Designer and intelligent idiot (his words) Frank Chimero updated his personal site, creating a homey location for his digital self to live. He found inspiration in the work of the Eames, wanting something that felt modern but lived in, that you could see the fingerprints of the maker on the site itself.
I wanted something homey. Better yet: homely. Americans think of homely as something that’s unhandsome, maybe even ugly. But the Brits observe the root “home,” since they invented the damn language. Homely, for them, is like a house: familiar, comforting, easy. There’s a rightness to it. For me, the Eames house is homely, because they filled it to the gills with the things they loved. How great would it be to have that online, where you would not run out of shelves? It’s an old dream, and one that’s still alive, but we’ve outsourced it. I think that shelf belongs at home.
It’s certainly interesting on a conceptual level, and I think he does achieve his goal, but I think it could have been cool to see more charming details scattered throughout. Perhaps more charming fonts? Wing dings used for dividers? Subtle textures here and there, like dusty corners of an attic? If Frank has truly built himself a home on the web, I hope he keeps adding on to it and building it into something even more charming and lovely.
If you follow me on Twitter you might know that I moved to London last September. You might also know that since then I’ve had nothing but trouble trying to get an Internet connection set up in my home. Fortunately, last week I finally got everything up and running and to mark my triumphant return to the world of the Internet I went a little crazy and shared 30 of my favourite websites on Twitter.
The majority of them are single-serving sites. Some are very useful while others, others just plain entertaining. Bobby enjoyed the list so much that he suggested I share it with you. So, without much further ado, I present (in no particular order) 30 great links for your enjoyment.
The Tumbler is a “simple physics simulation/meditation/relaxation experiment” created by Andrew Hoyer which has left me totally enraptured. This beautiful code experiment uses a series of shapes which, when they touch, make lovely little sounds. You can then speed up or slow down the shapes which then changes the pitch of the sound the shapes make. The slower sounds are extremely pacifying, like something you can put on another screen and chill out.
It might come as a surprise, but I don’t read a lot of design blogs. In fact, the one site I visit most is Daring Fireball, a blog devoted primarily to the discussion of Apple (with a side helping of Stanley Kubrick trivia). His ability to piece together stories and articles is always enjoyable, and though he tends to keep his posts relatively short his more verbose posts are always insightful and cut through the bullshit. That all said there’s one big problem I have with Daring Fireball: it’s not responsive.
In 2014, responsive design seems like a must. Gruber himself states that 41.62% of his traffic comes from iOS yet he has no tablet or mobile optimized views for his site. For a site that talks a lot about technology and the web, doesn’t this seem obvious like an obvious move? So I decided to pull a “no one asked you to” redesign to see if I could improve the reading experience of Daring Fireball on tablets and mobile.
Earlier today Squarespace launched a new feature to their site called Squarespace Logo, a WYSWIG editor that allows people to create their own logos. Within minutes my Twitter stream (of mostly designers) was a flood of snark and anger, some claiming that the company had “badly fucked up” and that it “perpetuates design as throwaway“. Of course, as designers, everyone had to start using the logo maker to make “Fuck you Squarespace” logos, because that’s constructive. Deep breaths everyone, deep breaths.
Historically, most forms of art have some sort of “disruption”. Digital cameras turned everyone into a photographer, Photoshop turned everyone into a designer, and now Squarespace is stealing the food from your children’s mouths. Here’s what’s really happening. They’ve created a tool that let’s non-designers and people who don’t know designers create a simple mark for their business. This is a tool for people who don’t have the money to hire people like us to make them fancy logos. Hell, maybe they don’t even have the fancy taste level we designers have. And that’s ok.
A big part of being a designer is being confident in your skills and knowing that people will hire you for those skills. If you feel like a computer program can do the same level of work that you’re currently doing maybe that’s a signal to brush up on those skills? I think this tweet by Derek Huber sums things up rather nicely, “They may have the tools, but that doesn’t give them taste that we, as designers, sharpen and hone”. Well said.