Designers writing custom code

From Designing Programs by Casey Reas and Chandler McWilliams.

Writing software is something that’s not typically associated with the work of a visual designer, but there’s a growing number of designers who write custom software as a component of their work. Over the last decade, through personal experience, we’ve learned many of the benefits and pitfalls of writing code as a component of a visual arts practice, but our experience doesn’t cover the full spectrum. Custom software is changing typography, photography, and composition and is the foundation for new categories of design practice that includes design for networked media (web browsers, mobile phones, tablets) and interactive installations. Most importantly, designers writing software are pushing design thinking into new areas.

The asked a number of designers the impetus for writing their own software, and how it has impacted their work.

Associated Press rebrand

Objective Subject's AP logo evolution

AP has a new look for the first time in thirty years. The creative system for the rebrand was developed by Brooklyn design firm Objective Subject.

Our iterative process generated an option with a red underscore, which we dubbed ‘the prompt,’ that evokes AP’s emphasis on editorial rigor and precise and accurate approach. Setting the letterforms in black on a white backdrop proved to further highlight these values, while improving contrast and legibility. Using a consistently white backdrop further improved the strength of e mark in the variety of environments it needs to live in.

We retained the original logo’s stencil lettering, which embody the gutsy and adventurous personality of an international news organization. Redrawing the letters upright speaks to AP’s integrity, while lending a more contemporary feel to the mark.

Be sure to check out the process video to get a feel for the brand mark’s development.

The AP has more information in the form of a dry press release (imagine this is the look they’re trying to avoid). They also have a placeholder up for their new website, with a link to a PDF of the brand introduction, which features the following image detailing the evolution of the logo.

AP logo evolution

Congratulations to my friends at Objective Subject on a great job. Look forward to seeing the new system in the wild.