Ivan Weiss, Michael Kryenbühl

Interviewed by

Demian Conrad

Ivan Weiss and Michael Kryenbühl started their studio <Johnson / Kingston>12 by the end of 2011, after spending a 6 month residency in New York granted by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. In New York as well as in residencies in Paris, Belgrade and Berlin they focused on self-initiated projects at the intersection of design and technology. In free and commissioned works as well as in their teaching, lectures and workshops in Switzerland and abroad they are engaged with exploring experimental, contemporary forms of graphic design, type design and programming. Their work has been shown in Russia, America, Japan and Korea among others and has been granted with the Swiss Design Award twice in 2017 and 2010. In 2017 they accepted a six-year professorship in communication design with a focus on new media at Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe in Germany. In 2019 Massimiliano Audretsch joined the studio.

<GG>12 Who is

Who is Jack Kingston? This is a very interesting read for the politically savvy and/or interested reader in a career that started out small, yet has grown into a global phenomenon. At just 21 years of age, the son of an Englishman and a Thai woman, who has become a leading spokesman for British conservatives in Australia, has gone from being a shy schoolboy with an obsession for pop music to the front page of Rupert Murdoch's influential British newspaper, The Sun.

D.C.Hello Michael and Ivan. Thank you for meeting with me today. Could you please start by introducing yourselves and your practice?

M.K.We founded our studio in early 2012, after returning from a six-month residency in New York granted by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. Winning a Swiss Design Award with our Bachelors thesis project was a great motivational boost and made it possible for us to experiment freely within the scope of the residency. After getting to know each other through a couple of joint projects during our studies at Hochschule Luzern – Design & Kunst [Lucerne School of Art and Design], as well as collaborating on our thesis, we decided to explore our shared interests through a shared practice. From the very beginning, the way technology and design could be combined with tools in order to create different workflows, outputs and visual languages was an important element in our approach.

I.W.In addition to our own practice, we both teach at the HfG Karlsruhe [Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design]. We are professors in the Communication Design department, who teach courses on digital and networked media. Every now and then we also try to make some time for self-initiated projects that center around topics in which we have developed a growing interest.

D.C.Could you tell me more about your work with the Poster Town book, which was completely done with scripting?

M.K.We got together with a couple of people in the graphic design community in Lucerne, and discussed our desire to produce documentation for the Poster Town exhibition, which had been traveling around the world at that time. We joined a group that had formed around Megi Zumstein and Erich Brechbühl, which also included Klaus Fromherz and Martin Geel from Peng Peng studio, as well as Raphael Schoen and Simon Rüegg from Präsens Büro. We started to conceive a format that would draw attention to a very active scene, instead of merely producing another “best-of” poster collection. We wanted to focus on the diversity of the community in Lucerne, and the links between clients and several designers who had worked on similar commissions over a period of time. These are interesting connections to highlight, especially in a small city like Lucerne. This was the starting point for our collecting posters through an open call for participation, with the goal of collecting as many posters linked to Lucerne as possible.

M.K.We held an editors meeting in which we culled the selection down to half of the 2,000 entries we had received. From that point on, it was clear that we would still have to deal with a huge amount of posters in the book. So we had to come up with a way in which we could easily organize all these posters and be able to get a rapid overview. That’s when we came up with the idea of a website as a database which we could use to manage all the files. We then started to think about how we could outsource some of the design decisions to an algorithm , and how we might approach the design of a book about poster design in a rather objective way. We asked ourselves how we could deal with the works properly, in a way that would encourage new connections and comparisons.

I.W.In order to enable as many connections as possible between the posters, we worked with a tag system. For example, a poster might have the tags “italic typography”, “animal imagery” and “black and white”. The tags enabled us to connect posters from different designers and display them side by side. They are the central element of the concept, as they attempt to represent the different approaches as well as the connections between the designers. It was quite fascinating to see what happened with the rules we set up for the layout, and how the algorithm would generate the pages of the book. It’s a different way of working: you don’t lay out every page, but you write the rules that will do that for you in Java Script. I think it shows up in the characteristics of the design throughout the book.

I.W.We used the website as our tool. This enabled us to tag posters and group them within collections in the database. The website gave us a good overview. We exported all the pages of the book directly from it. In the beginning, we hadn’t intended to work like this, but it turned out to be quite a smooth process.

