Archive: Design

April 24, 2008

Alphabet City

Last weekend I attended a typography walking tour around the Lower East Side of Manhattan led by Tobias Frere-Jones (of Hoefler & Frere-Jones fame). The tour focused mainly on engraved and painted signage from bygone years. Some examples were presented because they were so damn beautiful, and others were presented for the exact opposite reason, but all were very… more »

March 31, 2008

WordPress Admin Redesign

Over the weekend WordPress 2.5 was released, and oh what a release it is. The WordPress admin has had a complete facelift, a joint effort from Automattic, Happy Cog, and many individuals from the WordPress community, amounting to over 90 contributors. The new admin was re-built from the ground up, with clean markup and a shiny new design. I… more »

March 17, 2008

So Long, South By

Another South By Southwest Interactive has come and gone. This year’s conference was once again bigger than its predecessors, packed with the heaping portions of both really good and so-so content. I told myself this might be my last for a while, but now I’m not so sure; this was the best time I’ve had at SXSW in a… more »

February 27, 2008

Clever Veggies

As I stood on the subway platform the other day, zoning out at the posters that line the walls, I snapped to attention as a most peculiar thing caught my eye: a poster for a movie called The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie. I can honestly say I don’t know much about VeggieTales (the TV show… more »

February 20, 2008

New Zealand

Returning from New Zealand is a very sad endeavor. Not only do you get to endure a very long day—somewhere around 36 hours and involving numerous cars, planes, and sherpas—but you also must deal with leaving one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Speaking at Webstock (the impetus for the trip) was both an honor and a fabulous time. I’m… more »

January 23, 2008

Mucking Up the Fireworks

Anyone following me on Twitter will likely tell you I have a love/hate relationship with Adobe products, specifically Photoshop, the application I use the most. After all, Photoshop is chiefly an image-editing application, but like most people I know, I use it as fully fledged layout program. Unfortunately, this requires jumping through numerous hoops, leaving one a pitiful sobbing mess… more »

December 12, 2007

Gamma Gamma Hey!

Ah, perfect. This is the most brilliant design I shall ever produce. Everything is in order; all of the colors are amazing. If I died right now while sitting at this computer, even the EMTs will say to one another, “that’s the most breathtaking design I’ve ever seen”, as they pick my corpse up off the floor. Now, let’s just… more »

November 16, 2007

Avatar Icebreaker

Avatars certainly aren’t a new thing. They’ve long been a staple of pride and showmanship in forums all across the internet. I’ve never really paid much attention the avatars I use, generally just opting for a boring cropped photo or some version of my logo, and being pleased just to be done with it. With dozens of accounts across dozens… more »

November 13, 2007

Where They Should Be

When I saw the new Apple keyboards a few months back, I thought they were pretty ridiculous; they’re as thin as a Ritz cracker and barely raised off of your desk. It seemed more like comical modernism, as in the case of the Mighty Mouse, than something realistically useful. I must admit, after trying one out and finally buying one,… more »

November 2, 2007


Alas, October eventually comes to an end each year and we must take off our costumes. Well I suppose we don’t have to, but it’s advisable. This site might be back to normal, but you can always relive the horrifying time on any post from October. And a month’s worth of black and white photos makes me realize I should… more »

October 25, 2007

Game On

Tomorrow I’ll be playing in Coudal Partner’s Layer Tennis, a rip roaring good way to spend a Friday afternoon. Here’s how it works: Two players swap a file (in this case, a Photoshop file) back and forth in realtime “volleys”, each player adding to and embellishing the previous volley. Each volley has a 15 minute time limit, so the action… more »

October 16, 2007

ALA Web Design Survey Findings

Months of work analyzing, crunching, writing, and designing the answers from nearly 33,000 people, and we finally have the Findings from the Web Design Survey. Some of the findings are very enlightening, but I won’t spoil anything here, you’ll have to read for yourself. We’ve learned so much during this process, not only about what questions to ask, but how… more »

October 1, 2007

The Shadow Over Brooklyn

October descends upon us once again. As I stepped outside this morning, I felt as though someone had flipped the season switch to Autumn; the air was chilly and sharp, leaves were congregating in the crease where the street meets the sidewalk, and the breeze carried with it the scent of cedar and apples. Perhaps I’m just aware of these… more »

