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Expanding the Fields of Creativity Through Programming. Programming as a Means to Enhance the Entwurfsphase of the Design Process

Today we find ourselves increasingly surrounded by algorithms when working on devices with screens. This brings about new challenges, such as the ever-evolving definition of design and a need for changes in product design. As a society, we spend a tremendous amount of time on-screen; thus, digital design becomes essential. These digital design products all have one thing in common though: they are basically built on programming languages.
The Entwurfsphase of design has always included systematic as well as experimental aspects that can be understood as a creative form of expression.
The intent of this thesis is both to integrate this creative aspect and provide a supplemental tool for the discovery stage of the design process, exploring the space in-between computer science and art.
Throughout history, people have supported the idea that science and art go hand in hand. However, neither science nor design alone have the power to create something beautiful; but as soon as science and design converge, beautiful things start to happen (Follet, 2018). New technologies benefit the arts and artists, creating new tools, modes and styles of expression (Hertzmann, 2018). Besides, “art challenges technology, technology inspires art” (Catmull and Wallace, 2014).
This thesis aims to translate the Entwurfsphase of the design process into the realms of programming. The outcome is a creative approach to coding that enables a novel and dynamic idea-generating method that can be split into two parts; one being logical and the other experimental and intuitive. This process involves reverse-engineering techniques and allows the creator to save sketches as well as step back and observe a variety of outcomes at any given stage in order to critically evaluate things with utmost efficiency.
Programming opens up doors beyond the limitations of the somewhat static computer-aided design, allowing the designer to write specialized software for a specific purpose.
Such technical benefits allow users to establish a closer interaction with a computer and, thereby, also with a design. Leveraging computer capabilities through programming allows for the creation of visuals that might not be achievable by hand.
The ability to save and retrace at any given time during this process allows for the added benefit of quickly building an archive. Such efficiency facilitates the creative process by freeing up more time for exploration rather than final production. Mathematics, mainly trigonometric functions, appear to be crucial to this creative process, enabling motion design and more.
A designer is by no means redundant or superfluous in this process, while a user directs the experiment through knowledge, expertise, creativity, and intuition, guiding the tool until the desired result is achieved.
This thesis shall constitute additive value to other design processes by indicating new possibilities for creatives. It is inspired by the process taught at the Basel School of Design in the '60s as an interplay of conscious acting with an unpredictable technical aspect. It further encourages the enthusiasm to overcome the initial difficulties of programming by building a framework of learning and growth. The project sheds light on possibilities and potentials we are able to tap into to digitally supplement the creative process.
Basel, 2020

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Paloma López, Jiri Oplatek, Hansmartin Siegrist
Instagram: @christopher.nial
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