Typeface design education from Cooper Union
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Python for Visual Designers
with David Jonathan Ross

Designers use tools to help us get our work done, but we rarely consider how much these tools can box us into certain processes and solutions in our work. Creating our own tools can lead us down new and unexpected avenues in our designs: some of the best visual ideas can come about by setting up some boundaries — a color palette, a typeface or two — and then running wild within the system. And 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.

With no programming experience necessary, 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 as a starting point 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 zines and animated gifs.


Required Materials


  • A Mac running OS 10.9 (Mavericks) or newer, or PC*
  • A fast enough internet connection for video calls
  • This class will be held online, so a Zoom app is advisable

*Please note: TheDrawBot app we use in this course is only available on Mac OS, but if you do not have a Mac, it could be possible to take this course using the Drawbot-Skia python package via the command line. Please contact us if you wish to do this, as several features are not yet available.

A link to join the Zoom meetings and a Slack group will be emailed to enrolled students a day or two before the first session.

Class size will be limited to 16 student to insure plenty individual feedback.

Registration is now closed

When:
Wed, October 4 – Wed, November 1, 2023

Number of sessions: 5

Where: Online


About David Jonathan Ross

Cooper bio
David Jonathan Ross draws letters of all shapes and sizes for custom and retail typeface designs. A native of Los Angeles, He began drawing typefaces at Hampshire College and joined The Font Bureau in 2007 where he honed his bézier-wrangling skills. Now he publishes his designs at his own foundry, DJR, as well as working on projects with Type Network and developing display faces for his Font of the Month Club. You’ll find him in Western Massachusetts with his partner Emily and their two dogs, Sophie and Lily.