Creative Code as a Medium for Making: Typographic installations


Graphic design graduate students at ECU completed interactive design concepts for large-scale, immersive typographic installations to be on view during the upcoming fall semester. The work was created using the coding language, Processing, which is a flexible, open-source software sketchbook and language for learning how to code. See also: https://processing.org/download to download the processing software. See also: https://processing.org/tutorials for videos to get started with processing.

This project introduced design students to creative code as a medium for making. Creative coding is a method of computer programming in which the goal is to create something expressive instead of something functional through exploration, discover, iteration, and reflection. Tim Rodenbroeker writes: “creative coding is a process, based on exploration and discovery, where code is used as the primary medium to create a wide range of media artifacts. It is a method where the goal is not predefined and the process often yields unexpected results.” See also: What is Creative Coding? by Tim Rodenbroeker.

During the course of the semester, students were introduced to coding concepts and demonstrations to learn the basic foundations of processing before conceptualizing unique design concepts for this project. These foundations included basic drawing and coloring, working with shapes and type, using variables and creating custom functions, creating controls with conditional statements, creating repetition with loops, creating simple and complex motion with waves, using transformations and rotations, creating interaction with mouse and key controls, and experimenting with randomness.

The following images are processing sketches that demonstrate some of these basic foundations of creative coding. This work was created by me as example code for class instruction.


The following design concepts are processing sketches of typographic installations created by graduate students.

The first piece was created by graphic design graduate candidate (2nd year), Amal Abdalla. The work, titled, Empower, surrounds the viewer with inspiring phrases like “Keep it up”, “Look on the bright side”, “Do not give up”, and “See the good on you.” These positive affirmations follow the path of visitors and symbolize the transformative power of positivity and the idea that uplifting thoughts and attitudes truly emanate from within. This piece encourages visitors to embrace the power of positive thinking.

The second piece was created by graphic design graduate candidate (2nd year), Lee Turner. The work, titled, Pluriversal communicates the idea of plurality through numerous pulsating words that aim to visualize different perspectives and backgrounds of different people. These moving words follow the path of visitors and symbolize the different narratives and pathways of people.

This work and others are slated for exhibition next year. More details on the exhibition and work is forthcoming.



2 responses

  1. I posted a few of the student’s work from the spring. Let me know what you think! I’m working on a few of these projects to exhibit this coming fall!

  2. Catherine Walker

    I’d love to see the results ❤️

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