September 19, 2007

See What’s Possible

Late last year Adobe released the first images of their new CS icons, and debates ensued here and on many other sites as to their quality or lack thereof. Adobe has now launched a new visual identity for Photoshop. Some say it feels like the PBS logo, or the iChat icon. The response in the thread of comments on John… more »

August 31, 2007

My Kind of Town

Another Event Apart has come and gone; Chicago welcomed us with open arms and cheezborgers as far as the eye could see. The event itself was great, packing lots of thoughtful speakers and attendees into one room for a giant mind meld. Later, we packed those same people into a pub (courtesy of MediaTemple) for more, er, melding, and later… more »

August 20, 2007

Tell Ya What I Want

I wouldn’t consider myself a pushover. I’m actually quite opinionated, and at times, I can be very critical, demanding, skeptical, and tenacious. These are qualities that are becoming more pronounced as I get older, tempering the bits of restraint and patience instilled in me from a injury-laden childhood. Because of these qualities, I have no problem asking tough questions in… more »

June 19, 2007


London is an organic, spiraling city of nested corners and secret nooks. It can be daunting at times to find your way through the streets, but below the din of the city is a stunning bit of design: The Underground. I am proud to say I didn’t get lost once in London, not because I am a fantastic navigator, but… more »

June 12, 2007

Bangers and Mash

As I sat in Gatwick airport this past Sunday, waiting for my delayed flight to Philadelphia to begin boarding, I sleepily said goodbye to London. During my short stay for @media, my body refused to adjust to the time difference, sending my slouch-backed and bleary-eyed through the conference hallways, inflicting my stupor upon the kind attendees. Even when I was… more »

May 18, 2007

Freedom, Terrible Freedom

Last week I was lending an ear to an anonymous Californian designer friend who needed to vent about an uppity client. This client didn’t approve of what my friend was trying to achieve with a design, and for that, the client was lambasted for not “getting it”. It may just be my science-fiction addled brain, but this got me thinking… more »

April 24, 2007

Survey Says…

In addition to two great articles, Andy Rutledge’s Contrast and Meaning and Jonathan Follett’s The Long Hallway, the latest issue of A List Apart features the inaugural Web Design Survey. The survey seeks to answer questions about our industry to help us better understand what we’re made of: Designers, developers, project managers. Writers and editors. Information architects and usability… more »

April 23, 2007

Swapped Meat

Those interested in both typography and the macabre, might do well to head over to Coudal Partners’ Swap Meat. There you will find Rob and my letterpress prints of the Edgar Allan Poe poem The Conqueror Worm, suitable for swappin’ and framin’. The prints were created last year during a letterpress class Rob and I took, and are the product… more »

April 13, 2007

Archival Quality

I can clearly recall one particular afternoon from my childhood when I went over to a friend’s house to play. I walked in the back door, as I ordinarily would, and encountered his mother standing at the kitchen table with the day’s newspaper, and beside it, a scrapbook. When I asked what she was doing, she said, “Today is… more »

March 30, 2007

Wicked Awesome

Alas, another An Event Apart has come and gone. Boston welcomed us into her bean-filled bosoms, helping us kick off the new whiz bang two-day format. I am pleased to say the event was probably our smoothest to date, due largely in part to our fantastic production staff, and wonderful attendees. I like the two-day format infinitely better than the… more »

March 15, 2007

Bye Bye, South By

Once again we arrive home from a whirlwind SXSW not quite knowing where all the time went. I laughed and learned with good friends I don’t get to see nearly enough, and met so many more new people who will have to tell me their names again next year due to my sieve-like brain. The conference itself seemed to… more »

March 4, 2007

See You at SXSW

Why does the build up to South By Southwest remind me so much of finals week in college? All of a sudden, late nights become commonplace, and days blur into each another. The mass combination of tying up client work for a week away and putting together presentations creeps up on me every time. Luckily, I just got a… more »

March 1, 2007

AIGA Redesign

My, oh my, has it been busy around here lately. Now, I’m pleased to announce the redesign of the AIGA website! AIGA approached Happy Cog to redesign their main organization website early last year and we leaped at the opportunity to work on this site, knowing many of the ways we could help bring AIGA’s strong brand and presence… more »

February 20, 2007

Comhaltas Redesign

This is just a brief note to help announce the Happy Cog redesign of the website for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, an organization promoting traditional Irish music and culture around the world. I’ve written before about our two wonderful trips to Ireland to meet and work face-to-face with the people of Comhaltas, specifically our astute contact Breandán Knowlton. I’m not responsible… more »

