Erik van Blokland


Interviewed by

Demian Conrad

<Erik van Blokland>2 (b. 1967) could not choose between type design and programming so he decided to do both. Van Blokland graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK) in 1989. His works include the random fonts Beowolf (1990, in collaboration with Just van Rossum, MoMA Collection 2011), Trixie (1991), LTR Federal (1996, TDC 2002) and Eames Century Modern (2009, TDC, Letter.2, 2011). Action Condensed (2016) is part of the NBA. Van Blokland consults on type design tools, logos, lettering and typefaces, with clients ranging from the HBO cable network to the Dutch government. He can ramble on endlessly about ancient digital font formats and is curious about optics, drawing and responsive type. He focuses on technical aspects of type design and has developed the acclaimed type interpolation tools MutatorMath and Superpolator. Erik also co-authored the Unified Font Object (UFO) specification and the W3C Web Open Font Format standard (in collaboration with Tal Leming). He is also co-organizer, with Paul van der Laan, of the Irregular Robothon Type & Technology Conference. Van Blokland currently heads the Type and Media Masters Program at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK). He also invented the TypeCooker sketching tool which challenges students to meet ridiculous requirements.

<GG>2 Who is
<Erik van Blokland>

Erik Van Blokland was a 19th-century Dutch-Canadian engineer (1857–1888). He is renowned for his groundbreaking work concerning the wind-and-gravity pumping of groundwater. This pumping method is still used today. Van Blokland was born on 12 October 1857 in Deventer, the Netherlands. He married Wilhelmina “Mina” van Heuvenoize in 1875. At the end of 1863, Van Blokland’s family moved to Canada. They settled in the Canadian village of Wilmer in the North Riding of Durham County, Ontario. The young Van Blokland first applied for a farm school position at age 14. However, he was not selected for this position because his application was written in Dutch. He later applied for a more suitable position as an office holder, but was rejected. He attended school for three years between 1867 and 1870. At age 15, Van Blokland began an apprenticeship in carpentry. He also spent his spare time studying the physics of water. His first paid work as a civil engineer began in 1877. He designed the “Deurweg” (the “water gate”) near the harbor of Antwerp, Belgium. It consists of a huge rock structure that is surrounded by slits through which water passes to discharge into the harbor. After his first big project, he was appointed Assistant Engineer of the Water Works, a position that he held for about one year. The year 1884 saw the start of his most important work. His employer was the City of Toronto. He was hired to investigate the problems of sewage and waste drainage in Toronto. However, after about a year he quit this position to devote himself singlemindedly to his research on water circulation and flow in cities. He left Toronto in 1887.

D.C.Hi Erik, thanks for meeting with us. Can you begin by introducing yourself and your design practice?

E.v.B.I have a small type design practice. I make typefaces, sometimes with other people, sometimes alone, and I teach in the TypeMedia Masters Program at The Royal Academy of Art [KABK] in The Hague.

E.v.B.For a long time, I’ve been involved in building tools for type designers, along with Just van Rossum, Petr van Blokland and Frederik Berlaen. There is a small but very active community of people who make tools. Some are professional engineers, with computer science degrees, who are very good at what they do. However, many of my friends and colleagues are designers first and foremost, and they work in a different way. They identify problems or directions they want to explore at some point in a specific project. A lot of the development they do starts this way.

D.C.How did you get interested in coding?

E.v.B.Once you discover that a very limited knowledge of code, that just a few lines of Python can ease your work, it’s difficult to go back and do it by hand the way you used to. When you start working with code, it feels like you can do anything. It’s a bit like the feeling you have as a student, when you discover Photoshop , and everything seems amazing and possible. At some point, you gain experience with the software and get a pretty good idea of what you can do, and you acquire an understanding of its limits. Things may not always be completely tangible, but if you zoom out a bit and think about it for some time, they appear quite clearly.

