Until recently, the software available to designers was rather static in nature. Driven by the promise of What You See Is What You Get (wysiwyg) and inspired by ways of working that predate the computer, the full potential of computers as programmable devices remained unexplored, as the main mode of working continued to be manual.

With the advent of programming platforms aimed at designers and artists, a new way of working emerged, where the formulation of processes in software became the predominant method. But most of these platforms now focused solely on generative processes where the produc­tion of imagery was delegated to such software agents., launched in 2002 by Jürg Lehni and continuously developed since, takes a different approach. By nesting itself into Adobe Illustrator, a software that is already part of the daily workflow of many designers, it combines both methods and allows for a symbiotic relation­ship between conventional ways of working and the new possibilities offered by programming.

In a series of workshops held by Jürg Lehni and Jonathan Puckey at the ECAL University of Design in Lausanne, Switzerland from 2008 to 2011, this work method was repeatedly tested and improved.

After an introduction to Scriptographer, JavaScript and vector geometry, the students develop a series of drawing tools that form a coherent visual world. By continuously switching between code and design, the tools are allowed to influence their designs and vice versa. The results, a selection of which is shown on these pages, often have a surprising aesthetic, sharing qualities of manual drawings and digital automatisms.


Jürg Lehni, Jonathan Puckey

Jürg Lehni (Lucerne, 1978), studied at ETH Zurich, Hyper Werk Basel and ECAL Lausanne. He lives and works in London. Working collaboratively across different disciplines, his work often deals with the notion of tools and the potential of industrial and technological processes. This interest has lead to projects in various fields, a partnership with the Swiss type foundry and a research residency at Sony’s SET Laboratory, Tokyo. He has lectured and conducted work­shops at Yale University School of Art; The Gerrit Rietveld Academy; ECAL Lausanne and The Royal College of Art, London. Recent exhibitions include Things to Say, Kusnthalle St. Gallen, Switzerland; A Recent History of Writing and Drawing, ICA, London; Design and the Elastic Mind, MoMa, New York.

Jonathan Puckey (Amsterdam, 1981) is an independent graphic designer living and working in Amsterdam. More often than not, his work involves a mix between programmed automation and the intuition of the designer. He plays with the inherent limitations of print design and the perceived limitless possibilities of program­ming. He is one of the founding members of Conditional Design, a design manifesto for artists and designers that focuses on designing processes instead of final results. He currently teaches interactive design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and is a critic in graphic design at the Yale University School of Art.

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