M.K.All of the designers were granted access to the back end of the website. This reduced a lot of our workload. There was no actual proofreading for the poster details, every designer was responsible for the accuracy of the information in their own work.

M.K.Also, we didn’t perceive the book in itself as an end result. For instance, right now we are holding another round of open calls for new works. The newly arrived works will be evaluated by the team and then added to the website. We see the project as an ongoing enterprise, one that hopefully will motivate local designers and recent graduates to contribute to the poster heritage of Lucerne.

D.C.If I understand you correctly, you still used InDesign to generate the PDFs?

I.W.Yes. The database is a flat CMS system in which all information entered by the participants is stored in small text files. They were exported through the website into a text file that was then imported and laid out in InDesign with basil.js . Then we exported the PDF files for the printer from InDesign .

I.W.We already had some experience with web-to-print tools and their limitations. Our first generated book, Animalia, was about all the known animals on planet Earth. We had to work with a huge amount of data there as well. We set up our own process from scratch, generating a PDF from our database directly through HTML . We then realized that this process made it impossible to work on small corrections after exporting. This meant you had to write exception rules in your script for each correction in order to avoid errors and export an accurate PDF, whereas these corrections could have been done in one click in InDesign . This was an important experience for us and helped us decide to generate the Poster Town book using InDesign , so we could manually execute small layout corrections at the end of the process.

D.C.What is your take on whether to create your own tools and share them, or not?

PDGD-ITW-JohnsonKingston, Image 2
Animalia: A 2069-page book containing all 1.5 million currently classified animal species of the taxonomic kingdom Animalia, self-published, 2011.

I.W.This is a super important topic for us. We worked with Adobe software for a long time, but we began to work more and more with other tools and to take a look at what else was out there. With book design projects, it is still much harder to avoid the standard Adobe software, as opposed to working on web-based projects. With web-based projects everything you need is more or less open-source, and the communities around that are quite strong.

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Poster Town: Contemporary poster design in Lucerne, Johnson/Kingston, 2017.

M.K.It’s also a major topic at the HfG Karlsruhe, where we teach. One of our colleagues, Rebecca Stephany, initiated the Glossary of Undisciplined Design symposium in Leipzig, together with Anja Kaiser. It resulted in a glossary that explores role models, tools and dissent. It reflects on how graphic processes and ways of working are shaped, and—amongst a lot of other things—how we as designers can implement our own tools in the design process.

I.W.More and more students and young professionals are figuring out ways of working differently with Adobe software. You can produce your own tools from scratch, but they might not result in proper hyphenation or kerning or so many other elements we are so used to in InDesign . Reproducing all that in your own tool is just not possible.

M.K.That is why many designers tend to add functionality and scripting to existing software, expanding it in a direction that fits their needs.

M.K.A student at HfG Karlsruhe created an open-source software for vector editing in a browser. Although it was not intended to be an alternative to Adobe Illustrator or similar software, it raises questions regarding what you might actually need and what is missing. More importantly, about how software might function differently. I think it’s less about an actual alternative software that will replace the standard everybody is using, and more about raising awareness about how it influences your design work.

M.K.Within the Adobe palette for example, the way you use and work with the limitations of each format changes the outcome completely. When working on a poster design in Photoshop , you immediately have to deal with lots of layers and start stacking elements on top of each other, because there is no space to set things aside. They are just gone and lost. On the other hand, in Illustrator, there is this idea of endlessness, where you end up having lots of visual and graphic ingredients around your actual work because you can easily place them outside for later use or reference. In InDesign , which is clearly about multi-page documents, you keep duplicating your pages while working on a draft until you end up with 200 pages, all containing different versions with slight modifications. All three softwares have basic ergonomics that are very influential in terms of the final outcome.

D.C.How did you get acquainted with programming? Was it through your studies, or by more indirect means? Also, how do you pass on your knowledge as teachers?

M.K.I was introduced to programming at the beginning of my studies, during a short internship when I coded my first website. It felt quite empowering to be able to give a small private project an online presence.

I.W.We didn’t come into contact with coding during our time at art school. We had a web design course, but that was mostly about layout and wireframe design, not techniques and functionality.

I.W.If you want to work on web-based projects in an innovative or experimental way, you have to know about coding and how to sketch a website using code, instead of InDesign .

