1. A wrote a couple things recently

    I have neglected this tumblog quite a bit but thought I would let anyone out there reading this that I wrote about my experience at SXSW this year here: 

    http://jbrewer.me/sxsw2011.html

    And then I had the privilege of writing an article for Typekit, Type study: Choosing fallback fonts, where I talk about how I go about making sure my fallback font-stack is bulletproof so that the spirit of the design can still come through even if the main font is unavailable. 

    Hope you enjoy them!

  2. CMS Poll Results

    Yesterday on Twitter I asked: 

    "CMS poll: Need a simple, designer oriented solution, multiple authors, pages & blog. What do you recommend? (will share results)"

    The poll yielded some interesting results. As you might expect, Wordpress came out on top as the most recommended solution. The next highest recommended CMS was Symphony CMS, which surprised me. I wonder if there is some cross-section of designers that fell in love with XSLT five years ago and have continued down the road in some parallel universe… After Wordpress and Symphony was Tumblr—which 52weeksofux.com is running on—which I thought would have seen a bit more support, but with the recent downtime, etc. I understand.

    The other CMS’s that were mentioned were: 

    • Expresion Engine
    • Textpattern
    • Harmony
    • Jekyll
    • Posterous
    • CMSMS

    So where does this leave me? Well, still searching thats where. I have used and built for Wordpress off and on since it began. I have to admit, I haven’t really touched in in well over a year, mostly because I found the structure (namely the big ol’ loop) not to my tastes and working with theming and managing myriads of plugins and… you get the idea. It’s not that I can’t work with Wordpress, I just don’t like to. However, I am hearing good things about v3, so maybe I do need to give it another look, but realistically, I probably wont.

    So what about Symphony? Well, I used it once around 2006 and while some of the features were compelling, I just can’t for the life of me understand why I want to be messing about with XSL and XSLT. However, the fact that a significant number of people suggested it, I may have to circle back and check it out. 

    Then there’s Tumblr. Tumblr is pretty awesome. The social/community aspect of it alone is an incredible incentive to use it. Themeing is pretty straight-forward and with the addition of custom pages, you can do a lot. And, yes, you can have multiple contributors but it’s not as simple as it could be. There are a number of things that you can’t do (as I learned with 52 Weeks of UX) and unfortunately for me, it just doesn’t quite do what I need it to do. Not to mention the whole downtime issue. 

    As for the remainder of the suggestions, here are my thoughts:

    • Expression Engine seemed like a lot of work to get set up and working (at least the last time I tried), Admin UI is kinda painful, but from what I hear extremely powerful and awesome once its all configured. 
    • Textpatttern was my CMS of choice when doing client work back in the day. Unfortunately, the community seemed to stall out and things weren’t moving forward and I have yet to go back and see if its still a worthy contender. I did love the templating system and there were a few plugins that really made it shine. 
    • Harmony is made by some really smart people and from what I can tell (see the videos, etc) it looks pretty amazing. For my needs, the pricing is the only thing that gives me pause. But its still a reasonable price for what they offer.
    • Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator. It’s hooked into Github and looks pretty extensible. Need to check if there is a way to do multiple authors if any of them don’t have Github accounts. 
    • Posterous uh, yeah. I don’t think so.
    • CMSMS is a bit too much for me from what I read and saw on the site. 

    I was surprised no one mentioned Perch, as I have heard many good things about it recently. 

    So all in all, I figured that WordPress would be the front-runner and I was just a little sad that there isn’t something else out there that really fits the bill. Yes, I know all of these probably *can* do what I need, it’s just that none of them do it without a decent investment (either upfront or in the long run). Perhaps something like Jekyll is really the right thing for me—version control built in, simple templating system, can handle traffic surges because it’s just html, etc.—but I think a little more investigation is in order on a few of these before I can render my final verdict. 

    Hit me up on Twitter or send an email if you have thoughts/suggestions! 

  3. Jon Hicks:

    "I normally design ‘in the browser’ but it was essential for a project like this. One caveat: you do have to know what you want to achieve first. It’s very easy to spend hours ‘tickling away’ at little bits without any idea of the bigger picture. You need focus, as I’ve discovered myself."

    — http://hicksdesign.co.uk/journal/the-story-of-shelf

  4. I Don’t Miss My Feeds

    I forgot to set Google Reader as my Home Page on my new laptop and completely forgot about my RSS feeds for 3 weeks.

    Seriously, folks, this is what happened. Now, mind you, I am one of those guys that would always defend my RSS feeds. When people around me dismissed their RSS feeds as information overload, I swore that mine were relevant and necessary for me as a practicing designer. 

    And then it happened. I just forgot to go read them. 

    Granted, I was in the midst of a couple weeks of much-needed and much-deserved family time when it all happened, but, come on… how do you just stop doing something that you have done nearly every day for the better part of a decade? 

