Archive: May, 2014

Responsive design sameness

Designer and speaker Stephen Hay:

Emulation is a part of the evolution of design. And the web, for that matter. But design sameness tends to fade when one forgets all of the existing patterns, all of the Bootstraps, all of the preconceived design solutions. Design sameness fades when designers stop focusing on which solutions for their problem are out there and start focusing on the problem at hand.

Solve that problem, and maybe the solution is exactly what your peer implemented, in the exact same way. But maybe not.

Industry-leading designers share their current top 3 favorite typefaces

88 different typefaces are mentioned on this informative Typewolf post; Avenir, Brandon Grotesque and Adelle lead the pack.

‘Only God Forgives’ VFX showreel

Regardless of your thoughts on Nicholas Wending Refn’s Only God Forgives (I have mostly mixed to negative feelings), it’s a visually assured, at times stunning work with its slow dolly shots and strong primary color usage. So it’s really interesting to see how much visual effects played into post production, and not just for the violent scenes. There’s some otherwise mundane yet critical touches, like removing all traces of dolly tracks to give the effect of a floating, dream-like camera, or editing out a small ceiling fan to distract from an actor’s performance.

As a warning, there’s a lot of very grisly, bloody content highlighted in this video (NSFW).

Do you take work for granted or with gratitude?

Smart post by iDoneThis manager Janet Choi analyzing how a few small bits of gratitude can dramatically improve productivity and morale at work. At first reading through how LinkedIn implemented this practice in their meetings felt cheesy: everyone goes around and shares a personal and professional “win”. But then I considered how often I’ve seen meetings turn into negative complaints on how a feature or design isn’t working. Injecting some forced positively up front could open up a nice change of pace.

Why have today’s designers stopped dreaming?

Designer and speaker Elliot Jay Stocks:

If you’ve identified the website described here, I’m afraid there are no prizes, because there’s no correct answer. It is, in fact, a number of websites. A very large number. And if a new product website launches tomorrow, chances are it will fit that description, too.

The web right now is a beautiful place. Web design has matured as an industry and the technology now enables us to create whatever we might dream of in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. But it’s clear that laziness amongst designers has never been more rife.

Responsive email patterns

HTML emails have always been troublesome with their required usage of old school practices like tables for layout. The problem becomes more difficult as you try and add responsiveness into the mix for various viewport sizes.

So it was pretty cool when I saw Khoi Vinh tweet out a link to this responsive email design compilation recently. It’s smartly thought out: check out the original design and copy the base HTML code below to get started.

The skip

Really fascinating music research by Music Machinery on how often we actually end up skipping through songs on streaming music services. The blog ran through extensive data provided by Spotify; turns out on average we skip 24% of songs in the first five seconds and skip before the song finishes almost half the time. That’s way higher than I first anticipated.

As the blog explores, it’s a big incentive why many convert to paying accounts to streaming services – not being able to skip is a large hindrance. (via MacStories)

Station to station

As much can be written about the content of this long form Pitchfork piece as its distinctive design. I’d recommend the former though over the latter; while the scroll-heavy design is often eye catching, it’s busy to a fault. Exploded bits of text that morph back to its original form is cool the first time you view it, but are increasingly annoying when you see it’s used commonly to split up sections. Radio waves fade in and out of view as you scroll, but become distracting when you’re deep into the read.

It’s still well worth your time. Writer Eric Harvey has compiled an exhaustive look at streaming media, from 1930s jukeboxes through to Spotify and beyond.

Grunt throttle

Clever Grunt plugin to simulate a very slow internet connection during web testing. This should be extremely useful for high weight pages, especially with those where large images do the heavy lifting.