February 7, 2007

Happy Cog Redesign

After the announcement of the new Happy Cog Philadelphia office we knew we needed to go back and spruce up the Happy Cog site a bit. Well, we managed to steal some time here and there to put one together, and it’s now my pleasure to present the new Happy Cog website! The design is very much one of… more »

February 2, 2007

Fighting Off Design Stagnation

I’ve only been out of school and working in the industry for a few years now, but I can already feel it. The feeling like my hands are getting tied. Like I am coming up with the same old ideas or dipping into my overused bag of tricks too often. I am left racking my brain for new directions… more »

January 22, 2007

You Say You Want a Resolution

The topic of screen resolution in web design has once again reared its ugly and multifaceted head. Jeremy Keith and Roger Johansson still say “nay.” Well, I’m saying “yay,” with some conditions. I know many people take a hard-lined approach to this, saying that fixed-width 1024px sites are wrong most, if not all, of the time. This post is… more »

January 14, 2007

A Plea for the Fat-Fingered

My grandfather used to call them “working man hands,” friends seem to prefer “sausage fingers,” while Liz affectionately goes the heritage-sensitive route with “mozzarella sticks.” Whatever you call them, I have big hands, and consequently, big fingers. They aren’t necessarily short and stubby; the proportions are fairly usual, they are just sort of scaled-up. Regardless, I am sure many others… more »

December 23, 2006

24 Ways To Impress Your (Web Geek) Friends

Ho, ho, ho! This year I was asked to pen an article for the annual web geek advent calendar, 24 ways. I chose to tackle a problem that pops up very frequently for me: matching colors from a set palette for elements in a variety of shapes and sizes. Often times, using the color hex value from a palette may… more »

December 20, 2006

What a Mess

The always generous Mr. Hicks pointed me towards the new crop of Adobe icons, themed similar to a Periodic Table for your confusion, that will be injected into Creative Suite 3. You can also read the post that reveals them by John Nack, Senior Product Manager for Photoshop. I couldn’t help but chime in on John’s site, and my comment… more »

December 15, 2006

Return to Letterpress

This past summer I took a Letterpress class at the University of the Arts here in Philadelphia. I ended up enjoying it so much I decided to take it again (though this time as a 10 week course instead of 5). I felt so good to jump back into doing this again. And now that I had one class… more »

December 1, 2006

Christmas Wrapping

No, not the Waitresses’ song of the same name. Every year AIGA New York asks a few designers to create holiday wrapping paper. Afterwards, they throw a big holiday bash and sell the wrapping paper. Proceeds from the event benefit the AIGA NY Mentoring Program and First Book, an organization dedicated to giving children from low-income families the opportunity… more »

November 14, 2006

Hide Your Shame

Another issue of A List Apart has been pushed out the door, this one contains a blendy technique for gradients, and a call to stick up for clients, particularly the difficult ones. But, this also marks another kind of day for A List Apart: the ALA Store is finally back and stocked with shirts, both new and old! Well,… more »

November 9, 2006

Remember The Alamo

Well, the last An Event Apart of the year has come to pass, and we are all back from Austin (just in time to vote). I’ve never been to Austin aside from during SXSW, and I must admit, it was odd to see the streets so empty. I walked out of our hotel and just sort of stood on the… more »

November 1, 2006


October has once again come to a close. The days have become frightfully short—the sun barely even stops by anymore—the trees are busy shrugging off their Technicolor coats, and just as Mr. C says, memories of our departed loved ones come back abruptly, and sometimes, painfully. Alas, I welcome November and bid a fond farewell to another eerie October. Sadly,… more »

October 10, 2006

Class Critique

About a month ago I found a referrer to my site coming from the blog of an Interactive Media class at Michigan State University. I noticed that one of the class assignments is to critique a given website every week, and lo and behold, my site was slated for the chopping block during the first week of October (previous sites… more »

October 3, 2006

Happy Cog Philadelphia

Just as Jeffrey says: it’s official, Happy Cog now has a Philadelphia office! Right now, the Philadelphia gang is composed of me, Greg Hoy, Rob Weychert, Dan Mall, Jon Aldinger, Mark Huot, Heather Shaw, and Robert Roberts-Jolly, all of whom I’ve worked with in the past and have found to be some of the most creative and talented people I… more »

