I could recommend this post to almost any designer who works with front end web developers. It’s surprising how many designers I’ve worked through over my career that have little knowledge of what’s mentioned here, especially this:
It is the nature of the web to be flexible, and with this flexibility comes a degree of letting go of control. The first step in this process is to leave behind the idea of pixel perfection.
As a publishing platform, the web is on hard times. Paywalls and subscription plans are rarely successful. That makes ads and trackers the primary source of revenue. Yet ad tech is usually poorly designed, intrusive and inefficient. It slows down pages and pisses off users. That’s been underlined in recent articles highlighting the performance of The Verge , iMore and others. An otherwise simple news post bloats into megabytes of data, with ads and trackers taking the overwhelming share of that weight.
In the face of web bloat, users are opting out. Many strip out ad and tracker content with tools like AdBlock and Ghostery. Or they abandon the web for faster native publishing platforms like Facebook’s Instant News and Snapchat. Along these lines, Vox’s Ezra Klein predicts publishers morphing into a wire service, where the web becomes just one of many content platforms to publish on. Large publishers like Buzzfeed and The New York Times have already moved in this direction.
This is concerning. In reality, the web can be performant with ads, a subject matter for another post. A weakened web presence makes for an ugly future for publishing. It hurts the publishers themselves, and us, as readers.
Essential reading from Todd VanDerWerff at Vox regarding where technology and the open web is going:
Now, however, our articles increasingly seem to be individual insects trapped in someone else’s web. The internet has the exact opposite problem of every other medium. Instead of going from something for everybody to something for a large series of hyper-specialized niches, we’re navigating the choppy seas where once stood an archipelago and increasingly stands a continent. As TV and music and even publishing become the internet, the internet is becoming everything else — and it’s taking so much of what seemed to make it special with it.
Ken Adam is a legendary, British production design designer, most famous for his innovative work on early James Bond films (e.g. Dr. No, Goldfinger, Thunderball). Later in his career, Adam was the production designer for The Spy Who Loved Me. To quote the Youtube video:
One of the sets included the villain’s secret lair that was located inside of an enormous tanker ship. Adam struggled with lighting the massive set, and called in a favor from his old boss…Stanley Kubrick. Under an
agreement of total secrecy, Kubrick was snuck onto the empty set, where he spent 4 hours setting lighting and advising Ken Adam.
Wonderful post by Miguel Penabella over at Kill Screen Daily on The Last of Us, the critically acclaimed adventure/horror PS3 game from 2013. There’s many parallels in The Last of Us with not just zombie and post-apocalyptic films, but also John Ford’s The Searchers. Penabella’s breakdown of the similarities in theme and tone is very well done.
German culture site Freunde Evon Freunden runs an extensive interview with the legendary designer at home:
One of his home’s main attractions is his two-story bookshelf, mostly filled with titles pertinent to his profession and only accessible by the seated pulley system Spiekermann developed for one of his favorite leisure activities – browsing his massive library and getting lost in his passion for words and images. “It’s almost like a safety net having all my books here. I have a lot of cool stuff that other people don’t have, and I love browsing and discovering books I’ve had 50 years. I’d love to spend time just browsing through my bookshelves. Every time I go to look for something I find something else, you get totally stuck.”