Monthly Archives: January 2014

Generative Design with Processing

I took it upon myself to try and self-teach a new skill, something which combined my love of pictures and graphics with the code writing aspect of the course. After being introduced to it in a workshop, I decided to look further into Processing. Processing is a programming language which is closely linked to visual arts. After a few weeks of watching videos and just generally messing around with it, I was able to see how quickly and easily something could be made. I started with simple projects such as a basic drawing tool and a ball which seemed to bounce around the window.

For a while now I’ve been interested in generative design, graphics and pictures which are computer generated and I was able to learn how a lot of different things could be made in processing. I made a relatively simple sketch which allowed me to generate geometric shapes and manipulate the outcome based on the position of my mouse. The Y-axis changed the number of vertex’ on the shape and the Y-axis changed the size of it. In the end I managed to create come cool looking images, out of countless possibilities. For some of the designs, I made it so the thickness of the line changed randomly, as well as lowering the opacity to get different effects. Here are a few that I liked in particular.


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Post Production

When talking about post production, Bourriaud (1) is referring to copies or remakes of existing cultural products. In the current digital age, many of the media artefacts being produced aren’t original content; they are adaptations, adjustments, remakes of existing cultural content that has already been produced. The idea of post production is evident with a DJ for example. The DJ finds existing songs, songs make by themselves or other artists and may alter them, remix them and then use it as their content. The DJ is a post producer as he/she is reproducing something that has already been produced to society.

David Carson’s views on design fit with Bourriaud’s idea of the ‘semionaut’ as he is often imagining the links between emotion and design in regards to the message being sent subliminally. His example of the two garage doors with the same background painting, same words but the typography was different. The second example was a lot more expressive and emotionally with the erratic and large typeface. Despite the same textual message being put across, the emotion expressed in the second example helps to enhance the message, making it more poignant.

A current example of post production would be the game Minecraft. Minecraft generates a ‘natural’ landscape, a world for the player to explore and ‘live’ in. The player is then able to alter the world drastically; they can reshape existing features, build structures, kill animals etc. The player is the post producer. Without the player changing anything the world as a suitable media artefact, which has indeed been released to the public. But the player can alter this world, modify it to what they desire and if they wish, redistribute the world to other players for them to do the same. 


(1). Bourriaud, N. (2002). Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms The World [Available online at:].

 (2) (2009). “David Carson on Design.” [Available online at:]


After Authorship

In his essay, ‘The Death of the Author’, Roland Barthes describes the author as a modern figure which emerged ‘at the end of the middle ages, ’with English empiricism, French rationalism and the personal faith of the Reformation’, This was a time period where society ‘discovered the prestige of the individual, or, to put it more nobly, of the “human person”’.


It is the job of the critic to discover the Author beneath the text as Barthe believes the Author puts their identity into it.

Barthe’s perspective on criticism explains that it ‘should be overthrown along with the Author’.This is due to the destructive process of deconstruction the critic uses which strips strips the text of any meaning.The idea of criticism is, to Barthe, perceived as degrading a text. He comments that ‘once the Author has been removed, the claim to “decipher” a text becomes quite useless. Without the Author, the text lacks any real meaning.

At the beginning of the essay, Barthe speculates about when a character speaks, who is really speaking? He considers the character themselves or the author as giving a voice and identity. He concludes with stating that it is impossible to know as all writing consists of several ‘indiscernible voices’.  When looking at modern digital media, the author(s) of a game for example may try to construct meaning within the storyline, a linear narrative which the player must follow. But ultimately, any meaning derived from a game is that from the players understanding. It may be influenced partially by the author’s narrative but also by the experiences of the player themselves. I choose Bioshock (2007) as an example of a game. It has a rather linear narrative and a silent protagonist (the player). The authors of the came constructed a story which allows the player to immerse themselves within the game, in essence, being the voice of the protagonist, allowing them to help construct any meaning they perceive from the game. 


Channel Project: The brand

We have been tasked with a group Channel Project which involves creating a brand/identity and then making videos to go on a channel website which tie it all together.

For the brief we came up with the idea of a biological contact lens which augments reality and generally makes the users life better. The first step of the project was to come up with a brand name and a logo for the channel to fit with our idea. Initial thoughts started with words associated with vision and eyes, and after much deliberation we concluded with Convex. We chose convex as a contact lens is convex, but also the word also means pushing forward which is what a futuristic technology company does.


The logo we came up with has a natural, curved look which makes it look more biological rather than digital or electronic. The shape of the logo also connotes the double helix shape of DNA to add to the biological essence of the brand. As for the type, we chose a simplistic font which is clear, easy to read and has nice, natural looking curves which tie in nicely with the logo itself.


Media Independent techniques

Media independent techniques are general concepts translated into algorithms which can operate on particular data types. These include searchability, fundability and linkability (Manovich, 2013).

A further technique could be resizability; the ability to resize media, changing the actual properties of it (opposed to just zooming in). Digital media artefacts can easily be manipulated and made different sizes. Images and videos can be made bigger, as the cost of the resolution dropping or they could be made smaller. Text in documents can be resized to suit user preference. Media in a window, such as a webpage resize as the window is made larger or smaller so that the content can better fit inside. When viewed on a mobile device such as an iPhone, the webpage is resized to better fit the size of the screen. Links may be resized on phones to make them bigger and therefore increase the touchability and visibility of the link to make it more usable. All of this relies on algorithms and code so that the content knows how to react to the situation. 

Instances where media independent techniques are used.

Searchability/findability (I’m not sure) – Google AdWords is an online advertising service that allows users to define a list of keywords and create an advert that appears on Google when these words are searched. Through the ability to search for specific words, and then knowing what these words would be, businesses can make their websites appear on the first page of the google search making their website or online shop far more findable. 

Findablity- The ability to use the ‘find’ tool and search a whole page of text to find a specific word, number, phrase etc. If looking for a certain piece of code for example, the find tool can be used to quickly jump to that instance rather than searching through the whole document. There is also the find-and-replace tool which allows users to find the instances as before but to then replace them with a different word or number, saving time looking through individually for each instance. 

Linkability – Web pages have links to other web pages using a specific URL to go to. Offline documents can also have links within the document. For example, you can embed a hyperlink in a Pages or Word document which can link to a webpage or another document, perhaps used for referencing.



Initial design ideas



These were my initial drawings of my portfolio ideas. I chose to develop the last one as the layout was my favourite 


Contact page

When making the contact page I wanted to have big social network buttons (the purple squares are placeholders). My first solution filled the whole width of the screen. I found it looks too intrusive as the buttons are too big. In a smaller browser window they looked more reasonable. 



My second solution split the page in half to make the buttons smaller as well as fill the page a bit more. When the window is made smaller the left part of the website goes below so to make optimal use of the page space.