I.W.In our courses in Karlsruhe, you could say we force our students to acquire some knowledge of coding. We work closely with them and show them directly on screen how they can proceed. It is quite a tough job to teach coding, because you have no idea about the language at the beginning. Often your code does not work and you are constantly debugging. Still, you need someone to push and motivate you, so as teachers it naturally falls to us to take on this role.

M.K.It’s also about raising awareness about the possibilities, and it’s definitely a long-term commitment. In our experience, if you define a set up for the students that provides a basic introduction to coding and allows several paths or outputs, digital or physical ones, then, at a certain point, students actually begin considering using code for their projects and even have fun moving in that direction. It’s really nice to see students getting excited about code. Still, it is difficult to know exactly which teaching method is best to get them there. We just think that it’s really important to sit down with students at some point, work with them on their projects, and show them different approaches.

I.W.Understanding code means that half the time you’re writing code, and the other half, you’re debugging it. Learning strategies for debugging is essential.

D.C.One element of learning code seems to be relying strongly on community, and yet, as of this writing, this is not institutionalized or mandatory in art schools. What is your experience regarding this subject?

I.W.Yes, that is true. If you are lucky, there will be a couple of students in each class who are interested in learning to code from the outset, and you hope that their enthusiasm will infect some others. As for how to infect all the students? That’s the question. We don’t really have an answer, we are still trying out different methods.

D.C.Can you discuss more in detail one of the projects in which you used your own tools, and how this changed the visual outcome as well?

M.K.We could talk about the work we did for the B-Sides Festival, a yearly music event in Lucerne. We were commissioned to do all the visual communication for the 2016 edition, which consisted of a lot of printed matter, motion design and merchandise elements. We began our process by designing the website, and built all the other communication material around the online platform. Up to that point, the website had not played an important role in the festival’s marketing strategy. Obviously there was a website in place, but it was more of a placeholder and template for a static identity.

I.W.On a conceptual level, the identity was based on a playful use of somewhat strange typefaces. We stacked the same texts, set in several typefaces, on top of each other, using different colors. This is very easy to do in the browser: three times you have the same text with different CSS , and they are stacked on the same position. It’s a simple duplication routine.

I.W.This treatment of typography changed the whole identity and became a central part of this project. In the final analysis, these multicolored typefaces and strange typographical shapes, readable or not, really influenced the tool we used for all visual output. Doing this in InDesign might have been possible, but not as quickly and easily as in the browser.

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Website B-Sides Festival. Johnson / Kingston, 2016.

I.W.On top of that, we came across the Java Script library three.js which made it possible to render 3D scenarios in the browser. This was totally new and very exciting for us. We used this technique to create individual visual worlds for each artist through which you could navigate and discover what was going on. Visitors could then generate screenshots from this interactive experience on the website, which were subsequently printed on items of merchandise, such as T-shirts. In this manner, we were able to link the digital output to the printed identity, and it revolutionized the conception of the printed items.

M.K.These tools and techniques definitely influenced the output of the printed matter. The screenshots for the T-shirts were uploaded by the community. Each visitor could upload screenshots from the 3D scenario linked to their favorite artist.

M.K.We really wanted to use community-generated material throughout the visual identity. For instance, in the booklet, where the program is announced and you find short introductory texts about the artists, we included YouTube comments about them in order to provide new perspectives and create cross-references as well as contextualize the artist and their music. We think this way of working wouldn’t have been possible if we had started out with the printed matter.

D.C.How do you manage your toolmaking with your clients? When you create a tool do you explain it to them? Do you charge separately for that work as opposed to the design work?

M.K.One important thing in that regard is that often the clients are not really aware of what they actually need. They often approach us with a request for, let’s say, a poster. Then, while we are working on that, it becomes clear that additional social media elements are required, or even a complete visual identity. To give you an example, Stube im Progr, an open space in Bern, asked us to design their visual identity. They paid us for the identity, but we produced a tool for them with which they could produce visual outputs on their own, posters and flyers mostly. We simply used a part of the budget for this tool, to enable them to independently produce printed matter. Consequently, in the end, they paid us for something different, but we managed to work on the project in our own way without feeling like we were not being paid for the coding part. We simply used a different working method in terms of our energy and budget. This approach has worked out well in several cases, with a variety of clients.

I.W.In general, it is really difficult to bill clients for this type of programming work. In addition, you can’t always copy and paste snippets of code, you really have to write your own programs and libraries, etc. As in many other studios, our teaching activities cover a part of our income. That removes some financial pressure from the studio.

