produces computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touch-screen personal computers.Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Microsoft Windows.

Node.js

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, back-end JavaScript runtime environment that runs on the V8 engine and executes JavaScript code outside a web browser. Node.js lets developers use JavaScript to write command line tools and for server-side scripting—running scripts server-side to produce dynamic web page content before the page is sent to the user’s web browser. Consequently, Node.js represents a “JavaScript everywhere” paradigm, unifying web-application development around a single programming language, rather than using different languages for server-side and client-side scripts.

Open Source

Open-source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. The term originated in the context of software development to designate a specific approach to creating computer programs. Today, however, the term “open source” designates a broader set of values. Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate the principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development. Open-source licenses affect the way people can use, study, modify, and distribute software. In general, open-source licenses grant computer users permission to use open-source software for any purpose they wish. Some open-source licenses—sometimes referred to as “copyleft” licenses—stipulate that anyone who releases a modified open-source program must also release the source code for that program alongside it. Moreover, some open-source licenses stipulate that anyone who alters and shares a program with others must also share that program’s source code without charging a licensing fee for it.

OpenFrameworks

OpenFrameworks is an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding, designed to assist the creative process by providing a simple and intuitive framework for experimentation. The code is written to be massively cross-compatible. OpenFrameworks supports five operating systems (Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS, Android) and four IDEs (XCode, Code::Blocks, and Visual Studio and Eclipse). OpenFrameworks is distributed under the MIT License. This gives everyone the freedom to use openFrameworks in any context: commercial or non-commercial, public or private, open or closed source. While many openFrameworks users give their work back to the community in a similarly free way, there is no obligation to contribute. OpenFrameworks is actively developed by Zach Lieberman, Theodore Watson, and Arturo Castro, with help from the OpenFrameworks community.

P5.js

P5.js is a JavaScript library for creative coding created by Lauren Lee McCarthy in 2013. Its purpose is to make coding accessible and inclusive for artists, designers, educators and beginners. P5.js is free and open-source. To use the metaphor of a sketch, p5.js has a full set of drawing functionalities. However, one is not limited to a drawing canvas—you can visualize your whole browser page as a sketch pad, including HTML5 objects for text, input, video, webcam, and sound. P5.js is currently led/run?/maintained? by Qianqian Ye and Evelyn Masso.

P5LIVE

p5.js’ collaborative live-coding VJ environment.

PHP

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language geared towards web development. It was created by Danish-Canadian programmer Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page, but it now stands for the recursive initialism PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP code is usually processed on a web server by a PHP interpreter implemented as a module, a daemon or as a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) executable. On a web server, the result of the interpreted and executed PHP code – which may be any type of data, such as generated HTML or binary image data – would form the whole or part of an HTTP response.

PageBot

PageBot® is a scriptable page layout, vector graphics and typography environment that enables designers to create high quality documents in various print-ready and web-based formats. It is available as a Python library with multiplatform support based on Flat as well as a Mac OS X extension that uses DrawBot. The core library, tutorials and basic examples for PageBot are available under the MIT Open-Source license. PageBot is initiated and developed by Buro, Petr van Blokland and Claudia Mens.

Paged.js

Paged.js is a free and open source JavaScript library that paginates content in the browser to create PDF output from any HTML content. This means you can design works for print (e.g. books) using HTML and CSS.

Paper.js

Paper.js is an open-source vector graphics scripting framework that runs on top of the HTML5 Canvas. It offers a clean Scene Graph / Document Object Model and a lot of powerful functionality to create and work with vector graphics and Bézier curves, all neatly wrapped up in a well designed, consistent and clean programming interface. Paper.js is developed by Jürg Lehni & Jonathan Puckey, and distributed under the permissive MIT License.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

Portable Document Format (PDF), is a file format developed by Adobe in 1993 to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems. Based on the PostScript language, each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, vector graphics, raster images and other information needed to display it. PDF files may contain a variety of content besides flat text and graphics, including logical structuring elements, interactive elements such as annotations and form-fields, layers, rich media (including video content), three-dimensional objects, and various other data formats.

