A response to “Some thoughts on beauty”

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine about my previous post which touched on what people find “beautiful” in web design. It started me thinking more about the standards and values by which the web design community measures its work, and how easy it is to be a bit blinkered about it. continue reading

Some thoughts on beauty

Some time ago now I read a short review by Martin Belam of a presentation made at last year’s EuroIA conference. The presentation – On Beauty, given by Andrea Resmini and Eric Reiss – was described by Belam as “unbloggable”, but he gave a good description of their delivery of a visual essay on the nature of beauty and how information architects and web designers should address it. continue reading

On responsive web design

I recently got involved in a discussion on Twitter about responsive web design (RWD) and I thought I’d put some thoughts about it in writing. I recently redesigned this blog to be responsive (more about that in a future post) and it’s an exciting and fairly recent development in the world of the web. continue reading

An infographic revisited

Infographics have become very popular on the web in the last year: I see several links to examples every day on my Twitter feed. There are some fantastic examples out there, but it has to be said that there are some going under the name which would be better represented by just a bulleted list of text and figures. If, when you remove the text and numbers from the graphic, the remaining graphic becomes meaningless and no longer tells a story then the graphic fails the first rule of infographics: show, don’t tell. continue reading

On Lucian Freud

I had, for many years, a hankering to be painted by Lucian Freud. Sadly, as he died nearly a year ago, this was never to be (although it would have been pretty unlikely even had he still been alive). I hate having my photograph taken (I really don’t photograph well) but I would have loved to have seen how Freud would have painted my (as it has been described on more than one occasion) unusual face. continue reading

On baking

I’m not much of a cake eater (most of my cakes are made in order to use things up) but I do enjoy baking, and the new series of The Great British Bake Off being screened on BBC2 has rekindled my cake-making enthusiasm. I don’t really enjoy watching the programme – there’s too much opportunity for public humiliation for my liking, and I haven't really learnt anything from it, other than that Paul Hollywood appears to consume a great deal more salt than I do – but the final results look fantastic and you can always pick up an idea or two about new ingredients. continue reading

Type high

I’ve just returned from a three-day course at Central St Martins in London. I went last year on their 100 Design Projects week-long course and I found it very… challenging, shall we say. It confirmed my feeling that I am not an artist but a designer who needs to create within certain constraints.

This year’s course, run by Helen Ingham of Hi-Artz Press, was much more to my taste. A short introduction to letterpress printing, with a chance to try out compositing, printing with metal and wood type and using a couple of different machines, it most certainly provided constraints to work within! continue reading

In memory of my friend Kay

It’s been longer than I’d like since I last posted here, but the last couple of weeks have been a little odd. Nearly a fortnight ago my friend Kay Dekker died, and I’ve been trying to put something about him into words. continue reading

On camping

We have just returned from a few days’ camping in Wales. Camping is an acquired taste, I know: some people love it, some can’t bear the idea. When I was 10 I went camping with the Guides in Knebworth. When I returned I sat with my mother at the kitchen table and said: ‘I don't care if I live to be a hundred. That is the worst weekend I will ever spend in my life.’ continue reading

A genealogical map

A few weeks ago Dave and I went to London to see Peter Brötzmann play at Café Oto in Dalston. It was a great night (except for the fact that the pre-gig interview overran somewhat and left us no time for a proper meal), and we’d booked a hotel not far away so we had a relaxed wander back there and didn’t have to rush for the last train. The next day I insisted that we walk into central London along the New North Road, Shepherdess Walk and Bunhill Row. It was a lovely sunny day, and I wanted to see some of the streets where my ancestors had lived and died. continue reading

On beginning a blog

One reason I’ve not started a blog until now is that I have never been particularly happy with my prose. I don’t enjoy writing where you can see the join. With some writers you can see the cogs working: you can visualise them sitting at their desk, pen in mouth, staring out of the window, reaching for the thesaurus, grasping for the right word. With some you could even describe their prose as laboured. continue reading