What is a Symbol?

Data-Design Dictionary
A dictionary to illuminate data-driven generative design and creative coding.


Generative design is a method of communication design that makes it possible to generate symbols and elements for communicative needs through the use of rules. All the decisions that the machine can make in the generative process are subject to the symbols and rules previously provided to it by creative creators. Since the program can only work with quantitative data, but the brand or product stories that emerge from it are to be designed for and understood by humans, the initially ‘sterile’ quantitative data must be given qualitative meaning through shaping, arrangement and movement. This communicative task requires the ability of designers to formulate a specific symbol or vocabulary for each campaign that, through the design, results in a narrative that recipients can follow as easily as possible without prior knowledge. In the context of data-driven generative design, symbols serve to give the data underlying the system a form and a meaning within the story to be told by the brand or product.

The bigger picture of designing and branding with data: