Archive for ‘products’ category

New in the Shop: Amp Tee

I’m happy to announce the release of the latest shirt to hit the SimpleBits Shop… the Amp Tee is available for purchase, like right now.

The creative brief for this shirt would’ve gone something like this: Draw an ampersand. Make it musical. Refine its shape, but leave it imperfect for a handcrafted finish. Print it big on a heather black, super-soft, 50/50 shirt from American Apparel. Wear it with pride.

shirt

Introducing Dribbble

Let the games begin! Rich Thornett and I have been building Dribbble for what seems like years (oh wait, it has been that long). About a week ago, we quietly rolled back the curtain so the public could finally see what’s been happening in private beta. I’m pretty damned excited about this.

Firstly, what is Dribbble? From the FAQ:

Dribbble is show and tell for designers, developers and other creatives. Members share sneak peeks of their work as “shots” — small screenshots of the designs and applications they are working on. It’s also a place to talk design, give and receive feedback and iterate toward better work.

By posing the question, “What are you working on?“, Dribbble creates a 400 × 300 pixel window into the creative process that didn’t exist previously (many of you may remember Cameron Moll’s Screengrab Confab back in 2004, an early inspiration). A place to peek over the shoulder of those creating beautiful things, leaking works-in-progress or teasing with glimpses of unreleased projects. A place to discover new designers, illustrators, developers and other creatively-minded folks to give and receive feedback. And a place to iterate and play off the shots of others. What Rich and I have been actually creating is a community.

We’ve bootstrapped Dribbble 100%, working on it in our free time. I’ve been continuing the writing, speaking, client work, etc. that happens here at SimpleBits, while Rich is a full-time Ruby on Rails Developer at Cambridge-based PatientsLikeMe. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to create between the two of us, while juggling other responsibilities. Working on this with Rich has been one of the most exciting, challenging and enjoyable projects I’ve worked on to date, and I’m feeling very fortunate to have been able to collaborate with him right here in Salem (truly the next big web hub, yeah?)

I also couldn’t be happier with the path we’ve taken with developing Dribbble: a slow one. Building the community one member at time. Worrying about details. Iterating constantly. Listening to feedback. We’ve never been in a rush.

Quality has been one of our main priorities since opening up the beta some 9 months ago. It’s the reason Dribbble is still invitation only. Not because it’s an elite hangout, but that having the community draft new talent keeps the cat photos out (almost) and helps us scale the app as needed.

Much much more to write and talk about going forward. But for now, it’s great to have the court opened up to the public, and we’re looking forward to making the experience even better and growing the community. For now, get in there and check out some of the amazing things that people are working on. It’s truly inspiring.

New at the Shop

A few weeks ago, we moved the studio (affectionately dubbed the BitCave) across the street to newer, slightly larger digs. It’s more comfortable, the windows open, we have our own temperature controls–you know, real lavish stuff.

Yesterday, we relaunched the SimpleBits Shop, bringing the fulfillment back in house. Our slightly larger space is able to accomodate the stock, and now each order will be lovingly hand-packed by resident Commerce Director, Meagan Fisher. I’m excited to grow this arm of the business, since it fulfills a creative outlet for non-digital goods.

New at the shop is the Bit Monsters limited edition letterpress print. Just 200 copies, signed and numbered. It was printed here in Massachusetts (New Bedford, to be exact) at EM Letterpress, who I can’t recommend enough. I had the pleasure of visiting the press while the print ran, and watched and learned about the process from owner Elias Roustom. Here’s a video taken that day of the print process on the Heidelberg Windmill.

Also available, in limited quantity, is the official Dribbble tee. We’ll be ordering more sizes, and more importantly announcing news about the site and its launch very soon.

New Tee: Ampersandwich

Delicious typography. A super-soft, “Tri-Blend” t-shirt in espresso brown from American Apparel, printed with everyone’s favorite logogram (set in Knockout‘s Ultra Sumo weight). Peanut butter? Mustard? Fluff? Jelly? Either way, we think the ampersand is a ligature for eat and not et.

The Ampersandwich Tee is available now over at the shop. For fine typography aficionados such as yourself.

New Charge Tee, New Shop

Charge TeeWe’ve printed up a new version of the popular Charge Tee. This time around, it’s a rusted battery on a Navy Blue, 100% cotton shirt from American Apparel. It’s also the first item in our newly relaunched shop.simplebits.com.

