Moving Desk

I would love to stand up more each day.  I sit at my desk for hours and hours, chained to my computers.  I sometimes wish I could have a standing desk, but it seems like too much trouble to move my equipment.

That’s why this desk by Herman Miller is some awesome.  It moves.  Its soft surface is supposed to be good for your wrists and mouse activity.  The whole thing slides, tilts, and moves up and down.  Too bad it’s kind of ugly though.  And since it’s Herman Miller, you know it’s going to be expensive.

Typefaces to Drool Over

Yesterday I received the MyFonts “Rising Stars” email newsletter for July.  As usual, it was full of gorgeous typefaces.  I guess that impulsive type purchases are not a normal thing, but in my world, it’s so hard to resist…

Two typefaces from the newsletter really stood out for me – one from Argentina called Lady Rene (it’s the top image above).  Doesn’t it remind you of script from an Edward Gorey illustration?  For the right project, this font could be really fun.  It’s $59 though, and I wonder how much use I would get out of it.  I think for now, I’ll take Lady Rene for inspiration – I’m going to try to do some hand lettering that’s similar.

The other typeface I noticed was Monarcha – a really versatile serif for lots of text (see picture above, of Monarcha in a book).   The cool part is all the OpenType features – small caps, fractions, ligatures, etc.  This would be a great typeface for a large project that needs a lot of options.  But at $215 for the 8-font set, it’s gonna have to wait.

Flickr’s Lookin’ Different…

Flickr’s new look is in beta, but you can try it out now.  Take a look at my picture here:

Click “take me to the future” above the image.  See the change?  There are a bunch of new features, but my favourite is the easy access to “view in lightbox”.  Press the letter F on your keyboard (and then press F again to exit lightbox mode).  Gorgeous!

Books About Web Design

I am often tempted by books on web design.  Kind of like when I got really excited and pre-ordered the Smashing Book.  I’ve now had it for months, and I’ve hardly cracked the spine.

Now I see that the team behind A List Apart (an amazing online web design magazine) has launched A Book Apart, and their first publication, HTML 5 for Web Designers.  My gut instinct was to pre-order.  But then I remembered the Smashing Book.

Do I really want to sit and read about web design?  Or just mess around with it?  I think it’s a combo of both.  I need to learn more about  HTML 5, and soon.  If there was a dream team of instructors, these guys would be it.  So maybe I have to pull myself away from the computer screen and crack open the books.

Funny on Friday: Grandma’s Google Call

Today’s Funny on Friday is thanks to Ian, who showed me the clip below.  Apparently it was making its way around the nerd websites, but I missed it.

This is an audio recording of somebody’s Grandma calling some sort of tech support (not Google) asking how to remove the playable Pacman game that Google put up on its homepage on May 22 (Pacman’s 30th birthday).  Apparently Pacman was making some noise, driving Grandma crazy.  Listen to the clip, and be awed by the tech support guy’s amazing patience.  And if you want to play Google Pacman, it’s still online here.

Typeface to drool over – Somewhat

Some people splurge on lipstick.  Or shoes.  I splurge on typefaces.  I was on the MyFonts website looking for something else, and I stumbled on the “Somewhat” font family.  This typeface is gorgeous.  I’m really drawn to hand-lettering lately, and it’s perfectly on-trend.  I have a project I’m working on right now that NEEDS this typeface.  Or at least, that’s how I’m justifying the purchase, ’cause I’m buying it right now.

The Dying Art of Design?

I don’t miss a day without spending at least 30 minutes reading the latest articles in Smashing Magazine (an online magazine for web design and development).  This morning, I read this article: The Dying Art of Design.  There’s a lot of good stuff in this article.

I recently gave two interviews to web design students, and both asked how I set myself (and my designs) apart from all the crap out there.  This article talks a lot about designers’ dependence on freebies, tutorials, and plainly ripping off other websites.  That’s not design – that’s a copy machine.  Working on a design should hurt your brain.  It should take time.  Research.  Inspiration.  Lots of sketching.  That’s called the design process, and it’s what people pay the big bucks for.

If you’re a designer who depends on templates, then you’re not a designer.  You’re a hack.  And if you’re a client who just wants your website to look like everything else out there, then get yourself a template.  But don’t kid around – that’s not web design.  And definitely don’t call me, because I won’t help you with that crap.

Three sidenotes:

1. I’m not trying to be mean.  Or harsh.  But come on people… if web designers can’t make the point for good design, then we’re all going to hell.

2. I found it ridiculously ironic that in the middle of the “Dying Art of Design” article, there was a giant ad for “create a free website”.  Which is exactly what we’re trying to get people to avoid.  Sigh.

3. All of this talk reminds me of this gorgeous plea from Jaime Calabro at 72 Ave: