The Flat Design Era — LayerVault Blog ›

As a designer I’ve found myself often puzzled and confused at some of the decisions being made lately in the UI’s I use. I have a very sleek glass and aluminium iPhone in my pocket and yet a lot of the apps on it look like a note pad I used to find on my Dad’s desk as a school kid. It doesn’t make sense to me that a product that is so refined on the outside is full of bloated metaphors on the inside. Maybe that’s why this statement is so refreshing:

For many of us, it seems self-evident that you should approach product building with a certain kind of discipline. You cut your product features down to the bone, but you never approach your interface design the same way. Why create a small gem of a product and then weigh it down with design flourishes? The way you design your site should reflect your values — be consistent. Flat design is lean design.

The Web Aesthetic ›

To put it another way, we’re embracing “responsive” but neglecting the second part: “design.” We’re replacing fixed-width divs with fluid ones. As we undergo a period of reassessment, both of our practice and of our tools, now is the right time to seek out an aesthetic that is truer to the medium.

I, like many, love the notion behind responsive web design but one thing I’ve noticed is that more often than not sites start to look the same. With a little more, well maybe a lot more, consideration we can start to produce designs that are appropriate to their medium (aka screen/bandwidth available) rather than just shrinking or collapsing sections of a web page.

iOS 6 and Every-Day Life by Shawn Blanc ›

Today, right now, we’re using the same mobile operating system with the same apps as the guys in Cupertino who dream this stuff up and make it happen.

And it seems to me that there are several things in iOS 6 which reveal just that. This version of iOS is not full of any one amazing new jaw-dropping feature that will have our minds spinning. Instead it’s filled with dozens of little things that will get used by real people ever day. And it will make our lives a little bit nicer and a little bit easier.

This is exactly how iOS 6 feels to me, a steady refinement, sanding off the rough edges and the bits of friction. It’s smoother, a little bit snappier on my iPhone 4 (except for the app store) and just a nice incremental progression.

The iPhone 5 on Daring Fireball ›

iPhone 5 in my hand, this talk of micron-precision, fine watch craftsmanship, and the computerized selection of best-match inlays sounds not the least bit bullshitty or blustery. It simply sounds like an explanation of the level of obsession that it takes to create a mass-produced device that feels this, well, nice.

Of course it’s a disappointment the iPhone 5. Sure sounds like one.

The faces you never see: Apple flies Sir Jony Ive and entire design team to London for D&AD

Sir Jonathan, who for all the acclaim bestowed upon him rarely makes public appearances, collected Apple’s awards for best brand and best design studio at D&AD’s 50th anniversary celebration in Battersea Park.

But rather than let one man take the plaudits, Apple took the unusual step of flying its entire design team over from San Francisco to celebrate the achievement as a group – a notable event given that Apple has seemingly never attended an awards bash before.

A lovely touch from Apple to ensure everyone who played their part in Apple’s design success gets the recognition they deserve as part of the best design team in the world. Congratulations guys.

Things Cloud and Local Push

The cloud sync that is now finally in Cultured Code’s Things is fantastic. This little addition has made it even more awesome, best of all it works like the video shows it does.

That’s where Local Push comes in. Now, every time you make a change on one device, Things sends an encrypted notification of that change across your local network. All your other devices on the same local network pick this up and request the changes from Things Cloud.

In other words — you can have Things open on all your devices, make a change on one of them, and see that change applied on your other devices almost immediately.

One Year Later, the iPad Is Still My Favorite Computer ›

Up until a few weeks ago I’ve often found myself asking the question below:

Why won’t you admit that you can only use the iPad for real work because you’re a writer?

Perhaps one could be justified in asking it. A lot of the people demonstrating the iPad is good for working on tend to be writers, people who just require a text editor and a keyboard to produce something. Of course each time I come across answers similar to this:

I didn’t expect this self-interview to get so combative. But if you’re so sure that the iPad can’t be used for other creative expression, you might want to take it up with people like Cynthia Wick and Glen Mulcahy.

A couple of weeks ago I experienced this first hand. Each summer I do a beach mission in North Wales, every year we end up making things at the last minute to suit the needs which no amount of planning could foresee. This year what was the device I used to do the work? My iPad. My MacBook Pro sat upstairs in it’s case for pretty much the entire time. I wrote talks on my iPad, I made presentations and I planned sessions. My friend, he drew pictures to tell bible stories. Not once did we require a Mac or PC to do it. It was a real eye opener to the power of the iPad as a computer that can be used for work.

So will I leave my MacBook Pro at home next summer? As a freelance designer the only thing that stops me doing this, and perhaps my biggest disappointment with the iPad at the moment, is that there is no software akin to InDesign or Illustrator that would let me. Yet…

The One Where I Announce I’m Now Self Employed

There are some posts you dream about writing, posts you’d love to write but never think you actually will. This is one of those posts.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about change. Changing the way I approached something has lead to exciting guidance and a big change in my career.

It started with a conversation with two very good friends of mine. One asked how work was, then followed it up with a query about what I really wanted to do. The other laughed, asked me a question, set me a challenge and then held me to it. That question lead me to writing the last post about a change of approach, a change which, thanks to Gods guidance is leading to a leap of faith.

