Micheal Butterworth kindly brought a bunch of original copies of New Worlds and Corridor to a recent Corridor8 meeting in Wakefield. It was a pleasure to thumb through them, particularly as Hannah Nussbaum gave us a peek in to her research on Micheal’s body of work and the roots of Corridor8.

The images here are illustrated titles from the October 1967 issue of New Worlds edited by Micheal Moorcock.

Might be at a turning point in my career. A lot of my friends are expressing similar feelings. I think it has something to do with working for nearly 10 years.

This frame of mind has made me really interested in manifestos. Not anything strident really, more purpose-driven lists that can help guide everyday decision-making. Here are a few manifesto-y links I’ve identified with recently.

  • These things I believe from “Not the user’s fault”. I think this is Jono Xia’s blog from when he was part of the Mozilla Labs team. I’ve tried to find him elsewhere on the web but haven’t found him anywhere so far. He raises some really good points about software design and development.
  • The Recurse Center’s Social Rules. Such a good, concise set of guidelines for public discourse. “No well-actually’s, no feigned surprise, no backseat driving, no subtle -isms”.
  • Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules. Also available as a free tear-away poster at the Corita Kent: Power Up exhibition (8 Feb – 12 May 2019) at the House of Illustration.
  • GitLab’s Remote Manifesto. SB and I try to implement a lot of this, though we’re definitely not strict enough about it! We also strive to work this way with clients and collaborators, even those that live in London. Face-to-face IRL meetings are great, but it can be tough to squeeze them in when it takes an hour to get anywhere in this city.
  • Daniel Eatock’s manifesto, particularly “propose honesty as a solution”. See also the Scratching the Surface episode with Daniel Eatock from last September. Off the back of the Corita Kent exhibition, SB and I were talking about the lack of irony and cynicism in her work, about how refreshing that feels even though a lot of it is from over 50 years ago. He mentioned this podcast episode, that Eatock touches on this topic in relation to his kids, how kids just don’t perceive irony. I need to have a listen.

I’ll try to add more here as I come across them. Who knows, maybe I’ll add my own some day.

“Moreish” is a word that doesn’t exist in American English, but it should.

We were discussing moreish-ness in relation to oatmeal cookies the other day. What makes a food moreish, something that hits the spot but also leaves a void, leaves you wanting a little more?

At the time, I felt that it requires multi-dimensionality, just enough contrast. When something is too on-the-nose, it isn’t moreish. Cookies without a pinch of salt, tomato sauce without a little sweetness.

Since then I’ve been thinking about moreish-ness a lot outside of the context of food, and the contrast idea stands up.

Outfits, websites, books, relationships. Requires more exploration.

Certain quotes lodge themselves in your head. So many of the ones in my head come from the fourth edition of What is a designer by Norman Potter published by Hyphen Press in 2002.

p.23, on design education

The words by which people describe themselves – architect, graphic designer, interior designer, etc. – become curiously more important than the work they actually do. In one respect this is fair, because under modern conditions it may be very difficult to find one word to identify their work, but such words tend to build up irrelevant overtones of meaning which are more useful as a comfort to personal security than as a basis for co-operative enterprise.

p.30, wrapping up his thoughts on design education

All we can do is make good work possible, and be alert to its coming; never fooling ourselves that all good things come easily. To work well is to work with love.

p.57, on recognising the value in nuance

In raising consciousness of these matters, it should be remembered that our civilization sells itself through sensation, preferably with the volume turned up. This is good reason for designers to learn how to speak quietly, and to understand how it is that conversation becomes possible between people and things.

And nearly every point in chapter 18, “Advice for beginners”, and 19, “Questioning design”.

We’re working on a new site for SB-PH at the moment, and we’re using Airtable to get our project documentation together. It’s also a good opportunity to test the platform a little (+ I’m a fan of tables). To grab tidy JSON for use with data-friendly design software like Sketch, we’re using the Airtable API with cURL and ./jq.

Simple example that dumps table records in to a JSON file for use with the the Sketch Data Populator plugin:

$ curl https://api.airtable.com/v0/YOUR_BASE_KEY/YOUR_TABLE_NAME -H "Authorization: Bearer YOUR_API_KEY" | jq '.records' > records.json

Surfing w/ coffee #3. Order of exploration, seems more single-track than usual:

A
Open Hacker News, drawn to Frequent versus infrequent developers (in languages and so on) (↓B) (↓C)

B
Is it worth the time? on XKCD; pleased to find this again

C
Hello, I am a DWiki (↓D)

D
Wiki Principles (↓E)

E
Wiki Is Not Wikipedia (↓F)

F
GitHub repo for remodelling wiki as a single page application (↓G)

G
Cunningham & Cunningham Inc., “a small consultancy that has specialized in object-oriented programming” (↓H) (↓I) (↓J)

H
Plate Blading; “As he skates away he feels the need to fabricate further explanation.”

I
C2.COM as Public Space; “Have you ever noticed that some publicly owned museums can be hard to see while privately owned billboards are hard to avoid?”

J
Expense calculator shell script


See previous: surfing 2, surfing 1

Did some research on Chinese web font best practices a while back when working on Memory Machine for Tyler Coburn + Asia Art Archive with Luke Gould. It was an interesting challenge. This was my overall takeaway from the research:

  • Self-hosted fonts are out, the font files are prohibitively enormous due to the number of characters
  • The Great Firewall can cause issues with most font services, so no Google Fonts or Typekit
  • If you need to render a mixture of Latin and Chinese characters and want them to use different fonts, the font stack structure and naming is critical (see article by Kendra Schaefer for more info)
  • Bold and italic should never be used for emphasis on Chinese characters since it distorts their meaning

Read more

The e-newsletters we made for Penguin Classics got a mention in a recent newsletter from The Better Email [✉ ∞]. Made me smile. Here are a few newsletters from the Penguin Random House team that I particularly like.

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GitHub repo for lobste.rs

lobste.rs is a link aggregator by Joshua Stein that runs on Rails. See the About page for a run down of it’s features and the reasons behind them.

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What Do We Lose When It’s Easy to Use? In Defence of Inefficiency

Lecture by Andy Pressman of Rumors and Verso Books for DWP.

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“The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge” by Rainer Maria Rilke

‘There are no beginners’ classes in life. What is required of you is always the hardest thing, right from the start.’

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before sleep at the end of love (description of a lullaby)

Tuesday 27 September 2016, 7–7.30pm
Bold Tendencies, Car park floors 7-10, 95A Rye Ln, London SE15 4TG
Tickets £8 on door

An opera by Sarah Hardie. Music composed collaboratively with Jack Sheen, choreography by Eleesha Drennan. Performance by Sarah Hardie, Angela Hardie, and Musarc. I’ve really enjoyed working on this and am looking forward to the performance.

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