Mark Boulton

Category: “journal”

“It’s only a green stripe at the top”

Centred or Informed?

Not much to say about Doctor Who (well, maybe a little bit)

Design In Flight - Issue 4

Five simple steps to better typography

TW05 Web Designer of the year 2005

Five simple steps to better typography - Part 2

Five simple steps to better typography - Part 3

Supersize Me and a climate of fear

9Rules Network

Bloody Amazon

Tiger woes

Five simple steps to better typography - Part 4

Getting geekier by the minute

A bunch of batons

Five simple steps to better typography - Part 5

Life with a ‘Slug’

Some thoughts about signs

Live search ‘public beta’

Modularised stuff - where to draw the line?

Atmedia time

Probably the last to talk about @media

Design, CSS and bandwidth theft UPDATE

Normal service will be resumed shortly

Five simple steps to designing grid systems - Preface

Getting a rise out of me

Now with ‘zoom’ layout

Successful upgrade to EE 1.3

Five simple steps to designing grid systems - Part 1

We’re safe

Hitting the ground running - an update

Five simple steps to designing grid systems - Part 2

Tags and Folksonomy - I need your help

Typography - a dying art form?

More about tagging

Professional CSS: A first look

Five simple steps to designing grid systems - Part 3

Green n Blue - An EE control panel theme

11 days and no updates?

Five simple steps to designing grid systems - Part 4

Refreshing Minty goodness

ebook download security question

Feeds now fixed

New look Guardian


Five simple steps to designing grid systems - Part 5

Nizlopi and the JCB Song

Turning the corner: Designing for Web 2.0

Here, there and everywhere

To Applecare or not?

Apple’s missing link

Icons, Symbols and a Semiotic Web

Goodbye SquirrelMail, Hello RoundCube

Things you may not know about me

Typeface of the month: Mrs Eaves

Emigr? calls it a day

Gerry McGovern’s clear lack of understanding

Measuremap, Mint & Google Analytics

Carson Workshops - CSS for Designers

Semantic Typography: Bridging the XHTML gap

Diving and a bust wrist

Typeface of the month: Gill Sans

2005 has been quite a year

A week with Camino

That time of year again

Five Simple Steps to Typesetting on the web: Introduction

Four Things

A couple of minor changes

The ExpressionEngine $15,000 shootout!

What makes a good business card?

Five Simple Steps to Typesetting on the web: Dashes

SXSW: Traditional Design and New Technology

Parting company from 9rules


SXSW: Day one

SXSW: Six months of prep and now it’s all over

That was SXSWi 2006

Talking in Perth

Upgrading your mobile phone

Five Simple Steps to Typesetting on the web: Printing the web

What happened to the design?

Wedding nerves by proxy, by ‘The Wife’

A week in Perth

Pimping my brother’s site

Monica and The Rainforest

A bit of a realign

Wikipedia and Bowing to the Brand

Penguins in Perth

When less is more

Podcasts and an article

Web designer’s guide to print design

Atmedia 2006 is just around the corner

Kitdesigner Beta goes live

Refurb 20” Intel iMac? Or should I just sit on my hands?

Bloody penalties again!

This past month

Sorting my workflow out

Slugging it out with backup solutions

Sorting my workflow out, part two

Leaving the BBC and going freelance

Going it alone: Putting the pieces in place

OS X theme for a Sony Ericsson k800i

I was Dugg, er, Digged, or something

Flow: A money manager for freelancers and small businesses

The advantage of working client side

Professional body for the web design industry?

Pink for October

Five Simple Steps to designing with colour

Announcing: Five Simple Steps the Book

Five Simple Steps to designing with colour part 2: A few basics

Back to Green (for now)

Moving over to a new Grid Server

Muse: Ridiculously good

Small is beautiful

Getting the basics right

SXSW panels: Take two

That was 2006

PDFs: A quick poll

Yes, we know the web is not print

All is good on the DV

Five Simple Steps to designing with colour part 3: Colour combinations

Off the Grid

Whymper’s Mountain

A couple of books

A naming competition

And the winner is…

What is up with Flow?

