Art Direction for the Web Using CSS Shapes — Smashing Magazine ›

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.

One of my favourite chairs

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 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.

The Bulletin Board ›

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.

New Logo and Identity for Dartmouth ›

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.

Adobe’s iOS App Failure ›

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.

Big Screens, Even Bigger Lessons & Learning to Make Tough Calls ›

This is a really insightful look into the process behind making an iPad app from an established iPhone app. As a designer I have some knowledge of designing for different screen sizes, but the behaviour of an app is very different to the behaviour of a website, albeit with some similarities. Before I begin any future web design projects I’ll definitely be giving this piece another read or two.


Cereal Magazine is one of my favourite publications, ever since I came across it I’ve preordered every copy and own the Copenhagen field guide.

These Islands looks like a beautiful coffee table piece documenting their favourite places in the British Isles. Definitely one for birthday or Christmas lists this year.

Modern Kitchen Redesign ›

I always enjoy reading a good process or behind the scenes post. So it’s little surprise that I’m linking to this one from Jeff Sheldon of Ugmonk fame. Jeff has done a write up of the modern kitchen remodel he and his wife have just finished.

I love seeing the homes of people who have an, at least in my opinion, impeccable eye for design and Jeff certainly falls in to that category. Look closely and you’ll see a glimpse of a future product, a coffee related one which will go straight in to my shopping basket!

Freedom of page ›

So often when we think of a blank page we’re scared by it, it creates a fear, a fear of the possibilities. But maybe we need to turn that upside down and find freedom in a blank page, freedom to create.

To create doesn’t mean you have to draw the plans of a skyscraper or the physics formula for the unifying theory of the universe. It can be as simple as taking notes in a meeting or writing a journal entry. Every new mark on a page is a baby step, and before you know it you’re taking leaps.

A new Radpad ›

I really like the openness and insight into a rebrand of Radpad including the thought process and some of the thinking behind the decisions they made. I wish more companies and designers, and I include myself in this, were more open about these things.

Jollies Socks ›

I came across Jollies Socks a few weeks ago and only just had the chance to check them out. Not only are they cool socks, but they’re focused on helping homeless people, with every purchase they support homeless charities in your area.

Design Machines ›

When we let the success and failure of others superficially guide design decisions, we skip over the context and uniqueness of what makes our products different. Design becomes a game of catch‐up. Not an intelligent pursuit of finding unique formulas that help the organization stand out on its own.

This is one of those articles that as I read it I found myself nodding along to more and more. It’s easy in a world of short deadlines and on demand solutions to default to what we know works, or at least what appears to work when we’re approaching a new job. But what’s most important in these situations, is that this kind of behvaiour/design does a disservice to our clients.

I’ve lost count of the number of times over recent years that we speak about being professional designer, or designers growing up to be on the level of lawyers and accountants. Experts who know what they’re doing and, in many cases, have earned that respect. The trouble is, that the web doesn’t always portray that, and the glimpses of the web in this piece certainly seem to be back that up.

Each client and each job is unique, treat them that way. There is no one size fits all when it comes to design.

Colossus by Pat Vale ›

I was going to save this for Sunday’s edition of The Week in Links, but I thought it was far too cool for that and deserved it’s own post. Line drawing has always been something I enjoyed, and Colossus by Pat Vale is a stunning example. Spend a few minutes of your time watching it this evening, be inspired.