Procedural writing.

This project began purely experimentally. I'd heard a few things about a mysterious IDE/ programming language combo called Processing, and I decided to try it out. I've been interested in the procedural writing of an artist called Atticus Bones for a long time, and an attempt at emulating his work was my first port of call.

Initially, I wrote a simple function which draws grids of 3x3 and 4x4 'tiles', and randomises which ones it colours in. I added another function which re-draws all the tiles each time the mouse is clicked.

I added a function which takes those grids of tiles, and connects some of them at random to form more complex lines. I was surprised by how quickly 'letters' became recognisable within the randomness. I also rewrote all the code from scratch, because it got bloated.

To see what would happen, I disabled drawing the tiles altogether and drew only the connections between them, as lines. This ended up being quite interesting, and lent itself quite well to pareidolia.

I cable tied a pen to a 3D printer and got it to draw some procedural glyphs in analogue form, too. For a few reasons, the printer didn't lift the pen from the paper while moving between glyphs, so a series of accidental connections was drawn as well. I'm not distraught about that.

At this point, I'd posted all of the above images on Twitter and was revelling in the positive feedback they'd been getting. One person who expressed an interest was my friend Ian Battaglia, a writer and photographer whose work I've admired for some time. After a short conversation, I offered to repurpose the procedural glyphs into a custom icon font for use on his website.

At first I was just going to redraw the generative symbols in my font editor, but I got slightly carried away. I added some which looked similar and followed the same grid, but I hid the initials 'IJB' in them. I drew Ian's Monochromatic logo in the same style, although I changed the proportions slightly so it'd look better when viewed at smaller sizes (narrow lines drawn close together tend to look awkward or blurry; I gave the circle some extra breathing room because of this).

The last three weren't procedural, but were an attempt to fit in a little more with Monochromatic's visual style. The body copy there is set in Anonymous Pro, which is rigidly monospace but still quite rounded, so I went for some less blocky, more circular symbols.

Ian was kind enough to interview me about my work. You can read that interview, and see live examples of the final glyphs, on his website.