Happiness Graph

A “graph” of happiness dynamically generated by open-source graphical software

Design Honors Program · Spring 2017 · Art


As a part of the Design, Cultures, Creativity (DCC) Honors Program at UMD, I took a class on software-based graphic design and art. We learned to use a sketchbook software called Processing that uses a modified version of JavaScript to create dynamic visual experiences, such as animations, interactivity, games, and more.

At the time I had just binge-watched multiple seasons of Bojack Horseman, a Netflix comedy/cartoon that tackles deep topics like depression and happiness. When we had an assignment to make something (pretty much anything artistic) in Processing, I wanted to allude to something in the show since I not only enjoyed it but got some meaning out of it as well.

Design & Results

I decided to do some sort of timeline or “graph” that would resemble happiness over time, then worked from there. I included some “diversions” (diagonal lines) in random colors to symbolize different parts of a person’s life, as well as fading triangles to reference something related to a decline. I included some text, an initial question and “answer” regarding happiness, a giant background word “HAPPY”, and a ton of jumbled “happy”‘s concentrated in the lower half of the image. All of the shapes, colors, text, and (most of) their locations/positions were dynamically generated with code in Processing.

Here’s an example of one of the many dynamically-generated images: