GUI Design project

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New (Jan 16th, 2011): We have a new design proposed by Ben de Silva: Ben's Proposition

New (Feb 10th, 2011): Another design has been proposed by Jon Ovander: Jon's Proposition


The SuperCollider development community invites graphic designers and UI specialists to create a unique and elegant look for its GUI controls (buttons, sliders, knobs, etc.)  Visual coherency of the interface elements is essential for making a good first impression for any Open Source project and for day to day work an elegant and uniform look makes for an inspiring environment.

SuperCollider is a programming language and development environment for real-time audio synthesis and algorithmic composition.  Originally released in 1996, it is now a widely used open source project that runs on Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS and Android.  It is renowned for its audio quality, flexibility and efficiency.  It is widely used by composers, musicians, improvisers and media artists as well as by researchers. It is taught in many universities, and is used in numerous research projects, galleries, concerts and clubs.

However it must be admitted that SuperCollider does not have the sexiest knobs.

Current State of GUI

So far SuperCollider has a reputation for being primarily a text based language without a substantial GUI, and there have been many interesting works done that treat code as an art-form in itself and revel in the use of pure code as an interface.

There does exist a full compliment of standard GUI controls (buttons, sliders, knobs, etc.), but these lack the finesse and visual appeal that inspire artists. GUI interfaces can be written in SuperCollider code to create standard controls (knobs, buttons, faders etc.) and on a custom canvas (like Processing, HTML5 Canvas etc). These interfaces are used in building small applications, performance instruments, for use in installations, and for creating experimental software that are works of art in themselves. There also exist larger applications and specialized libraries that automatically compose GUIs.

The environment has up until now used GUI controls that required separate implementations for different OS, so now a true cross platform GUI is being constructed using the Qt (pronounced "Qute") application framework.  The implementation will give it a uniform look across all platforms (no native widgets) and will give SuperCollider an instantly recognized and distinctive look.

Call for Designs

For this new implementation the development community invites graphic designers and UI specialists to submit designs for the standard elements. The full set of elements that are needed can be seen on this screenshot: GUI ELEMENTS. View the SuperCollider code to generate these elements. Besides the elements in the screenshot, a check box, a radio button and a tabbed view should also be provided.

Entries to this call should be submitted to the SuperCollider GUI Flicker group where members of the SuperCollider community will be able to view and discuss the pros and cons of the design.  The development community also invites any interested party to make contact via supercollidergui@gmail.com and welcomes advice regarding the project from anyone experienced with designing a complete and coherent GUI.

While the designer is invited to be free and create, a few guidelines have been established: SuperCollider GUI Design Guidelines

License: since SuperCollider is open-source (GPL) software, the designs will need to be licensed accordingly - GPL v2 or later.

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