People as pixels

An experiment carried out by John Maeda at MIT (Computational Media Design Course) in 1996. Described in his book Creative Code (p.216):

As a continuation of the collaborative coding process, we attempted an experiment to better understand visual design on the computer. In the atrium of the Media Lab, we rigged up a camera on the fourth floor pointing downward; in the lower lobby, we projected the image seen from above so that the students (as pixels) could see themselves. The idea was that each student took charge and “programmed” the pixels, whether by script or direct commands.

Maeda mentions the source of this idea:

My inspiration for this experiment was a Bauhaus story of an old Master taking his students to the gymnasium to walk on the paths of large circles to graps the form’s essence.


One-line-at-a-time collaborative programming experiment

An experiment carried out by John Maeda at MIT (Computational Media Design Course) in 1996. Description from his book Creative Code (2004):

One day I brought a computer and projector to class. I opened up an empty Java program skeleton, and asked the class to edit the program as a collaborative process, whereby one line of code was entered by each person.


Font Collections

In this assignment, students are asked to create a “Font Collection”: a selection of typefaces related through some concept.

I carried out this assignment during an afternoon (3 hours) in November 2016, at Eracom, Lausanne.

The original project brief can be found here (in French). In short:

Concrètement, chaque groupe aura comme mission de:

  • Sélectionner un ensemble de 10 fontes.
  • Donner un titre à cet ensemble (par exemple: “Ultimate Monospace Type Collection”, “Grotesques et Arabesques”, “Fermentation Belge”, etc). Approchez la chose comme si vous deviez constituer une compilation de musique, une mixtape…
  • Créer un graphique servant de “pochette” à sa collection.
  • Créer un dossier qui contient les fontes (format TTF ou OTF), la pochette (format PNG), et un fichier README.MD avec la liste des 10 fontes, leurs sources, leurs auteurs.
  • Publier la collection sur GitHub.

The results are presented on this site:


20-minute music app

A brief created by Hike One, a digital product design company from the Netherlands:

We gave 32 of our designers the assignment to create a music app in 20 minutes, in teams of 4. Every group was provided with a set of basic music icons and some music related imagery that gave them a head start.

Source: Medium, February 2017.