The fine folks at AcmePrints have been printing SimpleBits tees for us for years, and they’re now handling the order fulfillment as well. This will allow us to concentrate on more important stuff, like offering more designs, rather than packing and shipping shirts (even though we enjoyed that).

The shop itself runs on the excellent bigcartel, a simple, hosted shopping cart for independent merchants. We love it, and Meagan was even singing its praises while doing the CSS customization, which all means good things.

Stay tuned for more of the original Charge Tees, and some other new designs as we grow the shop a bit more.

Announcing: Handcrafted CSS

I wrote another book. It’s called Handcrafted CSS: More Bulletproof Web Design, and it’ll be published by New Riders next month.

I had help this time. The unstoppable Ethan Marcotte contributed an absolute gem of a chapter on the fluid grid. And I think it’s worth the cover price for the pages he authored alone. You might remember Ethan’s recent article on the subject over at A List Apart, and his chapter builds quite a bit on that, while tying it back into the book’s case study. And fellow beverage aficionado and bon vivant, Brian Warren, handled the technical editing.

Handcrafted CSS websiteThe book is largely a culmination of the talks I’ve been giving around the world over the last year or so. In some ways, it’s a continuation of Bulletproof Web Design, in that it was convenient to be able to jump right into examples and the core of what I wanted to write about. There are a lot of CSS books out there, and the last thing I wanted to do was just write another general overview.

So this one gets specific rather quickly. And the timing seemed right. The browser landscape is changing rapidly. Browsers are implementing new and evolving standards faster. It’s an exciting time to be designing for the web. Firefox 3.5 has just been released, and with it came a goodie bag of CSS3 properties that can now be utilized between Mozilla and Webkit-based browsers (as well as Opera). I’m using the term “progressive enrichment” to describe advanced CSS and CSS3 properties that work in forward-thinking browsers today. And that’s a heavy focus of the book.

A single case study for the fictional “Tugboat Coffee Company” was used as a common thread throughout the entire book, where progressive enrichment, reevaluating past methods and best practices and flexible, bulletproof concepts are stressed. Part of being a craftsman of the web is paying attention to the details that matter most, and the book is an attempt to share a collection of those details using current methods.

In addition to the book, I also recorded a DVD. A video crew from Peachpit came and set up here at the BitCave in Salem, and the result is Handcrafted CSS: Bulletproof Essentials. It covers concepts from my previous book and the new one, while relating all of it to the Tugboat design. There was also a ukulele hanging around the office and I managed to put it to good use as a background score. The video acts as a unique bridge between the two books, and either comes bundled in a Video Edition of Handcrafted CSS or by itself.

More info can be found at the book + DVD’s companion website and Twitter account, where Ethan and I will be announcing another exciting aspect of this project in the next day or so. Stay tuned.

Charge Tee Restocked

Charge TeeBack by popular demand, we’ve just printed a fresh batch of Charge tees, and they’re now once again available in all sizes. Just in time for Summer, the Charge tee is printed on heather gray “Tri-Blend” shirts by American Apparel, which is a soft, lightweight, super-comfortable shirt. We also think @wrycoder said it best when he declared:

Softest shirt ever. Like being hugged by kittens.

Couldn’t agree more. Also, check out the Charged Up pool at Flickr for photographs of fine folks wearing a fine garment.

Charge Tee Update

Apparently there’s a market for battery-adorned garments! Our Charge Tee (released earlier this month) was a hit, and the first batch sold out quickly. We’re expecting a new shipment tomorrow, and will be shipping any remaining orders as fast as possible. We’ve also opened up ordering for all sizes again — we just can’t guarantee a pre-Christmas delivery on new orders from today forward. Then again, a battery-adorned t-shirt really makes a great New Year’s gift, doesn’t it?

Also, it seems our initial batch is starting to make its way into the wild. Check out the Charged Up pool over at Flickr for photos of the t-shirt being worn by cool people like you.

Charge Tee

Charge TeeIt’s been awhile since we designed a t-shirt, and today we’re happy to announce the fresh-off-the-presses and just-in-time-for-the-holidays Charge Tee: a simple black battery icon screen-printed on an athletic grey Tri-Blend shirt from American Apparel. The Tri-Blend is the softest, most comfortable shirt I’ve owned. And you’ll love it too. Wear it to the gym, coffeeshop, pub—or wherever you recharge.
The shirts (like previous designs) were printed by Acme Prints in Arizona, and will be hand-packed by myself, Meagan, or anyone else we can coax into helping.