One Principle to Design By

SXSW: Third time’s a charm

Annual Jaunt Across the Pond

Confessions of a slack blogger

To Coda

A small dig at web process and smelling paper

New digs

Atmedia 2007: Third time’s a charm

My little secret

Incremental leading

Mark Boulton Design launches

Mark Boulton Design are hiring!

Strategising about how to create more Spare Time

Blueprint. A CSS Framework.

Links That Deserve More Than The Sidebar

Think Do Think

The Death of Print. Again?

Be A Beautiful Designer

Pink is the new black

Stephen Fry on Fame

CSS Eleven

Content AND Presentation

Type in Berlin

Two iPhones How do you tell the difference between them?

Typesetting Tables at 24ways

BBC redesign tellys have rounded corners, right?

Twitter didn’t eat my blogging, 2007 did

Sir Edmund Hillary: 1919 - 2008

Coolspotters and Garcia Media

Start Your Own Business

Ten Crimes Against Web Typography (and how to avoid them)

From Poly to Pole


Alys Rose Boulton

Coolspotters. Where people and products meet

Where’s the D in D&AD?

Design isn’t about tools

Don’t screw with conventions

Design By Community

Why have a chair when you could have a Sumo, Design Iterations, and Designing in the open

White Screen Of Death

Why Self Publish?

Designing and building an eBook delivery system

Dipping a toe in the book production process

Managing expectations

Designing for the Web: Available to buy and download now

Drupal 7 Redesign

Audience Matrix: Our thoughts on the Drupal 7 audience

Drupal7UX: we need you NOW!

The Personal Cost of Designing on Spec

Designing for the Web: Paperback available 14th April

Contact me



Designing for the Web: Summer Sale!

Designing for the Web workshops

New shoes

Design in Open Source


A roundup of speaking

Web Directions & Typographic Structure

A Pumpkin Mask

New Drop Caps

Announcing Project Verity

On Designers writing HTML

Designing for the Web. On the Web.

Timeboxing Triage

Back to reading feeds

The book I wish I'd read ten years ago

Something's afoot

Designing from one end to the other

On defining UX

Zeroing the desk




New design

The 24 Ways 2010 Annual

Five Simple Workshops

24 Ways Annual: The Cover

Two Thousand and Ten

The Making of Tron: Legacy

Want to be our Apprentice?

The Icon Handbook by Jon Hicks

A Richer Canvas

A sneaky peek: Codex

Welcome Nathan and Colin

Saying No

The difference between a Trend and a Shift

Wanted: Web Designer


Visual Design is not a thing

Rethinking CSS Grids

Steve Jobs

Being Together

What is Spec(ulative) Work, really?

White, Yellow, Orange, Red

Responsive Advertising

A Practical Guide to Web App Success

This post won't take long to read

Design Compromise

Structure First. Content Always.

A Responsive Experience

Responsive Summit: Workflow


Responsive Summit: The One Tool


Ideas Of March

Visual Design 101

A New Make Mantra: A Statement of Design Intent

It's Not Working For Me: #crit

Digital Patina

Responsive Content is not a thing

Open letter to W3C CSS Working Group re CSS Grids.

Beyond Tellerrand

Gridset and the Red Pill

New design, new CMS, a return to writing. Hopefully.

Adaptive Content Management

Goodbye, Ceefax

Look Mum! No gutters!

Doing less

CSS Spreadsheets, er, I mean Grids

Dirty Hands



A New Canon

Two Thousand and Twelve

Shorter Long Form

Abstractions After The Fact

Sparkicons and the humble Hyperlink

Design is veneer

Change your mind

The In-Between



UI is visible. Type is visible.

The First Website

I'm not a Craftsman


Speaking and Audience tips

Conference organiser tips (from a speaker's perspective)

The Lull

The Business of Responsive Design

Design Abstraction Escalation

An essay on the risks of designing using design patterns.