E.v.B.It’s like the possibilities of Photoshop versus InDesign , versus HTML . If you know these different tools, you have an idea of what part of a problem you can solve with each one. At some point, a solution, or part of it, might be beyond the capacities of a tool. It might be complicated to achieve it with that tool, or you would have to make too many compromises. That’s when a script comes in handy, to help you simplify a tedious task, for example.

D.C.How would you describe your programming practice?

E.v.B.In terms of engineering, more often than not, my code is passable. I understand good programming, and how engineers can take fifty lines of my code and summarize them into five. That’s frustrating, but the point is not to be efficient, but rather to be fast. The purpose of my programs are to be available the moment I need them, and I often identify a need in the midst of working on a project.

E.v.B.There are many different entry points into coding, different contexts, from trying to solve a specific problem, to exploring things and seeing what happens. I experiment a lot with DrawBot , a program I developed with Frederik and Just. I have a sort of diary folder on my computer, where I make a new file with the date and start to explore: sometimes geometry, sometimes logic, and so on. I really like the concept of sketching, which Casey Reas and Ben Fry have evolved into Processing . They wanted the feedback loop to be so short that it could be used for sketching with code, in the same way you would with a pencil and an eraser. On its own scale, DrawBot , like Processing , is very good for that. I still open Illustrator with the desire to draw something, but I quickly give up and get back to DrawBot , because it is faster to express my idea with code. I generate a PDF and then move on with it.

D.C.Since you’re also teaching, do you think design students need to learn programming?

E.v.B.Coding is a tricky addition to the practice of design. I don’t think it is for everyone, but I am nevertheless a strong advocate for the democratization of code literacy. Contrary to what lots of people seem to think, computer scientists don’t need to worry about being out of work, in my opinion. There are difficult problems to solve, and graphic designers who code will not solve these problems. Engineers and designers think in different ways. If a designer can explain what they want to achieve to a programmer, they can probably also read the code themselves.

PDGD-ITW-ErikVanBlokland, Image 2
“Patterns that can only exist in the infinite resolution of vectors.” – Erik van Blokland

E.v.B.You can begin to incorporate code into creative disciplines and practices in a very open-ended way. The way I do it is by writing a few lines of code and running it. I then add or modify the code and run it again to see the result, and so on. It’s a very interesting way to work: it allows me to iterate a lot and try different alternatives. The logic of the script reflects the reasoning behind the project, but it’s also a rabbit hole, because you discover a new path to explore every time you modify a value. Before you know it, you have spent a couple of days on a program, trying to get it to work, and then you realize that you’re defining a new file format.

D.C.Speaking of file formats, what is your involvement in font technology?

E.v.B.I was involved in the discussions about the WOFF [Web Open Font Format] at W3C [World Wide Web Consortium, the organization which developed the open standards for the web], not because I had any skills to contribute there, but rather because I was curious about how these processes unfold. There are discussions with engineers from all over the world. It becomes abstract very quickly, but once it’s over, once you’ve solved that problem that prevents the format from working, you climb out of the rabbit hole and realize you have new possibilities with type on the Web.

E.v.B.These days, I’m trying to actually make things; I’m getting more interested in drawing. I work on small lettering projects, because you don’t have to make a font out of it… smaller projects in keeping with smaller attention spans. At the moment, I cannot deal with the idea of working on a typeface for three to four years.

D.C.How do you address the subject of coding for designers as a teacher?

E.v.B.At TypeMedia, Just uses DrawBot to teach the students Python . Some students really pick up on it, and you see them blossom and begin to build their small tools, be it for kerning a font or for animating it. Nonetheless, some of them keep struggling with it, and clearly it’s not for them. At least, they get a taste and learn what code is, and what it can do. Still, in my experience, a lot of the students that think code is not for them just have a threshold to overcome before they can get into it and actually enjoy it.

E.v.B.In my opinion, learning how to code should be part of every course, be it journalism or medical studies. Computers are part of our lives: they are everywhere, even in our pockets. It’s super important to be able to reflect on your life and your practice, and to be able to build on or modify the things that are available to you.

