After years of hunting, I had yet to find a book on generative design that was as arresting and powerful as the medium itself. Finally, that book is here—and it is incredible. But it’s also.... —in French!?!? (The plot thickens...)
Generative design, (quoth Wikipedia), “is a design method where the output—image, sound, architectural models, animation, etc.—is generated by a set of rules or an Algorithm, normally by using a computer program.” You can design anything from a skyscraper to a typeface using generative design and processing techniques. You’ve almost certainly seen the results of generative design in action somewhere, and you can expect to see a whoooole lot more of it in the future. Processing is increasingly becoming a tool that designers will need to be familiar with, if not proficient in.
I was lucky enough to be in Paris on business this past Spring when I stumbled across this gorgeous tome in the bookstore of the Pompidou. When I first cracked it open my heart leapt. The image reproductions are incredible, the selection is wide, and the complexities, beauty and infinite possibilities of generative design are all captured on the page.
...And then my heart sank when I realized that the text was in French, a language that, regrettably, I do not speak. (After a bit a research I discovered that the original edition was in German, which is pictured here. The book’s title in English translation would be: Generative Design : Designing, Programming, Visualizing with Processing.)
But, thankfully, all was not lost....
What I realized while reviewing my lucky find in the Pompidou was that the language barrier didn’t seem to matter as much as I had first feared. Ultimately, the presentation of material in Generative Design is so thoughtful and considered, and the hierarchy of typography is so clear, that the book’s written content still manages to illuminate the visual content—and damn well.
That said, if you are an English-language publisher of quality art and design books.... PUBLISH THIS BOOK!!! And in the meantime, the rest of us should all immediately add our names to a list requesting an English edition. It will actually make an impact! The two existing editions are online here and here, for those of you with French and German Amazon accounts, respectively.
The book’s authors—designers Hartmut Bohnacker, Benedikt Groß, Julia Laub, and Claudius Lazzeroni, (ed.)—deserve great praise for their achievement. They’ve not only produced an excellent survey of this burgeoning field, but an example of exceptional book design as well.