The Undemocracy of Vale of Glamorgan Planning

An journal post on my experience with the Vale of Glamorgan planning departments handling of a proposed housing development near my house in South Wales.

My Do Lecture

In April 2013, I spoke at the Do Lectures in West Wales.

Running ragged

The article I wrote for 24ways on how to typeset the right rag on the web.

Some social good

The story is the link

2013 brought with it more work in and amongst editorial processes for Mark Boulton Design. And with it, some challenges designing systems that can react to the speed of the story.

Al Jazeera & Content shelf-life

A write-up of work for Al Jazeera between 2010 and 2013 working on a redesign of their digital design language.

Net Awards 2014 Nominations

Mark Boulton Design was nominated for a few awards for this year's Net Awards.

How we work

I've had a few people ask me recently about how we work at Mark Boulton Design. And, the truth be told, it slightly differs from project to project, from client to client. But the main point is that we work in an iterative way with prototypes at the heart of our work every step of the way.

Responsive Web Design – Defining The Damn Thing

A post in which I describe the cyclical way of the web design industry to keep trying to define itself and what it does.

Collaborative Moodboards

How and when we do collaborative moodboards with clients at Mark Boulton Design.

Mark Boulton Design and Monotype

Mark Boulton Design is acquired by Monotype on the 7th April 2014.


A game I play with my two year old daughter as I try to answer the question 'why?'

Conference speakers, what are you worth?

A new beginning for Five Simple Steps


Thoughts on Google Chrome’s experiments on ditching the URL.

My Handbook – Environment

Number one in a series of posts called ‘My Handbook’

A Purple Princess

In memory of Rebecca Meyer.

It's not you, it's me

Musing over why I'm taking a year off speaking at web conferences in 2015.

Adventures with Plex

Two years later, I've changed how we watch films and TV in the Boulton household.

Visual Design might be a thing

In which I disagree with my previous articles

A Design SDK

How we can create design SDKs to ensure our design work is progressed in the right way with other designers

Designing a good portfolio

An article about how to design a portfolio and my experience of applying advice from one of the first Art Directors I worked with.

The difference between a goldfish and a human

On Marginal Degredation and how tiny, little deviations from a product design, or brand, can have a massive, cumulative effect.

Design systems in difficult places

How to go about creating, launching and managing a design system in a place that makes it hard to do so.

Design systems and Postel’s law

What do design systems and Postel’s law have in common?

Moving on from Monotype

In which I announce I'm leaving the company that bought my company three years ago.

Defining design principles at EMBL

How I define design principles and specifically for EMBL.


In which I announce I'm starting a new job at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Newish blog

A new design. Some new bits and pieces. An an awful lot of new stuff under the hood.

Editorial planning with Trello and Zapier

A post in which I describe how we use Zapier and Trello at EMBL to figure out our editorial calendar

Write it down

A post in which I outline my little method for getting people to think before asking.

The Fast and Slow of Design

Weeknotes 1

Weeknotes 2

Weeknotes 3

A week of getting my head down with work, trying to cope with the banging and hammering of the building site surrounding three sides of our house. Some good news from my dad, and a little bit of a rant on Twitter.

Weeknotes 4

A Child's Phone Contract

Our eldest daughter is soon moving to secondary school a short bus journey away from our house. Many of her friends already own and use phones regularly. For a while, Emma and I have resisted but as she will be making her way to the school independently, for her safety and our piece of mind, we thought a phone would be a good idea.

Weeknotes 5

A week spent in Heidelberg full of cycling. More Brexit delays. And a phone contract for my eldest daughter who starts secondary school in September.

Weeknotes 6

A weekend in snowdonia, some rambling about marginal gains, and a visit to the theatre to see Tom Gates, a recent favourite series of children's books

Weeknotes 7

First weeknote for six weeks or so. Not doing so well at keeping this habit up. This week I talk about Where the Light Gets In, the soon-to-be-reborn Stockport, and a bunch of links I've enjoyed over the past few weeks.

Weeknotes 8

Last week I was at a cycling training camp in Gran Canaria to get me ready to ride La Marmotte in France in a few weeks time. It was a big week.

