A system and method for interactive design of user manipulable graphic elements. A computer has display and stored tasks wherein the appearance of graphic elements and methods for their manipulation are defined. Each graphic element is defined by at least one figure specification, one mask specification and one map specification. An interactive display editor program defines specifications of said graphic elements. An interactive program editor program defines programming data and methods associated with said graphic elements. A display program uses the figure, map and mask specifications for assembling graphic elements upon the display and enabling user manipulation of said graphic elements.