GDP-DA

Studio Dumbar

Studio
Dumbar

Stan Haanappel, Sander Sturing

Interviewed by

Demian Conrad

<Studio Dumbar>21 (part of Dept) is an international agency with a Dutch heritage, specializing in visual branding and motion. Studio Dumbar attracts talented individuals from around the world. Their portfolio is equally diverse, encompassing work for a variety of clients both large and small, from business and government to cultural and non-profit. Projects range from the visual identity of the Dutch Police, the Adidas Futurenatural identity, the non-profit Alzheimer Nederland, and the Van Gogh Museum identity refresh to initiating and designing Demo, the largest design in motion festival in the world.

Stan Haanappel, senior visual and motion designer at Studio Dumbar, graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy. He is the 2017 winner of the Fontanel Award for Dutch Design Talent. He specializes in new technologies, digital crafts and typography, and unique approaches in design communication. His latest explorations cover wifi allergies, unsecured security cameras, digital amnesia, and the creation of a mobile phone scroll robot.

Sander Sturing has been an interaction designer and creative coder at Studio Dumbar for the last five years. After completing his studies in Information and Interactive Media Design at the Arnhem Art Academy, Sturing started working as both a developer and designer, mainly for the Web. Currently, Sander has been focused on creative coding, using code as a design tool to create custom software for other designers to use and the creation of computational and generative designs.

<GG>21 Who is
<Studio Dumbar>
?

Studio Dumbar is one of those many brands who do great work but aren’t necessarily household names. This is a big market nowadays and there are many brands who should be household names without the hype and publicity. Studio Dumbar, founded in 2006, is one brand who are now becoming household names. What makes Studio Dumbar different is that is is a brand in the premium category so prices for some of the products are higher than typical for a lower price bracket brand. Studio Dumbar is a division of Studio Dumbar, a brand of Artec which is founded in 1990 and is part of the international group of Artec Group S.A. Artec is a high-end brand who designs high quality items, but for the most part are not a household name. In 2009 Artec moved out of Asia to North America with a base of operations in Chicago, USA. With such a large size of staff it makes sense to have a brand known throughout the world. Artec has always been the top performing luxury brand in Asia Pacific for the following reasons; in terms of manufacturing; a high labour input which requires a lot of high skill and high tech machines that produce higher quality than the low cost brands. When you buy a piece of Artec, you buy the highest quality you can. They are so confident in their product and their customer service that they offer a 1 to 1 exchange if you happen to make a mistake. The quality is always apparent within their pieces. Artec do not compromise on quality and this has translated into more and more people buying the brand. As the brand evolves, the quality of the collection can only get better. Studio Dumbar is the next step in the evolution of Artec. With the increase in price range and quality of the products, the target market will not be the Asian market but the western market. With the high quality items these are not just a fashion statement but can be a functional statement which could make some of the pieces ideal for someone working in an office, or even when travelling. The designs are clean, elegant and with a modern outlook. Some of the patterns in their current collection follow this design style, such as the ‘Rings’ collection which have elegant clean lines but a contemporary edge. They are all wearable with the items being designed to be functional as well as fashionable. Studio Dumbar is a brand for women who like elegant style and quality design that are not seen as overly expensive.

D.C.Hi Sander and Stan, thank you for speaking about your practice with me. Can you start with a short introduction about who you are?

S.H.I’m Stan Haanappel, a visual designer at Studio Dumbar. I have worked here for almost four years. I was an intern here for three months when I was in art school in Rotterdam, and that’s when I decided that this where I wanted to work. I think the project that you’re working on right now is really interesting, because we are in the middle of this exciting change at the studio. Sander and I have worked on a few projects that are really pertinent to this subject, which we shall go into later.

S.S.I’m Sander Sturing, I have been working at Studio Dumbar for around five years, and prior to that, I worked for the same amount of time at another studio in The Hague. I started coding when I was at art school, using programming on a really low level and it was not really my goal to make it my main profession. Ten years ago, as a technical designer, the only thing you could work on at a studio was websites, so I started out doing a bit of UX design and coding websites. I’m still doing that now, but, over the last couple of years, it’s shifted more and more towards what we now call creative coding, or really creating specific tools or scripts to help us with design.

S.S.At first my task consisted of making an existing design easier to use, or quickly create a lot of variations of it, but now, for the last couple of years, we have actually been designing with code. We’ll go into some specific projects later, but to give you an idea of our working method, we sketch a lot, we have always done that. We don’t think about just three or four specific directions, but explore all the directions we can think of. Then, together with the client, we see if there’s something they like, or they dislike, so we can develop the sketches. We used to sketch on paper, with very traditional graphic design tools, but, over the last years, as we have shifted towards motion design, we began using that, along with scripting, in the early phases of our projects. This way, we can demonstrate the upside of using these technologies to our clients. That’s a big change for us, but it’s really interesting and raises a lot of questions.