Weeknotes 9

These weeknotes seem to be turning into month notes. Oh well. This week - La Marmotte.

Weeknotes 10

Mallorca, Jellyfish stings, Cycling

The Ugly Truth about Design Systems

A few weeks ago I presented at

Weeknotes 11

New iPhone, fish, and stocking up on wood for winter.

Adobe Fonts for under a fiver

After 24 years of using Adobe design software products – starting with Photoshop 2, today, I've finally cut the chord and cancelled my subscription to Creative Cloud.

Design muscles

In 1984 my uncle's mother died. She lived in a tiny bungalow at the end of a small street with a long garden leading on to a golf course. It was always raining in 1984. On this day it was drizzling with heavy grey skies. The trees at the end of the garden complaining as much as the adults in the house sorting through a lifetime of stuff.

Designers are people, too

Design teams in large organisations are scaling faster every year. These are organisations that have heavily invested in design as a differentiator and in doing so are struggling to provide the best management structure and processes to help brilliant designers to do amazing work. My growing fear is that this is at the expense of the work, but also of the health and wellbeing of swathes of designers.

Diamond discussions

Yesterday, I was pondering on how discussion frameworks can help streamline all sorts of things within design. Discussion guides help keep user research focussed and the results comparable. Kickoff meeting agenda guides can accelerate projects and are designed to uncover project difficulties before you start. The Five Whys is designed to really get to the heart of a problem and help the receiver to work through a potential solution in answering. Diamond discussions is a discussion framework to help you get from A to B to solve problems faster.

Workflow Improvements With Alfred

Riffing off Robin's post on his improvements using Alfred, I wanted to break down how to do each step.

The day I fixed my RSS feeds

I fixed my RSS feeds! Hurray! To be honest I didn't know they were broken until a couple of friends let me quietly know. The surprising thing was the amount of users I'd be neglecting and the amount of subsequent bandwidth this website used since fixing them!

Weeknotes 12

A week note in which I talk about improvements to this website, a very efficient taxi service from Cowbridge on the weekend, and a cycling injury :(

Weeknotes 13

Weeknotes 14

Weeknotes 15

The monthly trip to Heidelberg, a couple of films, dodging ill people, familiarising myself with horrible things like risk registers.

Weeknotes 16

Weeknotes 17

Sat on a train on the way back from Cambridge. Spending time staring out of the window realising I don't do enough of that.

Weeknotes 18

A sniffling cold. The last trip to Heidelberg for the year. The start of two weeks off.

Weeknotes 19

The cold turns into chest infection. The death of a design hero. An aside into purposeful inspiration and visual hoarding.

That was the year that was

A year end recap. A bit of reflecting on the last decade. Some grumbling about Brexit, but that's the last time, I promise. It's been a while since I wrote an end of year summary post.

Moving on from EMBL

I'm leaving EMBL in a few weeks. Do you have a project or role in which you'd think I'd be a good fit? Then get in touch!

Maam as in jam

The day I went to Buckingham Palace, queued for a sandwich and accidentally met the Queen.

Weeknotes 20

The one where we went to Ynishir, I get over a bad chest infection, and I get my laptop repaired.

Weeknote 21

Fixed a MacBook. Fixed a light. Went to New Adventures. Finally, after about 15 years, documented some work and published it on this website.

Progressive brand enhancement in design systems

How does your design system turn the brand dial up or down in a diverse organisation?

Weeknote 22

A week in Germany.

On design tasks

I talk about design tasks and why they are a terrible idea, how organisations can do better, and how designers might approach interviewing in a slightly different way.

Weeknote 23

You've found yourself leading a remote design team

My own firehose

Weeknote 24

Mostly about Coronavirus and my last trip to Heidelberg.

Weeknote 25

The week after Germany. Things are getting serious now. Schools out. A week to myself and nothing but a head of wasps for company.

Weeknote 26

Weeknote 27

Weeknote 28

Type Specimens

Weeknote 29

Weeknote 30

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