Further Reading.

  • ‘Designing With Web Standards’ by Jeffrey Zeldman
  • ‘Beautiful Evidence’ by Edward Tufte
  • ‘Envisioning Information’ by Edward Tufte
  • ‘The Visual Display of Quantitative Information’ by Edward Tuft
Courtesy of http://markboultondesign.com/blog/alan-who-this-is-the-real-apprentice

It really was a school day. Ampersand Conference.

Friday felt like my first real step into web design. I’ve read more than once that text and typography are over 90% of the web, so a conference on the subject ‘Typography for the Web’ seemed a good place to start. Also the fact that I recognised the names of some of the speakers was a good sign.

The talks themselves were engaging, informative and, maybe most importantly, inspiring. It’s always a joy to hear somebody talk about something they are passionate about, particularly when it’s something you’re passionate about too.

My particular favourites were Jonathan Hoefler of Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Mark Boulton of Mark Boulton Designs.

Jonathon spoke primarily about the development of webfonts. I was particularly interested to hear about the process of designing fonts that need to be used in very small font sizes, both on paper and on screen, and the techniques used to make them more readable.

Mark’s talk was a little more philosophical, including references from ‘monk factories’ to container ships. The talk referred to the process of designing and how a ‘content out’ strategy is a good way to create effective, responsive design. From reading responses to the talk and the idea, it appears that this is a controversial concept, I suspect due to the difficulties of actually gaining access to the content whilst designing.

As well as the content packed talks, there were also many content packed conversations to be had. A brief hello to Mark Boulton, and longer chitchat with good folks over food, drinks and pool. I now have a list of books to read:

Just My Type – Simon Garfield

Design for Everyday Things – Don Norman

Adaptive Web Design – Aaron Gustafson

Don’t Make Me Think! – Steve Krug

5 Simple Steps – All

A Book Apart – All

(And always welcome more suggestions…)

My glimpse into a world of self-taught, independent thinkers who are keen to push their industry into the future head-first was exciting. I learnt and I gathered and now I’ll use that information to continue on my path – hopefully in the right direction.

Ampersand – The beginning of a beautiful friendship

What a day.

Not only my first conference (of any kind) but also the first UK conference about web typography… ever!

So much to take in, so much information I want to ensure I retain, but most importantly I think the overall feel of the day – the ‘content-out’, ‘font-first’ ideology was clear. Web design is not about designing for a ‘page’, it’s about knowing the content and using that knowledge to find the best visual solution for various viewers using various screens.

I had very interesting conversations with designers and developers about processes, techniques etc. TBC

New kid on the web-block.

I want to be a web designer. I came to this conclusion earlier this year, in the midst of endless and circular thoughts and about exactly what I want to do with my life. This question had been plaguing me on and off for about 3 years… since graduating university with a degree in Fashion Design (a career path I chose at 15 and gave up on aged 20). It was no surprise to my friends and family that I had a new idea, and that this one would really stick, you know, this one would work out… just like the other 15 in the last 6 months.

But this one is different. This one is sticking. And that’s why I’m writing this blog. As a relatively traditional English girl I am not used to publicising my thoughts, and as a relatively flakey creative type I am certainly not used to publishing my plans for the future, for fear of loss of interest/failure. However, here I am, putting it in type, that this is my plan. And this is going to happen.

So this blog has a few purposes;

– For me to track my progress and  growth (and ensure it continues).

– A location to collect resources I use – sites, articles, books etc, so that they are easily accessible for me and you.

– Space for other learners and professionals to contribute more information.

– If all goes well maybe this will be some help to other people aiming for the same target!

So I guess I start by explaining what I have done so far…

I have had a long term interest in graphic design, and this combined with my brother’s passion for all thing web triggered a curiosity in web design. He gave me a few names to research and some sites to look at as good examples of design. During this eye-opening stage I came across an advert which would lead to the solidifying of my plans. Mark Boulton Design (http://www.markboultondesign.com/) were looking for an apprentice. I read the advert and immediately knew this was the perfect style job for me. I learn fast, especially in an environment that encourages independent thought, and the chance to learn about the different areas of design within one company was a unique opportunity (at least from what I have seen). I didn’t get the apprenticeship, but the process of producing a handmade application, being shortlisted for interview with two others and having a conversation with Mark, have only encouraged me to pursue this harder.

My application is featured on the Mark Boulton Design site – http://markboultondesign.com/blog/our-top-10-apprentice-applications

and in an article written by Emma Boulton on .net magazine – http://www.netmagazine.com/features/reinventing-web-design-training

So now I am continuing to educate myself in good web design. I’m on my third read of Designing for the Web (Mark Boulton), I have just begun to read Ethan Marcotte’s ‘Responsive Web Design’ (http://www.abookapart.com/products/responsive-web-design), whilst being constantly referred to new articles and peices by the friendly folk of Twitter (@clare_lisbeth).

I have learnt the basics of HTML and CSS and hope to put these skills to use soon when making a couple of websites which I am in the process of designing.

I’m off to the Amp&rsand Conference (http://www.ampersandconf.com/) on Friday in Brighton, hoping to learn a whole lot and maybe meet some people too.

Pen time.

Pen time.

You know it.

It’s pen time. You know, when the pen is in charge. The pen is in charge. There’s no plan. No pre-concieved idea. Just the pen, on the paper, shedding ink. It makes pictures. This time it made a picture of itself. And wrote about it. THREE TIMES. Narcissist.

And then it drew a tree.