Processing Culture

Can we reimagine the future of design and foster inclusivity in the present? And is our drive to advance ourselves technologically deepening the divide between those that can program and those that can’t? What will be lost if not everyone can contribute?

Reading | Ben Fry and Casey Reas, Processing

If the tools are there then we will use them or have access to them. This is the line of thinking that keeps reappearing for me in topics dealing with visual processing and open-source structures. But despite all of the innovations to make these tools more accessible to visual thinkers, there are still cultural roadblocks that are preventing people including myself from contributing to these collaborative ways of working. What are the cultural factors that contribute to these barriers? How do we join a community that even outside of a computer science context seems intimidating? Maybe, as designers, we should address inclusivity before we tackle the software.

Reading | Wim Crouwel, Type Design for the Computer Age In Wim Crouwel’s piece, Type Design for the Computer Age, I was immediately struck by this idea of typography needing to fit a period in time and his argument that typography of today is stuck in the past. That we as a society have failed to progress typography and communication to where it fits the current time and technology we have available. Even if we push the needle in this area and extend our thinking with regards to typeface design, I still see the value of traditional means of communication, that is the value of a handwritten note or letter of correspondence.

According to Wim, writing in the future as we know it, will no longer be necessary. This view not only ignores the tactile nature of humans but the process of writing itself and the role typography has to play. Despite computers simplifying the process, the act of writing is personal and grounding. Without handwritten communication, how do we maintain our connections to culture, display our emotion, and feel a sense of place? What will we lose if we adopt new ways of communicating? This scenario only highlights the need for diversity in the computer science field. We will only improve communication if we have representation of those most vulnerable to change and think about the cultural impacts of innovative technology.

Articles that address Open Source Culture:

Global software development and collaboration: barriers and solutions
Is Open Source Open to Women?