October 1, 2006


October descends on us once again, and my site rises from its shallow grave to welcome the turning of the seasons. Why break such a fun tradition! Here we have the fourth annual October Edition of this site (you may need to disembowel your cache). I’ve traded in the past bloodbath for a bit of dust and absinthe. This year’s… more »

September 20, 2006

Coast to Coast

I’ve just come back from yet another crazy bit of traveling in a short amount of time. Liz and I woke up before sunrise on Saturday to participate in the MS City To Shore Bike Ride (thanks again to my kind sponsors!). All told, we rode nearly 80 miles (the first 20 of which were in the rain). Luckily for… more »

July 27, 2006

Thursday Ephemera

Letterpress Printing: Expanded Version The follow-up class to the Letterpress class I took this summer at UArts. It’s 10 weeks of typesetting by hand! Don’t worry if it’s your first time, the class promises to cover the basics and build up to more advanced techniques. If you are in the Philadelphia area, and have a love for type, I highly… more »

July 20, 2006

Learning from Atari

Last week my brother pointed me to this wonderful original commercial for Atari’s Pole Position. After gazing in amazement at the giant hand and the kid smiling as his mom blows up, it made me realize how few commercials are quite this eye-catching anymore. I don’t know if it was the custom song, or the belligerent and screaming announcer,… more »

June 25, 2006

Letterpress Adventure

I just completed a letterpress course at the University of the Arts, and all I can think about is how I wish it was longer. I first found out about the class while speaking to a group of about-to-graduate students. I signed up straight away, and so did Rob, Kevin, Dan, Sutter, and April. Since this was just a… more »

June 21, 2006

The Dust Settles

Lo! It’s been quiet around here. As mentioned before, I’ve been updating a bit of stuff on the site. Well, I’ve recoded everything from the ground up. The basic rundown, for those interested: Ditched XHTML Transitional and moved to XHTML Strict. All of the main pages are done, but I’m still piecing my way through older entries I stopped using… more »

May 1, 2006

Pretty Ugly

This is getting really old. At the risk of adding to the noise, I feel like I still have to speak up. As the design vs un-design debate rages on, there seems to be an increasing amount of generalization. What are you really fighting about? If the un-design proponents are right, do they win a bland internet? And if the… more »

April 28, 2006

Road Show

Today through the weekend I will be away as I travel down to Richmond, Virginia to sit in as one of the judges for the Richmond Show, the annual Richmond Ad Club awards. I don’t know if anyone from Richmond reads this site, but perhaps I will see you at the Show or at the inevitable party afterwards. It’s a… more »

April 26, 2006

In Progress: Site Design

Last time with “In Progress: Logo Design” we talked about the client project I’m working on with Cameron Moll for the design and rebirth of the National Gazette, a previously-defunct newspaper more than 200 years old. After some revisions, the client decided on the logo direction—which you can now see on the placeholder site—and we proceeded on to layouts… more »

April 13, 2006

Under The Loupe #5: Visual Thinking

After a brief hiatus, Under The Loupe is back. This week we will be flexing that lump of worms between your ears. One of the biggest things that can separate a good design from a great design is a strong concept. Strong concepts don’t always just come to us; sometimes they take work. Perhaps not real physical labor, but… more »

March 29, 2006

In Progress: Logo Design

Without giving away too many details about how it happened, I’m currently working alongside the talented Cameron Moll on a client website for the rebirth of the centuries-old newspaper, the National Gazette. Cameron and I thought it would be interesting to write a little about the process behind the project, starting with the logo development. First a bit of… more »

March 27, 2006

Short Run

After I returned from SXSW, I had a bunch of requests asking how I created my business cards. I am but a mouthpiece, so I will tell you; also because it is no great mystery anyway. Since I only needed a small print run to dole out to friends and potential bill-payers, I decided to get away from the… more »

February 20, 2006

Do, Doing, Done

A few random bits, facts, meanderings, and other delusions from the sleep-deprived. This past Friday we went to settlement on our house, and 101 signatures or initialings later, it was ours. The weekend was spent tearing up carpets and ripping up thousands upon thousands of staples. My hands are still twitching as I type this. We managed to funnel… more »

