It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog, so please don’t mind if I take a paragraph break to blow the dust off the site.
Suffice it to say, it’s been a while. My time was split between Helvetic, and the late We Distinguish. The latter now being put down, I imagine I’ll have some stuff to post here again—not the three posts per week I had been aiming for before, but you know, some stuff.
Actually, this post fits into the category, “some stuff.” Speaking of this post, I should get on with it, shouldn’t I? • • • Read More • • •
I’ve been pretty busy over the last couple weeks, which explains the lack of content on this blog. Last week was Apple’s developer conference, though, so I wanted to publish a few quick thoughts on what they’re planning to do this year. First, I’ll list some things I’m excited about, then some things I’m not too thrilled with. • • • Read More • • •
In order to design a thing well, you have to know what it’s going to be used for. The practice of making generic templates is alright as far as it goes, but for a design to be excellent it needs to be made intentionally for the content.
One thing this implies is that for a website to be well designed at the start, the creator must know what he’s going to do with the website. When I started this website, I honestly wasn’t exactly sure when it would become. I just knew I wanted a place to write.
I actually thought I might be writing a lot of short, 50–100 word posts as commentary on various links. I did this a little at the start, but then tapered off. I also thought my posts would rarely exceed 1,000 words in length. This also proved not to be the case, especially in relation to my Calvinism and the Rest of It series. • • • Read More • • •
I want you to imagine trying to have a conversation with a friend who has a tendency to speak very quietly, so quietly that you almost have to strain to hear him. Now I want you to imagine someone—no, three someones—shouting at you while you try to have this conversation. Last, imagine that a fourth person walking right up to you, between you and your friend, and trying desperately to sell you something you will probably never be interested in.
Putting it mildly, we might call this situation aggravating. But if these obnoxious people were a normal part of every conversation, we’d probably find a way to get used to it. We’d develop ways of quickly dismissing the interrupting salesperson and we’d learn to tune out the shouting. Maybe we’d even develop specially designed hearing aids so we could better hear the one person we’re actually trying to talk to. But I think we can all agree that this scenario would be less than ideal. • • • Read More • • •
Let’s start by ignoring the $10,000 elephant in the room, shall we? Before we evaluate the most expensive Apple watches, we should start by asking why Apple is making a watch at all and if it’s a good idea. Only with that foundation will we be able to make sense out of their decision to make expensive watches. Actually, before we start talking about the Apple watch, let’s talk about watches in general. • • • Read More • • •
Creating a portfolio site has never been that important to me because I’m employed full time right now. I don’t have a lot of free time for side projects, so soliciting my services wasn’t high on my list of priorities.
This has been really nice, though, because I’ve been able to work on this portfolio website for about the last year: refining, redesigning, and tweaking. At last, it’s finished (for now). I’m pretty happy with it and I really hope you’ll like it. Maybe you’ll even want to hire me for something. • • • Read More • • •
Things can exist inside of things, inside of other things, inside of yet more things. As I write this, I’m sitting in a chair, in an apartment, in an apartment complex, in Spokane, in Washington—and on and on I could go. We live in a world that is fundamentally hierarchical and it is often the task of a designer to communicate that hierarchy through visual elements.
We’ve spoken in the past of how important spacing can be for communicating that groups of things are separate, but how do you communicate the names of those groups? How do you make sure that the name of a list doesn’t itself get confused as being something in the list?
• • • Read More • • •
Thus far, we’ve been talking about theory and you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t suggested what tools you should be using to design things. Many design resources require you to use a certain tool or start out by suggesting specific tools, then proceed assuming that you have them. However, I’ve tried to keep these posts as generic as I can so that you can use them with any tool, because you don’t need any special tools to do design. Actually, you can use anything.
You can even use Word.
• • • Read More • • •
As you read this post, your mind is automatically distinguishing between words based on how close the letters are together. Spaces indicate that sets of letters are to be understood apart from one another. Youcertainlycouldreadthingswithoutspaces, but using spaces make everything much more intelligible. • • • Read More • • •
Here’s a great article by Dave Wiskus:
• • • Read More • • •
Recently, Apple popularized the concept of how important it is to say “no” in the world of design, “a thousand no’s for every yes.” Good designers have always known this, but Apple brought it to the attention of everyone when they aired a commercial about their design process. It’s important to know, however, that this isn’t just some trite saying. It’s a very important part of the design process.
• • • Read More • • •
I’m of the opinion that if you need to drive a nail, the best tool is a hammer. You could certainly find any durable, heavy object and get the job done, but you’ll have a much better time using a hammer. Similarly, if you want something designed well, you should hire a designer. A plumber, software developer, painter, or your nephew who
owns pirated Photoshop might get the job done, but it will often feel like driving a nail with an old frying pan. • • • Read More • • •
Given the fact that I’m an American, it might sound crazy that I’m willing to give up a seemingly all-important American value: freedom of choice. But I believe it is possible for choices to become too much to manage. More than that, I believe that this happens with great regularity in the field of software. • • • Read More • • •
It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a typography nerd. It think that it comes from my love of words; it makes sense that I like to see words presented well. That, in short, is what typography is: the art and science of displaying words well. This can be broken up into two parts: legibility and aesthetics. • • • Read More • • •