E.v.B.A lot of users are stuck with bad software, and know how that situation could be improved without knowing how to do it. The users have so much knowledge about what they need and how their software should work. I think that’s what Mike Monteiro means when he says a designer has to listen to their end users. People that actually use the software know what they require.

D.C.What sparked your interest in code?

E.v.B.My older brother, Petr, is twelve years older, and he became interested in computers early on. In the late 1970s, at the same time personal computers were being developed in California, he and some friends started building small computers based on the [MOS Technology] 6502 processor. They started making kits, so I built one. I didn’t fully understand how it worked, but I knew the major components and how it was made.

E.v.B.After that, Apple released the Macintosh , and my brother bought one. Around 1988, I bought my first Mac SE, while I began studying graphic design at the Royal Academy of Art, where Gerrit Noordzij taught type design. Just [van Rossum] was one year ahead of me, and thanks to Noordzij, we quickly understood that we were both into computers. At the time, nobody else was, there were no computers at school. We tried to create simple graphics on the computers, and Just figured out how to write PostScript . I was surrounded by people that were much faster than me on computers, so it was a very stimulating environment for learning.

E.v.B.Just and I ended up in Berlin, at Spiekermann’s small studio. There were some computers and a laser printer, and not much to do besides hanging out at the office. We knew that fonts were code, so we opened files in a text editor and looked at what was going on, how it all worked. We started manipulating the shapes with the code, experimenting with a font made of a single rectangular character. We moved the anchor points around, as a sort of proof of concept, and tried to apply this knowledge and concept to an actual font, but at the time it was really difficult to get font data, because it was encrypted. The technical specs would not be published as open source for another two years. The only font data we had real access to was the typeface I had created for the Academy graphic design exam, which was a not very well adjusted text face. We made the first version of Beowolf in this manner.

D.C.Can you tell us a bit more about that?

E.v.B.We were mainly driven by technical curiosity, how cool it would be if we could get this to work. What it looked like came out as a surprise. So we reflected on it, and came up with some backstory, because we wanted to show that it wasn’t just a technical invention. Still, it was much less radical than some people thought at the time. We then went to a conference in Oxford, showed some slides and talked about fonts being able to move, which was new at the time. We wrote an article for Emigre Magazine that Donald Knuth read. He wrote us a letter, saying he really liked the article and sent some examples of font experiments he had done before: splitting typefaces into sticks and bowls and moving them around, the whole Metafont thing. To our embarrassment, we had no idea who he was at the time. We were twenty-two, we hadn’t heard of him, so we forgot about it.

E.v.B.Years later, as Python was developed, we learned about Metafont , and we kind of remembered the letter. After a few years, I finally met Knuth at a conference. I gathered up my courage and went to tell him the story, saying how young and stupid we had been at the time, and that we were sorry we didn’t answer. He replied he had no idea what I was talking about, so I thought I might have imagined everything, but I found the letter a couple of years later, and finally realized that it was indeed him. I think ideas float around, and more than one person can connect with them. I read that Knuth got his idea for Metafont after meeting with Marjan Unger at Stanford, and talking about how fashion moves in a cycle. The modularity in his program is inspired by punk concepts in graphic design.

E.v.B.When technology becomes cheap enough to be widely available, it is no longer confined to the people who can afford it, or the scientists that developed it, but moves into the hands of people with crazy ideas and spare time, along with a willingness to experiment, unfettered by the constraints of big projects. I see the same thing happening now with variable fonts. I’m pretty much on the side of the people who built this technology, the ones who know all the ins and outs of it and who are focusing on solving specific problems. However, there are new, young designers who don’t really care about that, and just use it for animation, to make typography jump and explode. Fantastic stuff is being done with variable fonts that is totally different from its original intended use, very different from the idea that resulted in the creation of the format.

D.C.What was the idea behind variable fonts?