February 16, 2006

Under The Loupe #4: Keeping a Sketchbook

This week we are going to take a brief look at the benefits of maintaining a sketchbook and the impact it can have on your own creative process. To be thorough in the context of this series, let’s define a “sketchbook” as a place to store simple visual representations of ideas and concepts. Sketchbooks are about as basic as it… more »

February 2, 2006

Under The Loupe #3: Critiquing

This week on the Loupe we’ll be dealing with that situation everyone loves to hate, Critiques. Though this won’t be a detailed process to critiquing (you should hopefully be somewhat familiar with the nature of a critique already), I will try and shed some light on constructive and respectful critiquing. First off, let’s all get on the same page; a… more »

January 19, 2006

Under The Loupe #2: Hierarchy and Focal Point

This week is a 2-for-1 deal! We’ll take a quick look at two formidable bedfellows, Hierarchy and Focal Point. Hierarchy in design is simply the ranked classification of information, and Focal Point refers to a main area of visual interest. The power these two tools hold can not be overstated. They allow us to guide viewers to the things… more »

January 15, 2006

Design It Yourself

This past Thursday, curator, professor, and author, Ellen Lupton, gave a short talk in Philadelphia. Most of her presentation revolved around her latest two books, 2004’s wonderful Thinking With Type, and her newly released, D.I.Y.:Design It Yourself. Her latest was created with help from her students at the Maryland Institute College of Art and focuses on design for the… more »

January 5, 2006

Under The Loupe #1: White Space

Under The Loupe is a new bi-weekly feature I’m starting here where I will focus on a small technique, detail, or building block of well-formed and well-informed design. Some things you may already know and some you may not, either way, I enjoy talking about design and I still feel there is more need for design-related writing online. This is… more »

December 27, 2005

ALA In HOW Magazine

In February’s issue of HOW Magazine there is a special section devoted to Typography. In it, as part of an article entitled “Viva Verdana”, they chose to highlight the recent redesign of A List Apart, which makes heavy use of Verdana and Georgia. Among some dissection of specific styles from our CSS, we scored a screenshot and a kind… more »

December 13, 2005


Ok, so I finally decided I want to start using a bookmarking tool. I have a wealth of bookmarks from the past 8 or so years that I’ve painstakingly kept organized and categorized in a variety of browsers (Safari being the latest). This works out great, except for when I need to find something which I can’t recall the name… more »

November 16, 2005

Branding Your Wedding

This is the last post about the wedding, I promise. A few months ago when we were really getting into the bulk of planning, we began talking about the invitations. The wedding consumed so much of my time, that I began to think of it as a client, so I figured why not treat it like a client too.… more »

November 8, 2005

Adobe Illustrator Rounding

Ok, this one goes out to all the Adobe Illustrator users out there. I upgraded to Adobe CS2 a few months back and have been on the whole very pleased. I love Adobe’s products, and they do oh so very much oh so well… but man, I should start a weekly feature on details they could improve upon. Lately… more »

September 27, 2005

A Beady Eye to the Future

The industry is now being overrun with work. I have received more requests for freelance and contract positions in the last three weeks than I have all year. I asked around to some other friends and the same seems to be the case. I can really only speak for the US on this, and more specifically the northeast coast since… more »

September 13, 2005

FontExplorer X

I’ve just come across Linotype’s new FontExplorer X, another font management application. Hmm, very intriguing that it’s coming from a foundry. Could this finally replace the stagnant Suitcase on my computer? Here is a comparison chart with other popular font apps. Simple. Smart. Free. Well, the price is definitely right, and it looks very promising. I also like that it… more »

September 6, 2005

An Event Apart

After many threats over the years, An Event Apart is now live. What is An Event Apart? Well, it’s essentially a live conference version of A List Apart. Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman will travel from city to city, holding intense, one-day learning sessions on the how and why of web design and web standards. What’s most interesting is that… more »

August 23, 2005

A List Apart Redesign

Well, the headline says it all. In the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in the latest redesign of A List Apart. It was a tremendous undertaking, and months in the making, but it’s finally live! I am responsible for the new design, but this was most certainly a group effort: Eric Meyer on CSS, Dan… more »

July 8, 2005

Philadelphia Standards Meetup

Last night was the first monthly meeting of The (reinstituted) Philadelphia Standards Organization. The group was originally organized on, but nearly disbanded once Meetup started charging monthly fees. Friend and ex-coworker Jeff Louella picked up the torch and decided to keep it alive. Philadelphia companies are way behind when it comes to web standards, as evidenced by this scorecard,… more »