PostScript

PostScript is a page description language (PDL) that describes a page’s text and graphical content. It can be used to define the appearance of graphics and text for both screen and print. The language was developed by Adobe in 1984 and has since gone through many revisions and updates. Before PostScript was introduced, publishing systems relied on proprietary typesetting systems, which often caused incompatibilities between computers and printing systems. Adobe PostScript makes it possible to produce high-quality page content that can include text, images, and line art in a standard format compatible with multiple devices. PostScript (.PS) files will print out in the exact same way from any PostScript compatible printer. They can also be opened using Adobe Acrobat and will look consistently the same on Macintosh and Windows platforms. The evolution of PostScript led to the development of Adobe Acrobat, which creates PDF documents.

ProcessWire

ProcessWire is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) and framework (CMF) written in the PHP programming language. ProcessWire is built around an API with usage and naming conventions similar to the JavaScript framework jQuery. The stated goal behind the API is to provide the level of accessibility and control to pages in a website that jQuery provides to the DOM. Content is managed either via the API or the web-based admin control panel. ProcessWire is largely used for development of websites, web applications, services, content feeds and related applications.

Processing

Processing is a flexible software sketchbook and a language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts. Since 2001, Processing has promoted software literacy within the visual arts and visual literacy within technology. There are tens of thousands of students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists who use Processing for learning and prototyping. Processing was initiated in Spring 2001 by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. At the time, Fry was a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Laboratory and Reas was an Associate Professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (IDII). Processing began as a personal initiative and it was developed over nights and weekends through 2003. MIT indirectly funded Processing through Fry’s graduate stipend and IDII indirectly funded Processing through Reas’s salary. Due to his research agreement with MIT, all code written by Fry during this time is the intellectual property of MIT.

Python

Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Its high-level built-in data structures, combined with dynamic typing and dynamic binding, make it very attractive for Rapid Application Development, as well as for use as a scripting or glue language to connect existing components together. Python’s simple, easy-to-learn syntax emphasizes readability and therefore reduces the cost of program maintenance. Python supports modules and packages, which encourages program modularity and code reuse. The Python interpreter and the extensive standard library are available in source or binary form without charge for all major platforms, and can be freely distributed. Python was conceived in the late 1980s by Guido van Rossum at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands as a successor to the ABC programming language, and it was first released in 1991 as Python 0.9.0. Python 2.0 was released in 2000. It introduced new features, such as list comprehensions and a garbage collection system using reference counting. Python 3.0 was released in 2008 and was a major revision of the language that is not completely backward-compatible.

RAWGraphs

RAWGraphs is an open source data visualization framework built with the goal of making the visual representation of complex data easy for everyone. Primarily conceived as a tool for designers and vis geeks, RAWGraphs aims at providing a missing link between spreadsheet applications (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, OpenRefine) and vector graphics editors (e.g. Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, Sketch). The project, led and maintained by the DensityDesign Research Lab (Politecnico di Milano) was released publicly in 2013.

React

React (also known as React.js or ReactJS) is a free and open-source front-end JavaScript library for building user interfaces or UI components. It is maintained by Facebook and a community of individual developers and companies. React can be used as a base in the development of single-page or mobile applications.

RoboFab

Just van Rossum, Erik van Blokland and Tal Leming developed RoboFab, a Pythonic API to FontLab’s native objects. RoboFab was heavily inspired by RoboFog and their APIs are very similar. A simple toolkit for creating UIs in Python, DialogKit, was also created. All together, this allowed designers to port their old RoboFog scripts to RoboFab. The RoboFab package was distributed freely under an open-source license and worked in both Windows and Mac versions of FontLab. It had a pretty website with very complete documentation and a colorful font object map. RoboFab became popular among font makers and helped them create useful tools to get work done.

RoboFog

RoboFog is a Python-powered version of Fontographer produced by Petr van Blokland in the early 1990s. With Just van Rossum’s help, Van Blokland managed to compile Fontographer with a Python interpreter, and built an API so that the program became scriptable. RoboFog was very successful within its niche market. It included a small toolkit for creating custom UIs in pure Python. Users have a lot of fun with its features, and used it to build tools which were very useful for their workflows.

RoboFont

Written from scratch in Python with scalability in mind, RoboFont is a fully featured font editor with all the tools required for drawing typefaces. It provides full scripting access to objects and interface and a platform for building your own tools and extensions.

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based markup language for describing two-dimensional based vector graphics. It is a text-based, open Web standard for describing images that can be rendered cleanly at any size without loss of quality and is designed specifically to work well with other web standards including CSS, DOM, JavaScript, and SMIL. In essence, SVG is to graphics what HTML is to text. SVG images and their related behaviors are defined in XML text files, which means they can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed. Additionally, this means they can be created and edited with any text editor or with drawing software. SVG has been developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) since 1999.

