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id 11cb
authors Oguzhan Özcan
year 2004
source Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference of Mathematics & Design, Special Edition of the Journal of Mathematics & Design, Volume 4, No.1, pp. 199-203.
summary Many people believe that mathematical thought is an essential element of creativity. The origin of this idea in art dates back to Plato. Asserting that aesthetics is based on logical and mathematical rules, Plato had noticed that geometrical forms were “forms of beauty” in his late years. Unlike his contemporaries, he had stressed that the use of geometrical forms such as lines, circles, planes, cubes in a composition would aid to form an aesthetics. The rational forms of Plato and the rules of geometry have formed the basis of antique Greek art, sculpture and architecture and have influenced art and design throughout history in varying degrees. This emphasis on geometry has continued in modern design, reflected prominently by Kandinsky’s geometric classifications .

Mathematics and especially geometry have found increasing application in the computer-based design environment of our day. The computer has become the central tool in the modern design environment, replacing the brush, the paints, the pens and pencils of the artist. However, if the artist does not master the internal working of this new tool thoroughly, he can neither develop nor express his creativity. If the designer merely learns how to use a computer-based tool, he risks producing designs that appear to be created by a computer. From this perspective, many design schools have included computer courses, which teach not only the use of application programs but also programming to modify and create computer-based tools.

In the current academic educational structure, different techniques are used to show the interrelationship of design and programming to students. One of the best examples in this area is an application program that attempts to teach the programming logic to design students in a simple way. One of the earliest examples of such programs is the Topdown Programming Shell developed by Mitchell, Liggett and Tan in 1988 . The Topdown system is an educational CAD tool for architectural applications, where students program in Pascal to create architectural objects. Different examples of such educational programs have appeared since then. A recent fine example of these is the book and program called “Design by Number” by John Maeda . In that book, students are led to learn programming by coding in a simple programming language to create various graphical primitives.

However, visual programming is based largely on geometry and one cannot master the use of computer-based tools without a through understanding of the mathematical principles involved. Therefore, in a model for design education, computer-based application and creativity classes should be supported by "mathematics for design" courses. The definition of such a course and its application in the multimedia design program is the subject of this article.

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