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Python for Visual Designers

with Maurice Meilleur

Learn the basics of Python in the free MacOS application DrawBot. Create and animate vector art, set type with code, and save your sketches as vector and raster images, videos, and .pdfs.

  • Date
  • Time
  • What Type West Public Workshop
  • Where Online via Zoom
  • Duration 4 sessions, 3 hours each

As designers, we use tools to help complete our work but often don't consider how these tools can box us into certain processes and solutions. Creating our own tools can lead us down new and unexpected avenues in our designs. Some of the best visual ideas come about by setting up some boundaries — a color palette, a typeface or two — and then running wild within the system. Working out a system in code is a great way to explore these ideas: computers love repetition and can quickly make hundreds of variations on a theme, and mistakes in the code can result in something that often looks better than what was originally intended.

No programming experience is necessary for this course, but students should be comfortable doing some arithmetic and basic geometry. Workshop participants will learn the basics of the Python programming language while working in the free DrawBot application for MacOS. A quick sketch made with code in DrawBot can be saved as a .pdf to be finished later in Illustrator. Or, with a little bit more work in the code editor, an entire book, magazine, or animation can be built without even launching Illustrator or InDesign.

Using the fundamentals of the Python programming language, students will sketch to create vector art with code and use the basic principles of design to turn their sketches into PDF documents, animated .gifs, and videos.

Required Materials
  • A Mac running OS 10.9 (Mavericks) or later
  • A fast enough internet connection for video calls
  • This class will be held online, so using the Zoom desktop app is recommended
Diversity and Equity Scholarship 

Diversity and Equity are important to all of us at Letterform Archive, and we are committed to increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups within the type and design communities.

We are offering one BIPOC/Equity scholarship seat in this workshop.

To apply for this scholarship, please complete and submit to us the short form linked here at least a week prior to the start of the workshop.

Maurice Meilleur

Maurice Meilleur is a recovering political theorist turned graphic designer and design researcher and writer. He completed a PhD in political theory from Indiana University Bloomington in 2004, and earned his MFA in graphic design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. He’s an assistant professor of graphic design at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he teaches and studies typography and generative design. He has contributed numerous type and book reviews to Typographica and Fonts in Use. He’s writing a book on Jurriaan Schrofer’s constructed scripts, and he’s presented his research at Robothon, ATypI, TypeCon, the Cooper Union, and the Letterform Archive. Maurice explores digital drawing and animation using Python and Drawbot as part of a larger investigation into typographic representation and algorithmically-defined formal systems.

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