Go to ThinkParametric

Coding in Design

Generative_gRAPHIC Generative Graphic by Gwen Vanhee

Hello everyone Welcome to the Blog zone of my site here I will be posting some personal thoughts about design , Interactive art , social media and other random stuff.

The other day I found out this interview of Karsten Schmidt (AKA Toxi) which is I think one of the best designers out there right now , it really helped me to clarify some ideas that have been on my head for a while about the possibilities that programming brings to design. I have been coding for a couple of years now and I have noticed that I have acquired the capacity of moving seamlessly between different design fields like object design , architecture , interactive experiments , graphic design and software development something I would consider impossible before, understanding programming languages lets the designer approach their problems from a very different perspective , it becomes easier to detect which variables from a design brief are relevant and which are obsolete it also helps to organize them in a coherent way by using algorithms and which I think is the best of  part is  the capacity of adaptation depending on local or external conditions which allows the designer to contemplate different solutions for the same problem.

Karsten Schmidt from Etapes on Vimeo.

With OOP (Object Oriented Programing) you can be one day making some cool generative graphics , another day designing parametric furniture, digital tools for architecture then interactive installations or perhaps develop an Internet platform so people can collectively design their city , The possibilities are huge .

I have talk to several designers and many of them get a little bit upset when I show them for example how you can generate complex facades in a couple of seconds once you have written a script with an algorithm, they feel threatened by this and all they can say its that designers are creative , inspirational people that shouldn’t deal with mathematics , physics or anything that has to do with numbers. Personally I think this is stupid and great deal of this problem is in the educational systems in which we have been educated for the last century, which are designed to mutilate the creative capacities of the students, since we are little they start labelling us for example if you are good at drawing and making manual stuff then you should be a designer or an artist , if you are good at math then you are certainly going to be an engineer and as we grow up it gets worst at universities educational programs are made to focus exclusively in one set of specific skills  for example in an engineering carrer you will never see a class of sculpture or music appreciation, and what this does is that only one part of your brain develops its best capacities while the other becomes obsolete.

I certainly would like to see the education that Leonado Da Vinci got at his time. He has been for many the greatest man has ever lived and guess what ? , to develop his wonderful painting technique he used a great deal of mathematics to understand proportion and for the development of his great artifacts he spend a lot of time contemplating every single detail of nature. He never had someone telling him what he was good at and which were his capacities.

I thinks that’s the reason we have never seen someone like him on this days . However I think its important not to fall in this tramp and try to develop all our skills no matter how limited they are , I am a living prove of that I really sucked at math all my life and know I have a deeper understanding of mathematics since I implement coding in my design processes. Its great!!!

  • dima

    It makes a lot of sense if you think of code being a universal language. It’s an EXPLICIT way of dealing with things. And also seems like the whole matter is based on algorithms and various explicit relationships between components. Nowadays also the boundaries between different industries and fields blended so much and it keeps spinning and accelerating with some exponential progression, so really if you don’t know how to paint doesn’t mean that you cannot be an artist (aka express yourself). Instead you express yourself via code…
    Cool stuff Rodrigo! keep it up!

  • Rodrigo

    Hi Dima I totally agree with you I believe all the things we do are based on an algorithmic logic that is why I think learning or at least understanding coding can help designers make more coherent proposals.

    Thanks for your comment I´ll sure do !!