M.K.We are very grateful for the projects where we can really explore new techniques and working methods, such as for the B-Sides Festival website, for example. In that project, we knew beforehand that the available budget was low. However, all the people involved in the organization are equally paid and equally committed, so we chose not to count our hours. The budget often doesn’t necessarily relate to the amount of work you put in the project in the end, but is instead more of an investment in the exploration of new things and the ability to test them in their applied context. In this case, the payback didn’t translate into money, but rather visibility and the chance to learn new tools. You could say there was a monetary payback at a certain point, since we received a Swiss Design Award for that project. That was great, but it is, of course, an exception to the rule. However, from that moment on, in terms of commissions for projects for new clients, we began receiving the proper amount of money required for building a website. This then influenced the way in which we work: we didn’t see tools as an additional commodity for which we would charge a specific amount of money, but rather as an integral part of the design process. Conceptual sketching and coding goes hand in hand. A custom-coded website becomes a tool with which one can develop the concept and visual language of the identity, for instance; the entire creative process is intertwined.

M.K.One good comparison is the way in which we deal with type design. If we would estimate the value of a custom-designed typeface that the client didn’t explicitly request, what would we charge? 50 per cut? Or 20,000? We put a lot more energy into the design than we could possibly recover in charges because it is custom-made but was not commissioned as such. Still, by viewing it in perspective as a tool that helps us define and shape a visual language, it becomes less important to charge specifically for that work. Again, the typeface becomes part and parcel of the process, much like coding, all of which helps us find the right visual language for the commissioned project in question.

M.K.Moreover, we don’t have the aim of producing a subsequent retail typeface, which also makes it way easier and faster. These tools are supposed to work within a specific context.

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Detail of a website that generates printable PDFs for posters and flyers. Event information is entered via a simple back end which updates the database, Johnson/Kingston, 2015.

D.C.That’s a very interesting take on the status of tools within your creative process. How would you actually describe creative coding?

I.W.Creative coding is applicable within a graphic design context if you use programming, not as a trained engineer would, but rather as a tool to solve a problem, but without actually having an outcome or particular rules in mind beforehand. I would define it as a sketchy way of working with programming languages.

M.K.I am not a professional programmer; I have a DIY approach to code, and use it to expand the field of possibilities open to me. You question established working processes far more when you do not really know what the established working processes actually are. In our case it is mostly about not being afraid to just experiment and try out things we have not done before.

D.C.Do you see the development of a kind of creative coding movement in Switzerland or even internationally? Or would you say it still remains a niche practice?

M.K.In my opinion the movement is growing. It is comparable to type design: a couple of years ago there were just a few small type foundries, and now they have popped up everywhere because the software has made it very accessible and knowledge of type design is spread more widely. I think the same happens in coding. There are a lot more practices that rely on code than there were even a few years ago. Increasing numbers of graphic designers have developed an understanding of coding tools. There is a trend, I don’t know if you could call it a movement, but it is similar to what happened in the field of type design, and now everybody is designing typefaces.

M.K.In the near future, I think every graphic designer will work with code in some way, even if only for minor automation tasks within a print project.

I.W.Also, coding knowledge spread much more easily over the last few years through platforms like Stack Overflow, for example. If you have code-related questions, you get plenty of answers there. The fascination for new technologies today tends to push people to explore creative coding as well, and the community just keeps growing.

D.C.So, to close the loop of our discussion, I wanted to return to an important point about the Poster Town book project. You mentioned that you did not control all the design decisions in this process, but rather let an algorithm handle a portion of the design job. Was it difficult to surrender a portion of your authorship to the program, to relinquish control?

I.W.In a way, it’s pretty boring to just sit back and say “ok, we will do it like this or that” and then take credit for all these man-made decisions. In terms of this project, it was more interesting to be influenced by the computer and the community as well in order to include them in the mix of the design process.

D.C.Johnson/Kingston, thank you so much for sharing this really nice moment together.

I.W.Thanks for having us.



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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Animalia: A 2069-page book containing all 1.5 million currently classified animal species of the taxonomic kingdom Animalia, self-published, 2011.
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Poster Town: Contemporary poster design in Lucerne, Johnson/Kingston, 2017.
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Website B-Sides Festival. Johnson / Kingston, 2016.
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Detail of a website that generates printable PDFs for posters and flyers. Event information is entered via a simple back end which updates the database, Johnson/Kingston, 2015.

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