My favourite things from the Louvre Abu Dhabi were Cy Twombly's Untitled I-IX paintings. They're structured but chaotic and beautifully imperfect.

Twombly created similar pseudo-writing (his description) art throughout his life and his earlier iterations are simpler and more like something I could understand and replicate in code. This is my first attempt at an algorithmic Twombly.

In projects like this the good stuff is in the code producing unexpected results. And getting instant visual feedback (see Bret Victor's Inventing on Principle) is the fastest way to interesting. Pushing the parameters to the extreme generates something more unexpected and original.

This Twombly is formed from rows of interconnected Bézier curves intended to look like joined up 'e' characters. The parameters control the exact position of the anchor and control points in those curves, ensuring they're not all identical. The maths to create the curves (and keep them resembling 'e' characters) was laborious. It was done on graph paper with a calculator and is the main reason I've only used a single character.

The background is intended to resemble chalk and was based on Tyler Hobbs' simulated watercolour, which is the best combination of a brilliantly clever yet simple idea.

For the next iteration I'd like to generate the curves automatically, perhaps from reverse engineering some hand drawn characters. I'd also like to switch from pencil lines to fountain pens or paint brushes. One of the joys of Twombly's Untitled I-IX series are the drips, splashes and messiness of the paint. You don't get that from my somewhat clinical version.

Algorithmic Twombly

My favourite things at the Louvre Abu Dhabi were Cy Twombly's Untitled I-IX paintings. They're structured but chaotic and beautifully imperfect.

Flow-vis for Net-A-Porter

What does a day's trading at Net-A-Porter look like? Taking inspiration from Formula 1's use of flow-vis paint, I came up with a visualisation for a YNAP hackday.

YNAP Hackday Poster

The most significant colours sampled from the product images of the top 1024 clothing products on Net-A-Porter, organised by hue.

Should Have Been Listening to Phoebe Bridgers

Spotify's Wrapped is very shareable but what if it took a longer term view? What if it considered the full thirteen years I've been with Spotify?

My Favourite Net-A-Porter Colour is Black

Net-A-Porter's Spring Summer 2022 marketing campaign, "Go for Bold", centred around a collection of colourful products. Marketing wanted to add a technology element and one idea was to use palettes as a route to finding products. Ultimately this was binned, but I built it anyway.

Has Roger Federer Perspired?

That Roger Federer does not sweat had become ingrained thinking, the sort of idea we were looking to challenge. Was it real or just a lazy cliche? We had IBM’s Wimbledon match data for all the top players and using Weather Underground we pulled in temperature data for those matches. This let us see the number of matches played by player and temperature.

Physical Web and Physical Meetings

As an experiment in using the Physical Web I wanted to create a voting system for physical meetings. A meeting would have a current question and attendees could vote with one click. There would be no entering URLs, downloading apps, or scanning QR codes.


I'm Darren Shaw. I work as a software engineer at a tiny bank in London. I previously worked at Net-A-Porter and IBM. These are my side projects. Away from work I also play at being a portrait photographer.