This summer I worked at Fathom Information Design. Fathom was founded by Ben Fry, 2011 Cooper Hewitt Interaction Design winner and co-creator of Processing. Processing is an open-source programming environment for teaching computational design and sketching interactive-media software. It provides artists and designers with accessible means of working with code while encouraging engineers and computer scientists to think about design concepts. The best way to describe what processing is all about is it’s mission statement:
Processing seeks to ruin the careers of talented designers by tempting them away from their usual tools and into the world of programming and computation. Similarly, the project is designed to turn engineers and computer scientists to less gainful employment as artists and designers.
I love that mission statement. I was successfully working as a graphic designer for over 10 years but decided to leave a profitable job and go back to graduate school to see what else design can offer. In the past I’ve been frustrated with the separation of design and programming. Mainstream software created for designers is also extremely frustrating, due to the separation between layout, photography, video, animation, interactivity, and coding. My experience working at Fathom not only broke down the walls between designer and developer but opened my mind to other ways of tackling design through programming and computation. I hope to continue to be tempted away from my usual tools and ideas as I look to the future of design.
This semester I will continue to work at Fathom one day a week on an independent study, Visualizing Data. I plan to incorporate this work into my thesis. More to come on that.
Most importantly, we had a ton of fun working together. Below is a sample of projects I worked on this summer. Enjoy!
Prototype sketch for an iPhone app that covers the human genome and genetic conditions.
A map of world population and density. Each circle denotes the number of people in that area: larger, darker circles show low density areas, and smaller, brighter circles highlight higher densities. The top 20 cities are marked with white outline circles.
Chelsea Football Club team practice and rehabilitation overview.
Last but not least, Rag Time, an interactive typography game. It was really fun working on this project.
The Rag Time game challenges you to fix a bad example of ragged text and make it Swiss-perfect. Rag Time puts you up against the clock to make the best rag you can. Don’t be a Scheisser Rag!