The weeks leading up to a speaking event my nerves will inevitably begin to shake; I bite my lip uncontrollably, my mood swings from ecstatic to horrified and back again, whilst sleep becomes entirely out of the question. Soothing these nerves just before I step onto the stage and find these strangers staring back at me is difficult work.
The book jackets flipped by, one after another, up on the projector in front of us. Pitch-perfect typographic settings and allusions to other graphic material presented themselves and struck the balance between describing the story of their contents whilst experimenting and drawing something new to the table.
Last week I wrote about a new method for setting type by using Sass maps. In summary I argued that font-size and line-height settings can be tied to specific fonts for ease of use when writing a lot of code.
Typographica has published their favourite typefaces from the past year and so I’ll be spending the next couple of days carefully bookmarking and reading each of them in turn. In his now familiar and charming way Stephen summarises the collection:
“Gutenberg considered the counter space, letter space, and line space. Every paragraph, whether written or printed, has these white spaces in it. But they don’t have to be thought of in isolation...”
“We dream of a library of literature created by everyone and belonging to no one, a library that is immortal and will mysteriously lend order to the universe, and yet we know that every orderly choice, every catalogued realm of the imagination, sets up a tyrannical exclusion.”
... a script occasionally proves to be more like a brand, or indeed like a prison tattoo, re-engraved on the brain with every letter written and every letter read.
In Six Memos for the Next Millennium Italo Calvino outlines all of the attributes and properties of great writing that he believed ought to thrive into the distant future of literature
Trying to keep the number of book recommendations to a minimum is difficult when I keep stumbling over novels by Ellen Ullman. This time it’s The Bug, a story about programming, information theory and obsession.
In moving to the next generation of consoles I’ve found that it’s somehow managed to fill me with a deep and bitter sadness. This is mostly thanks to the ‘Library’ menu which is hidden amongst the rest of the interface of the Playstation 4, yet it’s not the questionable typography or arrangement of its icon that bothers me about this feature though
I can’t stop thinking about this story from the latest issue of Codex magazine where an upcoming designer visits Herb Lubalin’s studio and began to wonder at all the facets and inner-workings of this celebrated graphic design agency in New York.
This time last year I was a pup. I had never used Sass before, I didn’t know what the shell was and the DOM was a ghostly, nightmarish thing that infiltrated my dreams.
These pages that hijack the scroll might look like slides from shiny keynote presentations but as websites they are the usability equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.
She spent her days ordering circles, squares and rectangles of color on a page. In her dreams however, in that alternate universe where she might become anything else at a moment’s notice, she believed that similar operations could be performed on breathing, heart-beating patients.
Whenever I watch a movie or a tv show set in the past I like to wonder how the same event might take place but under more technically advanced circumstances.
Here are some quick fire notes I’ve been making over and over again at speaking events and larger conferences. This isn’t a ‘I know better than you’ post – it’s simply a reminder for whenever I do my own talks.
This week I came across an interesting design problem: how do you make an SVG that’s being used as a background-image respond to the width of its container, yet also scale its height depending on the child elements within?
From cyborgs and toasters with personalities to community infrastructure and feeling the deep, moaning rumbles of an organ's infrasound – the talks were a delicate sequence of heart wrenching delight, mechanical whimsy and straight up nerd love.
This is a summary of my talk from our first Erskine Breakfast, a new kind of event where we invite two speakers round for a quick chat about web design and development. This week we discussed modularity, both in terms of designing components instead of pages and the best practices behind creating front-end interfaces.
During my holiday I went back to the town I grew up in and listened to the sirens from the Blitz that are still operational and are tested once a week.
I wanted to write a little bit about a new process I’ve been working on for developing sites and maintaining large Sass projects, but first I think it’s worth taking a look at how it all came together.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how we obsess over our tools instead of the general principles they’re built on top of. We pay for these things, we retweet posts about them, but most importantly we idolise them and I think this might hurt us all in the long run.
As a kid I ignored all of the computers around me, and opportunity after opportunity slipped by where I could have learned more about them. Yet most of my favourite things from my childhood came through those screens, were generated behind that imposing curtain of beige plastic.
A small review of Fred Smeijers’ typographic classic on the mostly forgotten and covert practice of punching typefaces. Due to the lack of primary sources he’s forced to take up the old tools and theorise as to how these craftsman performed their work.
An article in the Paris Review forced me to look back at the books that have impacted my work the most over the years and I wonder how much of my reading should be planned and organised in the future.
After a few months of using Readmill as my primary go-to reading app, I wanted to break down all the reasons why this startup is nailing it in this often miserable and overcrowded space.
A short story of a room I loved as a kid; learning how to communicate and realising that I was going to spend my life in a perpetual state of overactive dream-sharing.
How much can web designers learn from the recorded history of old, underground print shops and forgotten typographers? A review of Robin Kinross’ delightful book about the history of typographic practice.
If we’re serious about designing progressively enhanced then we need to start designing websites without assumptions, starting with the overused argument that we should be thinking type-first.