June 22, 2005

The Blind Eye Ideal

After getting myself in the mindset to get some work done, I am faced with the next conundrum; ensuring the quality of the design I produce. Some days I feel like all the good ideas are eluding me. Most times it’s not that the good ideas aren’t there, it’s just that I’m not creating a good environment to help them… more »

May 23, 2005

Maintaining Motivation

When I went solo, one of the first of many things that hit me like a kick in the teeth was consistently being able to get into a work mindset when I sat down at my desk. The workplace was now my apartment, where all my fun diversions live, and the staff was now me. When I would go to… more »

May 16, 2005

Parallel And Perpendicular Jumps

After a comment from an old friend, and a conversation with another who is thinking of making a parallel jump in his industry, I got to thinking what I would do if I had to change careers. What if I was forced to stop designing and quickly find something else to pay the bills? Not only is it an interesting… more »

May 6, 2005

Ten Questions For Me

I’ve just received the Ten Question treatment from Mr. Russ Weakley over at the Web Standards Group. Find out all you ever wanted to know about me that a mere 10 questions could cover. Perhaps I even answer the most important question, “American Cheese or Cheez Whiz?” Who knows? You will just have to read it and find out. I… more »

April 19, 2005

Snail Mail Deception

As I collected my daily mail from the mailbox yesterday, I noticed a letter addressed to me. Well, not me precisely, it was addressed to Jason S. Maria, one of my many alter egos. This is nothing new. I noticed the front was covered in ink smudges, presumably from other letters in transit, enough so that I could make out… more »

April 12, 2005

Flourish for Zaadz

Zaad is Dutch for “seed”. Zaadz is a company that seeks to be the creative catalyst to others. They provide the technology and the means to publish and maintain a website so that you can do what you do best, create. Zaadz recently came to Cameron Moll with the need for website template designs (pretty much what you’ve come to… more »

April 11, 2005

Design In-Flight: April 2005

The latest issue of Design In-Flight comes out tomorrow (PDF excerpt). In addition to the high-caliber articles we’ve come to expect from DIF like “Acing the interview: Tips and techniques for success” by Khoi Vinh and “The more things stay the same, the more they change” by Molly E. Holzschlag; you will find another stunning cover by Kevin Cornell and… more »

March 21, 2005

Typographic Glass Ceiling

Last week Microsoft announced six new typefaces which will start being bundled with Windows next year. The new faces are specially designed for screen usage; meaning an emphasis on readability at small sizes and the ability to scale up and not look like death (Verdana, I’m looking in your direction). The new collection is made up of two serifs: Cambria… more »

March 17, 2005

Roundtrip From Austin

Here I sit, home again, with South by Southwest weighing heavy in my heart. Over the last five days I met some amazing people, and finally put faces to many names. The magic of SXSW lies in the attendees, and this is the reason I only made it to one film. When you see someone, you simply go introduce yourself.… more »

March 9, 2005

Deep in the Heart of Texas

At first light this Friday morning, Rob, Rollo and I will be traveling down to Texas for South By South West (or “South By” as I am told people in-the-know call it). This marks my first trip to Texas, and even though I can’t partake in the BBQ, I am still excited. I will be speaking on a panel entitled… more »

February 28, 2005

Independent Workflow

When I started out on my own a few months ago I quickly became aware of the need for better organization; not only for myself, but for the sake of the people I work with. I have always considered myself an organized person, but this was a bigger jump from being employed. It’s always easier when you can just focus… more »

February 9, 2005

Design Matters

Yesterday’s post sparked some interesting discussions about the value of design and the seeming “worthiness” of clients who don’t “get it”. Well, I’ll go out on a limb here and bet that many of you are in the same boat as I am. I don’t have solely ideal clients beating my door down; almost all have genuine merit, but even… more »

February 8, 2005

Automation Will Kill Us All

It’s your company. You started it as a small idea and turned it into something people can’t live without. You know what’s best for your company and the best direction to take it. As such, you don’t really welcome outside influence or suggestions on the direction your company is taking. Your company has had the same logo for 10 years,… more »

January 25, 2005


Wow. I just watched Belief’s presentation, Pollinate Chain Reaction, from Promax/BDA 2004 in New York (via Mr. Sutter), and I feel like staying up for a few days straight to create something. The video from the lecture, is 45 minutes long, but it will be some of the best 45 minutes you’ve spent lately. Watching this really hit home for… more »