Scriptographer

Scriptographer is a scripting plug-in for Adobe Illustrator. It enables the user to extend Illustrator’s functionality through the use of the JavaScript language. Scriptographer allows the creation of mouse-controlled drawing tools, effects that modify existing graphics and scripts that create new ones.

Sketchbook

Sketchbook (formerly StudioPaint, Autodesk SketchBook), is a raster graphics software app intended for expressive drawing and concept sketching. The software was first developed by Alias Systems Corporation as StudioPaint, before being acquired by Autodesk and then being spun out into an independent company, Sketchbook, Inc. Originally developed as commercial software, it evolved into a subscription model before eventually being made freeware for personal use.

Turbo Pascal

Turbo Pascal is a dialect of the Pascal programming language which was sold by Borland International during the 1980s and 1990s for use with the MS-DOS and later Microsoft Windows operating systems. A few versions (1.0 and 1.1) were also released for Apple’s System 6 and System 7. It provided an Integrated Development Environment or IDE, which combined editor, program compiler and execution environments for developing, debugging, and compiling Pascal source code.

Turtle Drawing Robot

The concept can be traced back to William Grey Walter’s work in robotics in the 1940s which investigated complex behaviors in simple systems. Turtle robots are generally slow-moving with tight turning radiuses and can trace a design that shows their behavior over time. They make excellent teaching aides because their programmed output can be seen visually.

Type Foundry

A type foundry is a company that designs and distributes typefaces. Before digital type design, type foundries manufactured and sold metal and wood typefaces for hand typesetting, and matrices for line-casting machines like the Linotype and Monotype, for letterpress printers. Today’s digital type foundries distribute typefaces created by type designers, who may either be freelancers, or employed by the foundry. Type foundries may also provide custom type design services for clients.

Unity

Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, first announced and released in June 2005 by Apple as a Mac OS X exclusive game engine. The engine has since been gradually extended to support a variety of desktop, mobile, console and virtual reality platforms. It is particularly popular for iOS and Android mobile game development. The engine can be used to create three-dimensional (3D) and two-dimensional (2D) games, as well as interactive simulations.

User Experience (UX)

User experience (UX) refers to the way a user interacts with and experiences a product, system or service. It includes a person’s perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency.

User Interface (UI)

User interface (UI) design is the design of interfaces for machines and software, such as computers, mobile devices and other electronic devices, with a focus on maximizing usability for the user.

Variable Font

A variable font is a font file that is able to store a continuous range of design variants. An entire typeface (font family) can be stored in such a file, with an infinite number of fonts, styles and widths available to be sampled. The variable font technology originated in Apple’s TrueType GX font variations. The technology was adapted to OpenType as OpenType variable fonts (OTVF) in version 1.8 of the OpenType specification. The technology was announced by Adobe, Apple, Google, and Microsoft in September 2016.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (e.g. video games), education (e.g. medical or military training) and business (e.g. virtual meetings).

Web Open Font Format (WOFF)

The Web Open Font Format is a font format for use in web pages. WOFF files are OpenType or TrueType fonts with format-specific compression applied and additional XML metadata added. The primary goals are to distinguish font files intended for use as web fonts from font files intended for use in desktop applications via local installation, and to reduce web-font latency when fonts are transferred from a server to a client over a network connection. The first draft of WOFF 1 was published in 2009 by Jonathan Kew, Tal Leming, and Erik van Blokland. Following the submission of WOFF to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) by the Mozilla Foundation, Opera Software and Microsoft in April 2010, the W3C commented that it expected WOFF to soon become the “single, interoperable [font] format” supported by all browsers. The W3C published WOFF as a working draft in July 2010. The final draft was published as a W3C Recommendation on 13 December 2012.

Web-to-Print

Web-to-Print, also referred to as Web2Print, W2P or Remote Publishing, does not just have one general definition. Many different processes, systems and software fall under this umbrella term. Web-to-Print combines the traditional way of producing print materials, as well as all other processes that take place online, like the creation and publishing process for example. All the following processes are part of Web-to-Print, from the editing of simple templates, uploading and generating print materials to database publishing.

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Poster design, Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival (LUFF), Dimitri Jeannottat, 2018.
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Poster design, Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival (LUFF), Dimitri Jeannottat, 2019.
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Van Dale Dictionary, Studio Joost Grootens and Dimitri Jeannottat, 2018.

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