Archive for ‘simplebits’ category

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.

New at the Iconshoppe: Square Dance

Last month, we launched Disco, and today we’re happy to announce the second installment of the Ballroom Family of stock web icons over at the IconShoppe. It’s called Square Dance, and it’s a simple little set of rounded-square icons that come in 7 colors, 3 sizes and 2 formats (GIF and PNG). And just like Disco, it’s also reasonably priced at just thirty-nine bucks.

Square Dance icons sample

I’ve been meaning to put more time into stocking the shelves of the ‘Shoppe for a while now, and Meagan has been handling the meticulous color/format production of these new sets, with more to come.

New at the IconShoppe: Disco

We’re happy to announce a brand spanking new icon set for sale over at the IconShoppe. It’s called Disco, and it’s a simple little set of disc-shaped icons that come in 7 colors, 3 sizes and 2 formats (GIF and PNG). It’s also reasonably priced at just thirty-nine bucks.

Disco icons sample

The IconShoppe has been offering our hand-crafted web icons to go for designers and site owners. We’re excited to finally add a new family to the shelves, with more to come in the coming months.

Also, going on sale today is Chameleon16, a TrueType pixel font for Mac and Windows that’s inspired by the Chameleon family of color-changing icons we’ve been serving since 2005. Now at just $19 USD, Chameleon16 is now the cheapest way to get the Chameleon Original set of icons (plus alphanumeric characters!).


We’ve created a special place where we can recommend various books, music and products that help us design and kick ass. That place is called SimpleGoods, a custom little Amazon Store (or “AStore” as those in the know call them).


Design and customization by Meagan, who is now an expert in overriding horrendous legacy code via a tiny textarea (read more about the process). One is limited in terms of what’s customizable in an AStore, but Meagan found a way to make it unique and awesome (just don’t look under the hood, and send your code grievances directly to, thanks ;-).

Some of the categories are merely stubs for adding products in the future as we come across them. And you might be interested to know that the latest item added is our new Hoover “Slider” Rechargeable Broom, a vacuum alternative for the space-conscious. Apparently when a vacuum is small enough, they’re called “electric brooms”. Just FYI.

Fresh Digs

After some previous hosting issues, we’re happy to be up and running again, now with Media Temple. There are dusty corners to clean up still, but most everything is happily buzzing along on mt’s (dv) service. Many thanks to the folks over there for helping me transition several domains and a lot of legacy stuff—particularly Chris Lea.

Prior to the move, my email had been broken for 2 days. Everything is fine now, but I’m pretty certain some email was lost along the way. If you sent something in the last few days that was urgent, you might want to send it again to be safe.

We now return to pushing pixels, moving other domains, cleaning up broken things, worrying about the economy, and waffling on the Oxford Comma.

Welcome, Meagan Fisher

On a brief break from diaper changes and time-outs, I have an important announcement. Several months ago, I put out a call for help. Today, I’m excited to announce the search is over!

Meagan Fisher (talented designer, front-end coder and owl aficionado) will be joining us as a part-time assistant. Meagan has recently moved from sunny Florida to Salem, and will help SimpleBits become slightly less tiny than it’s been for the past six years or so, beginning next month. I’m really excited about some of the new things this will allow us to work on.

Some of her recent work includes a wonderful Rails Machine redesign (where she worked with Dan Benjamin, who I owe for putting us in touch) and Halogen Guides Greener. You can read more about her big move over at her blog.

So, welcome aboard, Meagan — and get ready to become a converted Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics fan (I’m omitting the Bruins since they have a bit of catching up to do).

Authentic Jobs

Since 2005, Authentic Jobs has been:

… a targeted destination for standards-aware designers and developers and the companies seeking to hire them.

It’s a fantastic resource for the community — and one I’ve often pointed folks to that seek help.

You’ll notice some Authentic Jobs listed right here in the sidebar of SimpleBits. We’re happy to have joined the network of partners over the weekend. AJ proprietor (and designer extraordinaire) Cameron Moll announces the new additions over at his site. It’s great to be aboard.

SimpleBits Seeks Apprentice/Assistant

Dear Esteemed Readers: I need help. I suppose I’ve needed help for quite some time. But I wasn’t in a hurry. Things have settled down enough to start a formal search for an eager assistant/apprentice/intern to help SimpleBits grow a tiny bit more.

I’m trying to keep an open mind about who you might be. In essence, I’m looking for the right person instead of trying to fill a well-outlined job description. Here are a couple important details about this little position that we’re looking to fill:

  • Part-time. Mostly likely, just one day a week at a reasonable hourly rate.
  • You’ll work onsite in our small studio here in downtown historic Salem, Massachusetts. We’re situated in an old brick row building with a great coffeeshop on the first floor. Being onsite is an important part of this search. I miss collaborating with someone in person, with a goal of building a fun place to come to work to everyday.
  • You’ll hopefully have some HTML and CSS experience, perhaps you dabble in backend development or graphic design. You might help test and do research, or you might help mail t-shirts or help develop future SimpleBits ideas and products. There’s a variety of places you could plug in here—it all depends on finding the right person and focusing on the strengths they might have.
    Best of all though, you’ll definitely have fun. And you’ll get to work on some cool projects. Interested and local to Massachusetts? Please send over some info about you, and we’ll get the ball rolling.


You may have noticed a little advertising spot over in the sidebar there. SimpleBits is pleased to have joined The Deck, which is described perfectly as:

The premier advertising network for reaching creative, web and design professionals, The Deck serves up millions of page views each month and is uniquely configured to connect the right marketers to a targeted, influential audience.

I’d never slap just any ol’ ad up here. And that’s why I’m excited to join a network that is picky about the advertising it accepts. My latte addiction has hope now.

Special thanks to Jim Coudal and the rest of my fellow Deckians.


After a brief period of unstyledness, we’re back with a realign and overhaul of Aesthetically, it’s not much of a departure from the previous design—but under the hood is new markup, new stylesheets and a strict grid layout based on ems. After moving into new physical digs last month (more on this later), it only seemed appropriate to spruce up the virtual ones as well.

As usual, the overhaul started innocently enough, with a little tinkering here and there that snowballed into tearing the old CSS out, while the site embarrassingly stood naked for a week. But the challenge of creating a em-based grid was too tantalizing (the second time I’ve used that word in as many days).

A few notes when trying to create a grid layout using ems:

  • Using the 62.5% method for sizing text has the advantage of setting gutters, borders, etc. at values of ten (e.g. 1em = 10px).
  • Remember to avoid specifying widths and font-size on the same element (or at least be consistent about it).
  • Realize that when adjusting text size in Safari, the grid will only stay perfect on a random bump. Firefox seems to stay intact at all times. I assume this is due to a rounding discrepancy.
  • Understand that when building an already-wide layout, it’ll get really wide, really fast. That’s OK. Wide is the new drop shadow.
  • Have plenty of coffee at hand.

A large motivation for this tinkering had to do with the Notebook entry styling. I’ve tweaked the MovableType templates to enable posting of quotes and photos as well as long entries and QuickBits (links). A “tumblelog” as the kids would call it. That doesn’t mean there’ll be 100 posts a day—but it does mean (I hope) more posting in general.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there are several dusty corners to clean up around here.