Interactive Visual Design ARCH11251

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NB This page is currently being revised for 2016-17 session

Semester 1, 20 credits. Course organiser: Jules Rawlinson

Tuesdays 11:10 – 13:00, Hunter Building Lecture Theatre O17, Lauriston Campus (Weeks 2-11)

NB The location for Week 1 is Atrium, Alison House



This course introduces creative coding, a field which uses scripting and visual programming to produce multimedia output. In this course code becomes an accessible medium for creative expression. The course offers an overview of the field of multimedia art and how it has been embedded in commercial practice (e.g. Data Visualisation). The context of the course is formal process and computational thinking, interactivity, interface and engagement. This module provides opportunities for students to gain experience of integrating technologies and manipulating data, of developing generative algorithms and interactive behaviours, and of managing code efficiently from simple scripts to more complex object-oriented approaches, all of which have commercial value. Practical work includes designing interactive and data driven visuals.

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of the critical context of computational art
  • Knowledge of commercial applications for creative coding
  • Ability to generate multimedia using algorithmic techniques
  • Ability to integrate external data and interactive behaviours
  • Ability to understand, plan, implement and evaluate computational process

Lecture Topics

1. Introduction to Interactive Visual Design
2. Infosthetics and Data Visualisation
3. “There Is No Spoon”
4. Principles of Interaction
5. Interactive Art
6. Introduction to Animation
7. Form and Code
8. Dimension
9. Interface
11.Interactive 3D Environments


Coursework is used to assess progress in, and understanding of, the practice of creative coding, and allows students to develop and apply knowledge and skills across the duration of the course as the focus shifts from interactive structures to data visualisation and generative techniques.

  • Submission 1 –
    Interactive 1 -Interface Prototype 50%
  • Submission 2 –
    Interactive 2 – Data Display 50%


In addition to the practical work Submissions 1 and 2 should be accompanied by a written report document (750 words guide length, PDF) briefly outlining concept, motivations, methodology and execution. The report should also contain a brief appraisal/critique of the project, with suggestions as to how, with hindsight, the project may have been improved and how it could be developed in the future.

Project Brief

Information and submission dates are Available on LEARN

Course Aims

This course will push its participants to develop skills in developing non-linear interactions suitable for screen based media

Participation in this course is intended to lead to a deep understanding of the issues encountered in designing for interactive environments, in particular, detailed structuring of interactions.

Participants will develop their own approaches to understanding and interpreting reactive / non-linear environments

The course will expect its participants to keep a record of their design methods and to submit information about their approach along with their practical design work

The course also aims to push designers to develop their creative and expressive voice and to challenge them to apply imaginative and conceptual ideas introduced in lecture and tutorial sessions in order to develop works of interactive design that may end up in their professional portfolio. It also expects its participants to push themselves technically, to attempt to grasp the concepts behind design in non-linear contexts and developing a sophisticated, creative response to the brief and to apply a professional approach to the subsequent development of original assets used in the project.

Finally, the course aims to provide a well defined brief that participants are expected to explore and respond to in imaginative, diverse and creative ways.

Criteria for Assessment

Work will be assessed on the basis of:

  • Demonstrated skills in conceiving, creating and implementing your design work
  • Demonstrated abilities in meeting the requirements of the project brief while imaginatively responding to open-ended design challenges
  • Demonstrated technical competences with design and multimedia production tools
  • Demonstrated management of available resources, including time and technology
  • Demonstrated awareness of contextual and critical relevance
  • Precision and competence in presentation, including well formatted documentation of the work
  • Design quality of the work in terms of meeting functional requirements, legibility, usability, interactivity, and appropriate use of media
  • Account will be taken of the risks taken and degree to which the design deviates from standard solutions.

Please note that assessment will take account of tradeoffs between the above criteria, particularly taking account of the diverse backgrounds of students in the class.

You are encouraged to seek feedback during the development of your work, but please note that adhering to feedback does not guarantee a high assessment of the completed work. Note also that the assessment of the work is not necessarily commensurate with the amount of time spent on the project work.

We will offer constructive feedback on the submissions but cannot give detailed feedback on every detail of the work submitted. Within four weeks of the first submission you will have received short written feedback on your work and a provisional mark, to be confirmed after the exam board in May/June of the year of study.

Tutors may refer to the risks taken in response to the brief, the conceptual approach you’ve taken with your design, the quality and character of the design, the clarity of the written components, and any technical issues that may help you in future.

Tutors will scale grades and refer to University’s Common Marking Scheme:

The issues of design interactivity and its evaluation will be further canvassed in Media and Culture.


Bolter, JD & Grusin R (2000) Remediation: Understanding New Media, Cambridge MA:MIT Press

Bohnacker, H et. al. (2012) Generative Design, Princeton: Princeton Archtectural Press

Colson, R (2007) The Fundamentals of Digital Art, Lausanne:AVA

Dunne, A (2005) Hertzian Tales: Electronic products, aesthetic experience, and critical design, Cambridge MA:MIT Press

Greene, R (2004) Internet Art, London:Thames & Hudson

Klanten, R et al.(2011) A Touch of Code, Berlin:Gestalten

Lister, M et al. (2009) New Media: A critical introduction (2nd Ed.), New York: Routledge

Maeda, J (2004) Creative Code, London:Thames & Hudson

Maeda, J (2000) Maeda@Media, London:Thames & Hudson

McIver Lopes, D (2010) A Philosophy of Computer Art, New York: Routledge

Moggridge, B (2007) Designing Interactions, Cambridge MA:MIT Press

Paul, C (2008) Digital Art, London:Thames & Hudson

Reas, C & McWilliams, C (2010) Form + Code, New York: Princeton Architectural Press

Rush, M (2005) New Media in Art,  London:Thames & Hudson

Schiffman, D (2012) The Nature of Code –

Schiffman, D (2015) Learning Processing –

Wands, B (2006) Art of the Digital Age, London:Thames & Hudson