E.v.B.Basically, Google dusted off a method of font compression used to make files fit on floppy disks. This only makes sense if you’re Google , serving billions of fonts a day from your servers and wanting to harvest data in the process. It’s a huge investment for them to make these files available at all times; in addition, if they are a bit smaller, it has a huge impact on the cost in the end.

E.v.B.Nevertheless, aside from these economic considerations, I think there is a lot of freedom that needs to be explored with variable fonts. The majority of reading happens onscreen, and that will continue to increase. The pixels that form the text on the screen can be controlled, they can have a logic, and they can move. What that logic and movement should be is an entirely fresh field, because type has never moved before. It was unstable, it was variable in a sense: lettering, calligraphy and typography have shown us that letter shapes could vary. However, the fact that this type can now breathe on a screen is new, and so there are new things to learn from that.

E.v.B.Our optical nerves are most effective at detecting movement, even before being able to see color, or even focus. Our ancestors developed this capacity as a defense mechanism, when perceiving the movement of a potential predator was crucial to our survival. This makes movement a powerful tool for us as designers, enabling us to direct the attention of the viewer in a very effective way.

D.C.It seems that Adobe products are still are the most commonly used in the profession. Do you think creative coding can help a graphic designer shape their own tools? How do you think things will evolve regarding specialized tools?

E.v.B.I don’t think you have to create your own InDesign or Photoshop . It’s all a matter of circumstances: if these tools do what you need, are useful in your workflow and make sense from an economical point of view, you should use them. What is required is to have a critical position with regard to those tools, their use should be a conscious decision. The first thing to understand are the options available, as well as their limitations.

E.v.B.There’s nothing wrong with an idea that is difficult to express with Photoshop or InDesign . You should explore possibilities that allow you to make things happen in the way you imagined. You have several options from that point on: you could go on the Adobe forums and look for a button that does the thing you need and hope many other people have had the same need, so it gets implemented. Another option would be to start figuring out how to do it yourself, and that’s when you have to gather your energy and motivation. Still, you can also draw on paper, or go and ask a friend who is an illustrator, or a photographer, to work with you. As a teacher, I try to emphasize that tools like Photoshop are options, but at the same time, not everybody has to write their own tools.

E.v.B.I just happened to see the TypeLab 2020 conference, where Dafi Kühne presented his fantastic printing work. His understanding of paper and ink, and the printing process goes beyond what any printer will do for you. He uses some digital components, but in the end, everything happens on the press. Getting students into this type of workshop is a good step towards showing them that you can do a lot more than what is possible with standard tools, and that you can always transcend the limits.

E.v.B.People need to understand that computers can be instructed to do different, unpredictable things. You can use that in the design process: you code without knowing exactly what the result might be, you generate stuff that surprises you. That is something that amazes me about a lot of generative work. When I look at the outcome of a program I wrote, I’m seeing the thing for the first time. Even though I made it line by line, the result is almost always different from what I had imagined. Again, that’s not the only way to make cool images, but that works particularly well for me.

D.C.How would you define creative coding?

E.v.B.Creative coding is different from software engineering. If you open DrawBot , you will probably start out with a line of code in mind that will have almost nothing to do with what the overall program outcome will be. It’s very different from writing a framework or a file format; that stuff has to work, be effective and follow engineering practices, but you don’t have these constraints with creative coding. You focus on the few lines that caused that particular thing, but there are things that you want to have work differently, so you try to modify some part, or structure it differently. Here, writing the code and designing the thing are part of the same process. You cannot imagine the shape it will take when you look at the code, but you can imagine what the code needs to do when you look at the shapes. That’s how DrawBot works, that’s how Processing works. I think that’s what creative coding is.



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 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.


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 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 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.


(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 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++ 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.


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.


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 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 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.


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.


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, 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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.


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 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 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 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 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, 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 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.


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.


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, 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 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 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 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 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 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.


p5.js’ collaborative live-coding VJ environment.


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® 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 (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.


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 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.


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 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 (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 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, 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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“Patterns that can only exist in the infinite resolution of vectors.” – Erik van Blokland

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