January 24, 2005

2005 Bloggie Awards

Well then, it seems I am up for an award at the 2005 Bloggies. I can’t help but sigh after writing that because it sounds so silly. Bloggies. Despite gunning for “Best Asian Weblog”, I only managed to get into the finals for “Best-Designed Weblog”. I am pitted against some heavy contenders too, not least of which is a personal… more »

January 23, 2005

Blue Sky, Blue Sky

I had the pleasure of seeing Chip Kidd speak at my alma mater, Kutztown University, this past Friday night. Kidd is one of my favorite contemporary graphic designers and has been ever since I got heavily into design. This is the second time I have gotten to see him in person, the first being in at the Free Library in… more »

January 7, 2005

Design In-Flight

I have contributed an article entitled “Fighting Off Design Stagnation” to the latest issue of Design In-Flight magazine. The article deals with the problems designers and creative people go through as their career progresses like the pressures to remain current, competitive and imaginative. Luckily, I am friends with the talented Kevin Cornell and managed to convince him to create an… more »

December 20, 2004

Bearskinrug Version 5

The Bearskinrug of tomorrow… today! That’s right folks, Kevin Cornell, longtime friend and fellow homebody, has redesigned his site. Long gone are the iframes and comment pop-ups, paving the way for a more user friendly (and Kevin-friendly) experience. Now that he is a full time self-employed illustrator, Kevin’s main goals with this redesign were to focus more heavily on his… more »

December 2, 2004

Speaking at SXSW

It’s official! I will be speaking on a panel at the next South By Southwest in March. The panel discussion is entitled “Does Design Matter” and will be headed up by Jeffrey Zeldman. Besides Zeldman, sitting in on the panel will be Joe Clark, Kelly Goto, Adam Greenfield, and myself. I haven’t really done much public speaking, especially not to… more »

November 29, 2004

Upgrades and Downgrades

Daily Photography Given my newfound employment situation, I have had some time to rearrange a few things around here. First up, Weekly Photography is gone. Don’t cry, in its place you will now find Daily Photography! Every day you will hopefully be treated to a new photograph; just like before, there will be a photo thumb in the sidebar on… more »

November 3, 2004

The Heads of State

The Heads of State, some of the best designers around, have a brand spankin’ new site. Luckily, they’re friends of mine and they let me help out with the redesign. They were very frustrated at first from trying to find a new look for their site (as are most when doing a self-promo site since we designers are often our… more »

September 27, 2004

On the Subject of Design

I get a lot of emails from people asking me if I can recommend any good books for learning about design. So, rather than reply to all of you, I am just going to share my design book short list. This is not an exhaustive book list, nor is it a list of solely inspiring books. The majority of these… more »

August 31, 2004

Hivelogic Redesign

Well, Dan Benjamin made mention of it a little while ago, but now it has come to fruition. I realize this is now bordering on old news, but the new Hivelogic design is live. I have always enjoyed Dan’s site and writing, so when I approached him about his dissatisfaction with his site’s design, I couldn’t help but jump at… more »

July 28, 2004

Rollo is Watching You

My sock monkey Rollo has decided it’s time for his close-up. Rollo has been around for a few years, but has now taken it upon himself to emblazon his visage on a t-shirt and enter it at On the shirt Rollo can be seen donning his styrofoam cup battle helmet emblazoned with one of his many mottoes for life,… more »

July 18, 2004

Real World Standards and the CSS Ballyhoo

I went to school with a lot of good designers. My school was a bit behind when it came to technology and wasn’t able to muster up a good base of interactive classes until after I had already graduated. I originally wanted to be an illustrator. I love to draw, but quickly realized I am much better suited as a… more »

June 29, 2004

Coudal Partners Redesigns

Coudal Partners have redesigned their website. Why, you ask, write an entire post about it? Why not just plop it in your oddities sidebar? Because it’s too damn nice for that (which is not to say the stuff in there is second rate crap). I adored the design of the old version. It was subtle, beautiful page layout, very reminiscent… more »

June 16, 2004

Aged Aesthetic

As a companion piece to Cameron Moll’s That Wicked Worn Look series, I decided I would chime in with a few kernels of knowledge. Though there are many types of worn aesthetics, as you can see by my site, I love the look of aged print materials. There is a history and esteemed nostalgia associated with old editions of literature… more »

