Archive for December, 2006

Way #24

For the second year in-a-row, Drew McLellan has put together another excellent 24 Ways — an advent calendar of helpful web articles written by fine folks from all over the web.

To cap off this year’s set, I’ve contributed Gravity-Defying Page Corners, a simple little trick for adding dimension to a plain ol’ box. It also might the first (and after reading you’ll probably be thinking “hopefully last“) web tutorial written in verse. It’s corny for sure, but fun to write and hopefully read. Many thanks to Drew for wrapping up 48 presents to us all.

Cheers, Interwebizens

2006 was an amazing life-changing year, and largely because of stuff that has nothing to do with the web or business. But as I lock up the BitCave until 2007, I just wanted to write a quick thank you to all the clients, icon/t-shirt customers and readers of SimpleBits. You’ve made it possible for me to focus on the stuff that really matters, and for that I’m grateful.

So, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (in case I ignore blogging until then)! Cheers indeed, interwebizens.

Reasons I Like Twitter

  • I am a sporadic IM’r. At times, I find it incredibly distracting. Twitter is like the lazy-person’s IM. Post if you want to, listen if you want to. Or not.
  • The character limit. For SMS of course — but limitations can often nurture creativity.
  • Learning things about your pals that you otherwise would never hear. As mundane as they might be.
  • Half conversations: “@dude55: you are so totally right on, and I believe what you just said was the most poignant, important, compelling sentence that has ever been posted to the internets.” I sure wish I had a friend named dude55.
  • It’s lucky enough to have an “e”.
  • It’s simple, focused and immediate.
  • Because blogging requires too much time and thought.
  • Yes damnit, I do want to know when you go to bed, or when you’re eating a burrito.

Microformats for Designers

In a little less than two months, I’ll be heading to Vancouver to speak about “microformats for designers” at Web Directions North. It’ll be a fun topic, and I’m starting to put together the material. I’m looking forward to talking about microformats from a designer’s perspective, including a little bit about the logo development, the implementations over at Cork’d (and the unexpected cool things that came out of that), as well as applying CSS to microformats.

But I’m also looking for help. What are some interesting things happening with microformats and design? Know of any great examples, visual experiments, etc.? Here are a few to get started:

I know there’s a lot happening out there, so let’s hear about it. And thanks!

Re-Brand New

For the first time ever, SimpleBits has a logo! Roughly six years ago, I took a stab at creating an isometric set of three boxes (cardboard, to be specific). It was really an icon — and one that sat in the header alongside my personal site at the time, the now-defunct cederholm.org. Over the years, it’s always been there, and I’ve probably overdone it in terms of branding: I put the boxes everywhere. It became the brand. But it was always awkward, and highly inflexible. It worked terrible in print, where at small sizes, the pixelated blocks looked more like botched clip art.

Several months ago, I finally started on a new logo design — something I’d been meaning to do for years. It went rather quickly, playing with four curly brackets set in Avenir that created a frame around a hand-drawn cube (vector this time!). I finally had something I didn’t hate the next day. I’m excited to have a mark that’ll be flexible going forward, and it was crucial for me to create one that could be any size, or color (even looking intact using a single color).

(fig). old and new logos
I owe Greg Storey (Airbag Industries) thanks for suggesting Whitney for the logo’s type, after I realized that the previously-utilized Triplex just wasn’t working.

It was the logo refresh that forced me to rework the site design as well. I’m not one to change things for the sake of changing things, but the new logo was a good excuse to update the templates as well. And what you see now is the result of several weeks of tinkering.

Much of the structure and layout of the site remain the same. Nothing earth-shattering here. This time around, I’m trying out an elastic (Elastic Design) em-based layout. If you’re unfamiliar, try resizing the text in your browser to see what happens. For this particular site, I think it works well. If I had the need/desire/requirement for an additional column, then I would’ve explored other fluid or variable fixed-width (clagnut: Variable fixed width layout) options. But for this simple, two-column set-up, I thought it’d be interesting to try something with ems.

I’m hoping the revised logo will help swing the rest of the company forward. I have a lot of ideas and things in mind for the future, and this is merely step #1. Here goes nothing. But first, new business cards need ordering.