Visual code designers; the right / left brain dillema.
A new kind of designer is emerging on the face of the new mediums of technology and information. Mobile devices, tablets, the proliferation of connectivity and the open source democratization are some of the reasons for this new paradigm.
We are used to think that designers often work mainly with the right side of the brain and programmers work exactly with the opposite hemisphere (check out the right brain / left brain inventory ). There is a clear gap between the two but sooner or later someone will have to cross the line, so the only question is who will do it first.
On the one hand its easier for programmers to learn the tools of design, while its harder for designers to learn programming. On the other hand design is not about using tools, it’s a whole way of thinking, being the tools just the last step to accomplish a project.
While designers present miss structured thinking in general, programmers don’t show many signs of having an extensive visual culture, but we start to find places where these two qualities overlap seamlessly. Examples of this new kind of mix between coder/designer can be found on the work of joshua davis, Robert Hodgin, FIELD, Glenn Marshall with tools like Cinder, Processing and Flash.
But while many may argue that in fact there’s no need for this new kind of positioning as you already see designers working in collaboration with programmers when building websites and applications, the math gets more complicated when you start speaking about interactive motion graphics and creative coding. How can this kind of image and interaction be explained to a programmer without knowing how to do it, or if its even feasible?
As a matter of fact even for a coder/designer its hard to mix the two disciplines at the same time, as the brain keeps jumping from one mode to the other (when you are coding you often make awful design mistakes that you would avoid if there was no coding involved). So one of the most important traces for this task is experimentation. You try several modifications to the code without a complete knowledge of how it will turn up (about 95% bad stuff, but with awesome results every now and then), and you think at the same time how to code the image/animation you have in your head. Much like a 2 way street that needs to be walked over and over, back and forth to get to your destiny.