D.C.How did you begin working with creative coding at the studio?

S.H.When I was in art school, people started working with Processing . This was a really exciting time: you could make wild things, like interactive installations and such, but at that point it wasn’t really happening on a large scale for corporate visual identities. The whole time Sander and I have been working together, we were continuously experimenting back and forth. I am more on the visual side of things, and I know what is possible with code, but I will never be a coder. I have already abandoned the idea that I would ever learn those skills, because it’s just not my thing.

S.H.So we were already sketching stuff, just waiting for the right project to actually begin to use this approach on a job. I think the first big commercial project where we actually created a design tool was for Amsterdam Sinfonietta. There was actually a sketch for creating a gradient halftone effect, and then we replaced the dots with typographic elements. We created that sketch as an Illustrator plug-in, and we thought about how cool it would be if it could actually move, and react to a physical or sound input. While we were working on the design process for stills, like brochure covers, etc., Stan and I began experimenting with making this halftone grid with typography in Processing . At that point, the whole identity system came into being. All of a sudden, we had a tool that could create something we were not able to do in After Effects , or with the usual tools, one that created something special and unique.

S.H.This also opened the door for everyone to experiment in the studio. It was such a cool thing to see Sander, our one creative coder, open that door for all the designers working with us. Everyone was eager to test it. They would come up to him and say, “OK, give me this software and let’s see what I can do with it.” It was one of the coolest moments of the past years, because everyone saw this new environment open up for us. The identity we were working on also took shape. All of a sudden, we had something that could shift, and from the same input, it could have an endless number of possibilities.

S.H.We continued working with Processing , but since it’s a sketching program, we had to take it a step further software-wise, since we also had ideas about working directly with the orchestra to do a sort of live, VJ set with them. Sander managed to redo the program in openFrameworks in his spare time, and all of a sudden, we were able to do way heavier stuff, like render actual live video, instead of having to export the frames, treat them and compile them in After Effects . This was a cultural project, but it also opened up the possibilities in terms of what we could do to personalize other client projects.

PDGD-ITW-StudioDumbar, Image 2
Amsterdam Sinfonietta Identity. Studio Dumbar, 2018.

S.S.Of course the fact that this project opened these doors was of interest, but also, since it was the first project we did that way, it taught us a lot about how this type of process should go, and how we could benefit from the technology. Like Stan said, the initial way we produced the content was quite a hassle, because we were developing the process at the same time as the project. The project was already defined on the visual side at the point when we decided to include the creative coding part, and that opened our eyes as to how we could use coding to actually design it.

S.S.As a programmer, it is good to work with designers who are open to working with code, since I need their input. I wouldn’t like to be working all by myself. We mostly work together, along with Stan, because, as he said, he knows what’s possible with code, he’s really enthusiastic and sees a lot of possibilities. Now sketching with code has become part of our initial process, not just to find nice shapes, but to work with it right along with the other tools we have. We don’t go into a project thinking we need to include code, but we use it in the same way we use Illustrator or any other design software: it’s not just this weird techy thing anymore.

D.C.How do you approach creative coding in regards to the projects of the studio?

S.H.We only use creative coding when it adds real value to the project, so it really depends on the project and also on the sketches that we have already done for it. For example, the identity for the Design in Motion Festival [DEMO], came from one of our designer colleagues who was using Autodesk SketchBook on his phone in the train on his way to work. He used an image transformation tool that allowed him to warp an image with his finger from the center, while keeping the sides intact. It was really interesting visually, so we all started to experiment with images of letters. It was fascinating, the movement was super fluid, but we had no clue as to what was happening. Everybody tried to replicate it using After Effects as well as other software, but we couldn’t figure it out. There was no way to recreate this effect, and that made it even more attractive. At that point, Sander stepped in, and, after a while, he realized that the magic behind this transformation was only possible when you broke the image down into a grid of small pieces, and then stretched or squished them.

S.S.At the studio, we have this tradition of getting together every two weeks and experimenting on something outside of client work. We focus on an idea, an outcome we want to obtain, or a problem we want to solve, so we do have some boundaries and a goal and don’t just do random things. We spent quite some time trying to figure out this transformation tool’s way of working. It was the kind of project that gets in your head, and every time I had a moment to spare, I worked on it. I first tried to figure it, and when I did, I still had to improve it to get the amount of control we needed for it to be usable in the project.

D.C.Am I right in thinking this is a self-initiated project? Do you also use creative coding for commercial, non-cultural projects?

PDGD-ITW-StudioDumbar, Image 2
DEMO – A visual feast: the very first Design in Motion Festival. Studio Dumbar, 2019.

