Sadly, you won’t find many inspiring examples of websites which use CSS Shapes. That doesn’t mean that inspiration isn’t out there — you just have to look a little further afield at advertising, magazine, and poster design.
I’ve been thinking about my own web designs lately, and realising how often they can lack variation in the shape combinations I use. This is a great introduction in to using better art direction for the web, CSS shapes isn’t a technology I’m overly familiar with, perhaps its time to do some more learning.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a sketchbook on the go. I think I established the habit when I started senior school, but I remember having them back in junior school as well. They’ve been a companion beside me all that time, whether I’ve been drawing, writing, brainstorming, planning, or something else, they’ve helped me to be creative in some form or another.
When a new sketchbook arrives, it always brings a moment of joy. The moment the wrappings come off is one of the two moments that a sketchbook is perfect. There are no creases on the spine, no scuffs on the cover, no page corners curling up or folded in, everything sits square and compact, full of potential. I always enjoy that moment. When a sketchbook is first opened it’s exciting, there’s potential on those pages, but with it comes a hesitancy, it’s something that I don’t want to ruin.
It’s the fear of the blank page.
Over the last few years when I’ve started a new sketchbook I’ve developed a habit. I open it to the first page, grab a pen and I write the same sentence.
I give myself permission to mess this sketchbook up.
From then on I use it how I want and it doesn’t matter what goes in it.
It might seem a bit silly to write that sentence on the first page, but without it it would take a lot longer for my sketchbooks to get to their second point of perfection. The moment they are finished, either because they are completely full, or the year has ended. At that point it’s done it’s job and deserves it’s spot on my shelf alongside all it’s older siblings, it’s perfect because it’s been used and not wasted. It’s helped me think, helped me create, helped me process events that have passed, it’s potential has been met.
Without that first page sentence and my natural state of being a perfectionist, there’s a chance those sketchbooks would remain on the shelf in their first state of perfection. And in that state they would be a waste. What would be the point in owning them, if they remained forever in their first state of perfection and never made the journey to the second state of perfection?
It’s not just a sketchbook that has these two states of perfection. A blog has them, a canvas has them, a book has them, a roll of film or an SD card in a camera has them. The unused perfection, and the finished, full, complete perfection of a job well done.
The weather in Cheltenham the last few days has been glorious, it has a big effect on my mental health when the sun shines and I can have the big doors of my living room open to let the summer air in to my flat. It can also have a negative effect though, with the sun shining so brightly see stuff that I’ve not cleaned for a while and it makes me want to fix that.
This afternoon the sun caught one of my chairs in such a way that it showed up so much dirt I was horrified. I undid the cover to check if it had washing instructions, it did, and promptly put it in the washing machine. While that was in the wash I gave the frame a bit of a scrub as well, it’s getting a little worse for wear and could do with some more attention but it’s not in bad condition.
It got me thinking about how old the chair is. I’ve had it for somewhere in the region of 15 to 20 years, so it’s no surprise the frame is a bit rough in places. The chair is an IKEA Poäng and if I’ve had it that long it got me wondering how long IKEA have been selling it for. Turns out, according to this Fast.co article, the design of the chair is over 40 years old. I guess you could call it a bit of a design classic. The frame of the version I have is a little different to the ones you buy today, but the design is essentially the same, and it’s kind of comforting to know that timeless design pieces are still being produced and loved by millions around the world. It’s also nice to know, that in a world of throwaway products, some relatively inexpensive things can last a long time. The age of my chair is nothing compared to the one that the founder of IKEA has.
I’ve been reading Austin Kleon’s blog since January, I find the way that he speaks about his notebooks and how he uses them very inspiring. Today’s post is about his bulletin board and how he pins images, clippings, index cards, and various other bits to it for inspiration while he is writing a book.
The analog nature of lots of things that Austin does has really caught my attention. I love technology, but as a designer I also love objects and paper. When I was a student I covered the wall of my room in halls with bits of graphics that I liked. The whole thing turned into one giant collage of inspiration. That’s something I would like to get back into my creative life, something tactile and away from a glowing rectangle.
Brand New featured the New Logo and Identity for Dartmouth College designed by Original Champions of Design.
I really like the whole design, from the origins of the type used in the wordmark and the history behind the pine emblem. The execution is really well done and very considered in it’s execution, especially when you consider the number of departments and areas within a college the size of Dartmouth.
Cameron Moll posted a thread on Twitter urging people to write. Here are the four tweets quoted:
I’ve found it incredibly difficult to make time for long-form writing the past few years. When I have, the catalyst has been reminding myself of the tremendous ROI as a designer, manager, business owner, and so on.
If you want to be a better designer, write more.
If you want to be a better manager, write more.
If you want to be a better biz owner, write more.
You can also substitute “speak more” for each of these.
The act of synthesizing what’s in your head for an audience of critics leads to increased analytical thinking, self-awareness, clarity, and much more.
Last but not least, you inspire others to write—or at the very least ‘write’ by joining the conversation you’ve started.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about lots the last couple of weeks. I’ve been wanting to post to my blog more because I think it will be beneficial for me in many ways, one of which to help me build discipline and self-control in other areas of my life.
The thing that really strikes me about this Twitter thread, the whole thing would make a good blog post. It probably would’ve been easier to post to a blog as well, likely have a longer life span, and consequently have more of an impact. Not all writing on a blog has to be long to have an impact, if it’s worth stringing four tweets together in a thread to make a point, it’s worthy of a blog post.
I shared a few words with Design Week about working two jobs and the affect it has on my creative work. A lot came up while I was thinking about this so I plan to write more, but give it a read.
I really like the backstory and thinking behind the new logo and identity for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. It’s the kind of thinking and execution that branding designers dreams are made of.
Finished on: 30/12/2017
This was my last book of 2017. I started it at the end of November and kept wanting to try things out so it took me a lot longer to finish than it should’ve. It’s a book I’ll be returning to over and over in the next few months while I keep trying out the new CSS techniques in my work. Looking forward to the more powerful and extensive layout options that are now becoming available to us. The web has started to look very same‑y in the last 12–18 months, mainly I believe, due to designers trying to make it easier to build responsive websites. I firmly believe some of the new CSS specs will allow that to change and for designers to start pushing boundaries again.
Over on Six Colors Jason Snell speaks of his disappointment with Adobe’s iOS offering. I’ve long been disappointed with Adobe’s approach to the platform and I couldn’t agree more with his comments.
But it’s frustrating that Adobe has failed its core design customers to such a degree—and it’s also a big risk for Adobe. Photoshop commands a lot of space in the brains of many creative professionals, but a lot of those people want to use iOS. If Adobe provided them with fulfilling tools for iOS—ones that are as capable as what’s available on macOS and Windows—it could keep its customers loyal.
As a designer the iPad has always appealed to me as a means of creating. It seems like it should be the most intuitive way of laying up designs and drawing out ideas. The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil only served to enhance this idea for me. Yet Adobe continually fail to acknowledge that we could do serious work in an iPad. They keep serving up “mobile” apps instead of actually considering how an app like InDesign or Illustrator could function.
It took Microsoft years to bring Office to iOS, and in that time apps arrived to fill the gap they had left causing Office to lose mindshare. That’s now starting to happen to the Creative Cloud apps, Affinity Photo is excellent, and more than capable of growing in to the gap left by a lack of a fully fledged Photoshop. My hope is that other apps will rise up to fill the gaps left by a lack of full versions of Illustrator and InDesign or that Adobe gets its finger out and creates them.