    Then it dawned on me: my routine inadvertently changed and other sources of information were more than making up for what I would have otherwise felt I was lacking. Between my Twitter stream and Laterstars.com, I had more than enough to keep me reading (and create a backlog of things I wanted to read) and so I guess I never noticed it was missing. 

    So what do I do now? I am tempted to prune the hell out of my feeds and try and get down to some of the ones that I truly want to read everyday (but even then I usually see the link on Twitter first…) Or maybe I should do an experiment and completely delete my whole list and start from scratch.

    Or maybe I will do nothing. I don’t really miss my feeds anymore—most likely because my informational center of gravity has shifted. And that’s just fine by me. RSS is dead. Long live RSS.

  5. Me and Ruthie (Taken with instagram)

    Me and Ruthie (Taken with instagram)

  6. I absolutely love this and whole heartedly agree.
viafrank:

I just finished a little questionnaire. I don’t know if this is the answer they’re looking for, but, damn, I think this is the answer I was looking for.

    I absolutely love this and whole heartedly agree.

    viafrank:

    I just finished a little questionnaire. I don’t know if this is the answer they’re looking for, but, damn, I think this is the answer I was looking for.

  7. Maniacal Rage: The Problem with Facebook's "Places" →

    Here’s the thing about Facebook that really gets under my skin: They are slowly incorporating the features from every other independent web application on the internet… That’s the problem with Facebook. They are slowly destroying independent web applications with boring versions that immediately win due to Facebook’s population (which at this point is the 3rd largest country on earth). There’s no demand for excellence.

  8. Amazing Insights

    There have been 2 blog posts in the last couple days that have really struck a chord, not just with me but apparently with quite a few others as well. I am very thankful to be apart of a community of people that are thinking about and sharing their discoveries and gleanings of life. here are a few excerpts from each that struck a chord with me.

    Ryan Freitas wrote 35 Lessons in 35 Years:

    - There are few things better than a quiet moment with your wife.
    - Pick a drink. Stick with it.
    - Having a good tailor is important; talking too much about having one is a pretension. 
    - Overtip everybody. Doormen, valets, bartenders - their job is in fact tougher than yours. They have to put up with people like you all day.
    - No one gives a damn about the size of your to-do list.
    - Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.

    Frank Chimero responded to a question: What advice would you give to a graphic design student?

    -Most decisions are gray, and everything lives on a spectrum of correctness and suitability.
    -Take things away until you cry. Accept most things, and reject most of your initial ideas. 
    -A text editor is a perfectly viable design tool. Graphic design has just as much to do with words as it does with pictures.
    -If you meet a person who cares about the same obscure things you do, hold on to them for dear life. 
    -Start brave and brash: you can always make things more conservative, but it’s hard to make things more radical.
    -Everyone is just making it up as they go along. 

  9. 22 July 2010

    23 notes

    Reblogged from
    bobulate

    Bobulate: See no boundaries →

    To create patterns is natural. In fact, not only as designers, but also as humans, we make sense of a wild environment by taking haphazard shapes and concepts and giving them form and meaning. We categorize them: poster, website, building, typography, interactive, stone, and so on. Creating…

    Brilliantly stated. 

  10. This is awesome in so many ways. Mostly because it’s a simple guide to happiness.

    This is awesome in so many ways. Mostly because it’s a simple guide to happiness.

  11. Biome — the making of a typeface →

    There is nothing like getting a glimpse into the creative process and design decisions that push a typeface this way and that. Kudos to John Boardley for the layout of the article!

  12. It’s not hard to see why innovation is becoming the design world’s favorite euphemism. Design sounds cosmetic and ephemeral; innovation sounds energetic and essential. Design conjures images of androgynous figures in black turtlenecks wielding clove cigarettes; innovators are forthright fellows with their shirtsleeves rolled up, covering whiteboards with vigorous magic-markered diagrams, arrows pointing to words like “Results!” But best of all, the cult of innovation neatly sidesteps the problem that has befuddled the business case for design from the beginning. Thomas Watson Jr.’s famous dictum “good design is good business” implies that there’s good design and there’s bad design; what he doesn’t reveal is how to reliably tell one from the other. Neither has anyone else. - Michael Bierut

    — http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=3857

  13. Need this on my wall immediately!

    Need this on my wall immediately!

  14. Super, super hot new branding for Build Conf. Wish so very much I could attend…
woodswoodswoods:

Excited to to be working on the identity and materials for this year’s stellar Build conference, happening November 10th and featuring a whole host of amazing speakers and events. Here’s the very tip of the iceberg.

    Super, super hot new branding for Build Conf. Wish so very much I could attend…

    woodswoodswoods:

    Excited to to be working on the identity and materials for this year’s stellar Build conference, happening November 10th and featuring a whole host of amazing speakers and events. Here’s the very tip of the iceberg.

  15. Here’s the thing. I need to trust what gets me up, what gets me inspired, what gets me where I’m going, the spaces only I know about, and what others tell me, what I eat, and what others serve me, what I make, and what I make with others every day.

    — The “always-making-me-think” Liz Danzico: On Trust