2013 Mar

In Spring 2012 I was invited to give at the Basel School of Design a computational design workshop. The little twist was, that I was asked to tailor the workshop specifically towards poster, book and editorial design. As the Basel School of Design has a long and outstanding tradition in print design, I was really keen to see what potentially could emerge from the combination of computational design and the Basel School of Design print practice.

During pre-planning we agreed that the best tool for the workshop would be Adobe Indesign. Unfortunately while I was preparing the workshop I had to find out, that the Adobe Indesign Scripting API doesn’t target designers as intentioned audience. So I had a hard time to figure out a way, to lower the accessibility to something somebody can grasp immediately. In the end the solution was banal: I wrote a very basic wrapper in the spirit of processing.js for the Indesign javascript API. Now the students could use standard Processing functionsline, text, rect etc. to do their computational design experiments. It turned out to be the right idea.

In the debriefing Ludwig Zeller, Michael Renner, Ted Davis and myself had the feeling that we should try to lift up my little proof of concept to a proper library/toolkit. So we did that. It took us a while, but after nine months of development basil.js was released under the MIT License on February 2013.

The project was realized in collaboration between Visual Communication Institute / The Basel School of Design, Stefan Landsbek (47Nord) and myself. Furthermore the project had fantastic contributors from Frank Weiprecht / Jörg Koch (be:screen GmbH) and Philipp Adrian.

I am looking forward to see what other people will do with basil.js.

Project Website
Basiljs Github Repo


Interview: Grenzverschiebung und Basil.js @ Page Magazine


Interview, Text, “Grenzverschiebung”, Basil.js feature, Page Magazine, June Issue, DE