Outer Banks’ Storms

I’m always dreaming of travel.  Trips I want to take, trips I hope to take, far-off places I want to experience…

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time looking up information on The Outer Banks, in North Carolina.  I’ve never been, and always wanted to, and that’s the best reason to go anywhere, if you ask me.  And, they’re within driving distance.  We’re thinking of packing up the car, bringing the dog, and renting a beach house for a week or two in September.  I’ve been dreaming of fresh seafood, sitting in the sun, and storms.  Yup, storms.  I was born in Florida after all, and I think it’s in my blood… sitting on the beach, watching a storm roll in.  Sounds like a Bob Seger song or something, but I’m serious.  Just look at this gorgeous photo taken by Flickr user Harold Stiver.  See what I mean?

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

I recently took a holiday in New York City.  It was amazing.  Friends, food, good drinks, art, shopping, and lots of walking around.  My pals and I stayed in the lovely apartment of Alex Williams and Joanna Goddard, of A Cup of Jo fame.  While in their apartment, I noticed that they had a copy of their gorgeous wedding invitation and wedding program (designed by the amazing Rifle Paper Co) tacked to their fridge.  I noticed a quote from a book on their invite, and of course, I had to check it out further.  I love it when people quote books, because it’s usually a very personal choice, and it shows so much about them.

The book that Alex and Joanna quoted was The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.  I’ll stop right here and say that I would NOT normally be interested in a book with a title like that.  But since Alex and Joanna seemed to like it, I thought I’d give it a try.  So I put it on order on the Toronto Public Library’s fancy new website.

I’ve just started the book, and I’m only about 25 pages in, but I already love it. You know when you come across a beautiful sentence, and you read it over again a few times?  That’s already happened a LOT and, like I said, I’m only 25 pages in.  Wow.

PS – I just did a quick wikipedia search to learn more about the book (but not to spoil the ending or anything), and I found out that Nicole Krauss is married to Jonathan Safran Foer.  Who is another amazing writer.  Don’t you just love it when amazing people are married to other amazing people?  I do.

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:

Solar by Ian McEwan

I love Ian McEwan.  I’ll read anything he writes.  I especially loved Saturday, On Chesil Beach, Amsterdam, and Atonement (the book, definitely not the movie).  So when I saw that he had a new book, Solar, I bought it right away.

Just finished it last night, and I’m still not sure what to think. It’s deeply satirical, but not always clever.  Sometimes interesting, sometimes boring.  Really heavy on physics, and I actually like physics.

Overall, a good read, but not the best.  Oh well.  You win some, you lose some.

Art History the way it’s supposed to be

I love visual art.  I like to go to art museums.  Often I see stuff that I remember learning in school.  And I kind of remember why it’s important, or what the piece is all about.  But sometimes I forget, or I don’t know… and that’s where SmartHistory comes in.  It’s a website that knocks the socks off any art history text book.  Forget words – this site is loaded with video, images, a blog, and lively discussions.

If you thought you didn’t understand art, or maybe you’re intimidated by it, check out SmartHistory.  It was created by some real smarty pants artsy types.  They know what they’re talking about.   Watch and learn.  And enjoy!