S.H.Yes, we also wanted to talk about Cumulus Park, an innovative commercial district in Amsterdam, which was the first corporate, big client project for which we developed a custom tool. Back then, the way we had been working was to start out with the designers sketching ideas, and then involve motion designers and creative coders in a second phase, but in this case we decided to include a motion designer on the team from the very beginning, since it made sense for the project. The result was a sketch in motion that became the entire concept for the visual identity. We also had to make a tool that would be ready for another studio or designer to use to generate visual outcomes, so we weren’t developing a tool just for our team. We had to design it in a user-friendly way, so someone outside of our team would be able to use it independently of our process and our knowledge. The DEMO Festival and Sinfonietta tools were kind of rough, but this one had to be stable and refined enough so that someone could rely on it and effectively work with it, without having to get into the code.

S.S.I think building tools for clients really opens up a lot of possibilities for us. Many times, we create the identity and another studio applies it; we establish guidelines and templates for still and moving content. This program was kind of a super-template that could generate output in print and onscreen, as well as static PDFs and videos. It really taught us how to design on a new level, and showed us the next step in terms of what we can potentially offer to clients.

D.C.Do your clients understand the work you’re doing with that kind of project? Are they willing to pay an additional amount for creative coding?

S.H.What we offer and what we can invoice is a kind of grey area for clients, and also as a studio. Clients want a visual identity, and generally they don’t want to pay for a crazy amount of hours for us to develop a tool. We have to figure out how to demonstrate the value of such work. We now have a few projects that show what unique things these custom tools can do, so we can use them to convince new clients as well as to position the studio. I think it will slowly become the new normal, and that it’s something that’s here to stay.

S.S.What I thought was interesting, specifically for the Cumulus Park project, was how we sold it to the client. We usually try to apply the identity we’re designing to different items. We generally use still sketches, which we show on billboards so the client can see what it might look like. However, since Cumulus Park has all these public spaces around Amsterdam, we thought it would be nice to imagine a common feature involving the identity. It took the form of a clock, which they then actually asked us to make. We already had most of the code, so we were able to do it quite easily. That is one instance in which these skills have opened up new doors for us with clients.

S.H.What we are also seeing is that sometimes it’s easier to create an animation by code than it is in After Effects .

D.C.What kind of impact has this increased use of creative coding had at the studio? I imagine it has evolved a lot, since a project does not simply involve one graphic designer, but more a sort of team including animators and programmers.

S.S.I was always doing a bit of coding, but it mostly wasn’t part of our work. A few years ago, we started focusing on motion design. We already had a motion designer in the studio and were incorporating a bit of animation in our projects at that point, but it had never been our main focus. We perceived a growing need for more dynamic elements from the clients and brands we worked with, so we started talking about it in the studio. Our creative director, Liza [Enebeis], always says static is no longer an option, and we truly believe that. Now, you have to design for screens of all sizes and animate things more than ever. The studio is now based around that idea, with two recent hires being motion designers who also work with 3D and VR, for example.

S.S.Creative coding is the extra element we can use to push things even further, to do things that are not possible with the software we are already using, such as creating something interactive. It’s really all about broadening our skill set. We have a team made up of equal shares of graphic and motion designers, with some people, like Stan, who can also program with After Effects or Cinema 4D. The skill sets of the new designers we hire are much broader: this can result in new ways of working, and new projects. Creative coding seems like a logical next step for a studio like ours.

D.C.As a graphic design studio, do you think the time is right for this kind of shift? Do you think the market is mature enough, that there is a real need for animation and creative coding in commercial projects, besides niche projects?

S.H.I would say that what is different from five or six years ago is that motion design is not something we work on once the project is in progress. Now we include it in the initial conception phase of every new project. This does not mean that every project has to have some animated element, it really must be relevant to the project at hand. In any case, clients usually get really excited when they see something move. Screens and animations are all around us, and clients perceive the opportunity they represent for their brands. Moving elements have enormous power when it comes to capturing the attention of potential customers, and the ratio of printed to animated content production has completely shifted in the studio over the last years.

S.H.The DEMO Festival was a direct result of the increase in the number of screens around cities. For the most part, we saw poorly animated advertisements on them, even though there are a lot of super-talented designers with incredible motion design skills who don’t have a platform to show them outside of Instagram. We came up with the idea of organizing this festival in order to give them a chance to actually show their work in a physical space. As a result, for a period of twenty-four hours, the screens of the Amsterdam Central Station displayed their animations, many of which were made with creative coding. A lot of people are currently experimenting with this, and I think that will only increase in the future.

S.S.In my opinion, the shift happens as much from clients seeking that type of project, as from the fact that designers more frequently have a wider range of skills, and studios are actively seeking them out. Graphic designers no longer focus solely on static and printed content anymore; a lot of them seek to diversify the range of tools with which they work.

D.C.Do you see schools heading in that direction as well? Do you think they should teach creative coding, for instance?

S.H.I think that students should make the decision themselves. We will always need specialists, and it’s not good when everyone becomes a Jack of all trades. For example, our team includes a typography specialist. He is from the TypeMedia program at KABK [Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague], and what he does is impossible for the rest of us. We really need that kind of focus and mastery of one discipline, be it in typography, motion design or creative coding.

S.H.On the other hand, having some knowledge of the fields associated with yours really helps in terms of collaborating with the people with whom you work. I have a basic understanding of code, and an idea of what is possible to accomplish with it, and I think that is a huge benefit in my work with Sander.

S.H.I know some art schools in The Netherlands have started experimenting with teaching creative coding, and trying to get students interested in these technological aspects. Overall, I would say that we need “all-arounders” as well as specialists, so schools should provide students with the possibility of choosing which path they want to follow.

S.S.I agree. You need both in your practice, and I think most schools already do this. They teach a bit about Processing , for example, so students can gain an understanding of what is possible with it. However, it’s also up to the students; the school should give them some freedom to discover what they are into, and the possibility for them to dive into that. As regards my collaboration with Stan, we understand each other’s language, so we can push each other to a higher level. For me, that’s how I work best.

S.S.Much of the time, studios are behind what’s happening in schools. I graduated ten years ago, and then there was a gap between those who could develop or design websites. That gap has almost closed over the last few years: now it’s pretty normal for designers to be able to code a website, or at least to know what’s possible with the web.

S.S.Like Stan said, what the DEMO Festival demonstrated is mostly the gap between what exists in term of commercial animation on advertising screens, which feature very simple and traditional moving posters, and what designers are doing on Instagram. These young designers create wild stuff, but big brands are not yet making use of their skills. A lot of studios are not really ready to fully integrate these talents, and often they are still in art school.

S.S.Interns have an important role at Studio Dumbar, because we learn a lot from them. We try to hire people who don’t do the same things we do, who have new and different skills and ways of seeing. That actually has to come from the students themselves. The school should give them the possibility of exploring what they really like, and the studios have yet to embrace this.

D.C.In your opinion, what will the future of graphic design look like? How do you think the practice will evolve in the wake of this diversification we have discussed? Do you think that technologies such as artificial intelligence will be included?

S.H.I don’t think that our jobs will ever be done by computers. Apart from the technical aspects, projects have an underlying concept, a sort of emotional value that only humans can conceive, hopefully. Of course, you can get a really cool hipster logo with your name under it online in two seconds, but the whole conceptual aspect will always remain human, in my opinion.

S.S.We have already tried to include AI in a project, but we didn’t have the technical skills and the amount of time necessary to make it work the way we wanted. However, change is coming faster and faster, it will continue to grow, and I think we need to roll with it. In the end, technology gives us more tools and ways to design. If you go with it, you can use this power and have it work for you. Automation is one example; instead of spending time doing repetitive tasks, you can let the machine do it for you, and focus on the creative part. We sometimes create a tool not because we can’t do something in After Effects , but because it is faster to iterate through programming. We stay in charge of what the program does, and of choosing the right outcome. That will always remain the task of the designer. The risk is of course to automate too much, and lose the human input along the way.

S.H.What I’m scared of is data becoming the most important thing. It already happens with A/B tests, where the clicks of users get to dictate which color is best, for example. I fear that AI s will tell us how to design the most successful brand based solely on data. I think we’ll have to fight for design to not to be selected by algorithm s in the future. I don’t want to work with a machine telling me what will be successful.

S.S.I don’t think that’s going to be a real design problem. Like you said, if Google is testing which color is getting one percent more clicks, that’s what they require, and I don’t think you can call that design. I’m fine with that, we designers can do other, more interesting things.

S.S.In the near future, what will be changing is that VR, AR and such will become increasingly mainstream. The next step is to figure out how to brand something, or create an identity for VR. Another thing would be designing for non-visual things, such as voice interfaces and the like, where you can’t apply a logo or a color. The field is changing, but it always has been, only now it’s at a much faster pace. Our job as designers is to try to communicate with the user as to which senses the experience affects. That role remains, we simply adapt it to different media.

D.C.Thanks for these insights. Is there anything with which you wish to conclude?

S.S.We do a lot of talks with students and they always have the same questions about which programming language to pick, or whether or not to learn Processing . I just tell them to try as many things as they can, because when they’re actually working they won’t have that much freedom anymore. They should pick what suits them, because someone who is good at what they do always find work somewhere. We need more designers to push boundaries and experiment with technology.

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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Amsterdam Sinfonietta Identity. Studio Dumbar, 2018.
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DEMO – A visual feast: the very first Design in Motion Festival. Studio Dumbar, 2019.

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