What’s the leap?

On Friday 3rd August I worked my last day in full time employment and spent my last day living in sunny (!?) Slough. The following day I moved to Cheltenham, again. A place I attended university and a place that I love being in.

With that move came a change of employment. I am no longer a rat running a race, but instead a man working as a business owner. I’ve finally taken the leap into self employment. Relying on the Lord to supply me with enough work to put food in my stomach and to pay the bills.

For a long time it’s been my ambition to work for myself, even while I was studying at Uni I knew ultimately I wanted to have my own design studio. It nearly happened straight after Uni after a little encouragement from my tutor, but I knew it wasn’t really the right time. There was a lot I still had to learn, well let’s face it there still is. I’ve now been in full time employment for 5 years. I’ve grown a lot, I’ve changed a lot and I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve experienced working for a small company and I’ve experienced working for a larger company. Both were good experiences that taught me many different things, but underneath there was always this desire to have my own company bubbling away.

I’m delighted to say that has now happened. I’ve had a little holiday, moved to a new (old) place and am at the end of my first week of self employment. It’s exciting, a little daunting but feels like the best decision I’ve made. Except that I didn’t make it, God showed me the door and I pushed it. Now I’ve got to continue pushing doors, keep faithful to Him, and work as hard as I can.

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to introduce you to a new name and a new website. Of course this place will still exist and I hope to increase the level of writing, and hopefully build on some friendships that I’ve established through my blog over the years. It’s an exciting adventure, I hope you’ll join me on it!


For the last few years I’ve been praying about something. I’m sure many of you have as well, but this particular thing has occupied my prayers for several years. I’ve been praying about it in the same way for pretty much the entire time, asking for guidance and direction in relation to the thing. During that time the urge to do that thing has grown. One could say its developed into something close to a permanent longing, something that left me unsettled because I’m not doing it and I’ve never really known why.

A recent conversation with a very good friend left me feeling challenged. He asked me a question and laughed at my response because it’s been the same response I’ve given him for the last few years.

My response of course was to question why he was laughing at me, I guess feeling like he wasn’t taking me serious. His response was one which caught me off guard. Instead of answering why he was laughing, he simply asked me how I had been praying about this thing. I told him and after a moments pause he responded with a challenge. Why don’t you pray about it in a different way?

He commented how that as I have been praying for guidance this thing had grown in to a passion and longing, that is to say something more than momentary desire, then maybe I’d had that guidance and it was time to challenge it.

So for the last month I’ve been praying more earnestly and in a different manner. Instead of requesting guidance about the thing, I’ve been praying: Lord, I think you want me to do this, please show me if I’m wrong.

The results have been breath taking, surprising and exciting all at once. A change of events has begun that, I believe, God is using to lead me into doing this thing I’ve been praying about for the last few years. I’m a little apprehensive, but the over riding feeling is one of excitement. This post is not an announcement, yet, but maybe more of a watch this space…

Designing 007 ›

The Barbican marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, from 1962’s Dr No to this year’s Skyfall, with a unique exhibition showcasing the inside story of the design and style of the world’s most influential and iconic movie brand.

I’ll be visiting this look at the 50 years of Bond. I love the style and design that the films ooze, particularly the newer films for Daniel Craig and the older films for Connery.

A Week With iOS Six ›

Of all the announcements Apple made at WWDC last week, iOS 6 is the one which excites me the most. Well, to be more accurate, Siri excites me the most. Chuck Skoda gives an interesting view of one week with iOS 6, further enticing me to upgrade (if I can) when the new iPhone arrives.

Little Thing: Desks on The Brooks Review ›

A timely post by Ben Brooks considering I will be looking for a new desk at some point in the next 8 weeks. Ben highlights three little things to consider when buying a new desk.

Technically, desks are really big things, and most people will take their time in finding one that they like and that fits their office/room. This post isn’t about finding a good desk, it’s about making sure that you look at three little things about desks before you buy your next desk.

Quantum of Solace Typography ›

I caught a portion of the most recent Bond film, Quantum of Solace, the other day. The little intro shots with the name of place written in various fonts really caught my attention, I liked them and just wanted to point you all to somewhere you could see them.

Are We Using Geofencing Wrong? — The Brooks Review ›

When Apple announced their reminders app, and a new API, that allows geofencing in iOS, I was pretty pumped. To be able to schedule a task to alert you the moment you enter or leave a location seemed pretty cool. But, as with many things, the demo proved to be much cooler than the actual real world use case.

Ben’s not alone with this feeling. I was excited when Geofencing was released, I always forget stuff at the supermarket so the notion of being reminded when I arrived to buy something sounded great. In practise not so much.

Since Instapaper with background update locations launched I’ve been putting it to use on my iPhone. It’s brilliant and I already want more developers to implement something similar (hint, hint Instacast). It feels like this is such an obvious thing to do that I’m baffled no one thought of it sooner. It feels like this kind of thing is what Apple created the Geofences for.