June 10, 2004

Napoleon Dynamite

Man, this film is just plain quirky. I realize how silly it is to use such a stuffy word to describe a movie. People who say things are quirky are people who usually don’t understand what they are looking at. But, this film is just that. Napoleon Dynamite is the film equivalent of a song comprised of one note, bland… more »

June 2, 2004

Summer-esque Slothdom

Isn’t it amazing how productivity comes to a grinding halt once the first hint of warm weather rolls around? The most puzzling part about it is that I hate the summer (I know its not summer yet, so lets call it summer-esque). Well, in a manner befitting of summer-esque slothdom, here is a loosely joined collection of miscellanea. To help… more »

May 24, 2004

Grey Box Methodology

After I read Underline Text in Adobe Illustrator by Douglas Bowman last week, it got me thinking about my own process for designing a website. The main point of his article focuses on not being able to underline text simply in Illustrator (which is quite annoying) and his solution and workaround. Afterwards, there was some interesting discussion about what programs… more »

May 17, 2004

Spring Upkeep

I managed to get around to some long overdue site updates and maintenance this weekend, and now have some treats for your viewing pleasure. A new set of photos called Procession of Saints which were taken this weekend in Bella Vista (in South Philadelphia) during the Bella Vista Festa. The Procession of Saints is a parade of sorts where a… more »

May 11, 2004

Sideshow Lives!

Behold! A new day brings a new website for you to munch on with your morning crumpets! I give you Sideshow. “What is this?” you might ask, coffee dribbling down your chin. Well, what you see before you is the culmination of years, yes years, of work. Now you may be saying, “Years? S’ok… I guess”. Until now, Sideshow has… more »

May 3, 2004

Pony Up

There comes a time in every young artist’s life when they create something that redefines them. Something that is the culmination of all their current knowledge put to practice and brings them up a notch or two on the food chain. When you create it, you know you have done something good… mainly because you notice, and more importantly, others… more »

February 19, 2004

The New Netscape?

What the hell is so new about The New Netscape? Seems like they are offering the same slow, memory-hogging, program polluted browser as before, but now you are paying for a connection too! You say, “Well, it must be new, the word new is underlined”. Yow! Add to all of this a horrible Flash 4 style “program tour” that butchers… more »

January 9, 2004

Some New Year House Cleaning

There has been much going on out there in the real world lately, even though there hasn’t been much going on here. So this is the time to unload a quick recap of all things of interest. Redesigned Sites Mr. Zeldman’s site has a new look…again. This one is our most favorite yet. Dan over at Hivelogic hates his newly… more »

September 16, 2003

Acme Novelty Datebook

Much to my delight, the Acme Novelty Datebook, by the astonishing Chris Ware, arrived early this week. Contrary to what the title suggests, the book is not a day planner containing pages adorned with Ware’s art, but is in fact a collection of Ware’s sketchbooks (at least a sampling of pages he could bear to release into the world) from… more »

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July 27, 2003

Power Design Redesign

After months of hard work, we have launched the latest version of the Power Design web site. Now in its seventh incarnation, this version of the site sought to push content to the front as well as keeping maintenance from being a tremendous undertaking. The bulk of the site was built as an HTML and Flash hybrid with some PHP… more »

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July 1, 2003

Born Magazine

Its once again time for the latest issue of Born Magazine (a collaborative online creative magazine that puts artists and writers together)…but this time I was asked to take part in it. I worked with translators Zack Rogow and Hamida Banu Chopra on Indian poet Sahir Ludhyanvi’s Your Voice. Here is a description of the poem from the translators: In… more »

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May 7, 2003

When Good Design Goes Bad

Well, I can’t speak for the design actually…perhaps just the art direction. The 32nd Rule of Graphic Design : Always make it bigger. No, bigger than that. I received a email from a designer friend today which contained only this: BIGGER, DAMN YOU!! Soon after I received another email, slightly longer, yet no less angst-ridden: Make THAT bigger as well.… more »

April 20, 2003

Regarding Design

Often times I hit a wall with design. My process breaks down due to any combination of factors. Sometimes deadlines, technical requirements or just plain laziness can bring about regurgitated design on my part. The urge to just sit down and start moving things around in Illustrator is too overwhelming at times and usually only heralds boxy layouts and static,… more »