Category: ofinterest

Very useful bookmarklet that renders the page you're viewing in several device sizes. Great for testing responsive designs.

2012 UX Bootcamps

I'm very excited to be running a Bootcamp again for UX Bootcamps in April next year. This year, it was great fun working alongside some talented UX-ers up their graphic design skills. And, considerable progress was made in just two days.

Alongside the Visual Design Bootcamp, there will be a Cognitive Psychology bootcamp in February with Joe Leech from CX Partners, and Information Architecture UX Bootcamp with Mags Hanley. Both of which, I'm sure, will be superb.

So, if you fancy any of them, tickets will be on sale from midday on 5th January 2012.

Feelings: The Technology Podcast About People

Joe Clark with a superb idea; a series of podcast interviews with the focus on the person, not their work, projects or how successful and wonderful they are. Joe: please make this happen.

5by5: Me on Grids

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jen Simmons (@jensimmons) on her show on 5by5: A Web Ahead..

For a whole 100 minutes (!) I harped on about responsive design, grids, design process, news, advertising and a few other things. Despite my dodgy sore throat, I had a great time discussing some of the nuances of adopting new and challenging approaches to design and build the web sites and services we do.

The New, Convoluted Life Cycle Of A Newspaper Story

Great piece from 10,000 Words on the natural growth of news.

Having done a ton of thinking about this over the last year, this resonates so much with my thoughts and conclusions. This particularly struck me:

Unlike a blog like TechCrunch, for example, a newspaper is publishing to multiple platforms. TechCrunch has one platform, one story type: blog posts. Newspapers are the only type of publishing company to have the distinct differentiation of “print stories” (which are posted to the web) vs. “blog posts” vs. “web updates” (to the print stories). The different platforms, web CMS and print CMS, have different workflows associated with them.

So many news publishers are hand-tied by their own mental-models of perfectly manicured journalism similar to TV or Print. One to many, final-state publishing. The web's different, but what's crucial is how we show the change of the story for the user. How do we do that?

The making of FF Tundra | I love typography, the typography and fonts blog

A wonderful story about the creation of FF Tundra on I Love Typography. Such a great insight into the design decisions, and motivations behind them, when crafting a typeface design.

Five & Ten

Jason Santa Maria – the talented bastard – goes and redesigns his site and serves up a masterclass in understated elegance. The subtleties here are sublime. Look, absorb, learn.

Interestingly, Jason states one of the reasons he redesigned this way because he felt the weight of pressure that every post had to be a considered, designed, art-directed masterpiece.

An alternative to employee options/equity grants

Very interesting, simple solution to equity/share options which is similar to an annual profit share scheme. Except this example is when the company is sold or IPOs. A very elegant solution.

How Much Design Is Too Much Design?

Khoi echoes some of my own thoughts about the value of design in digital products: is it pixel-perfection, or 'good enough' iteration.

Explorations in Typography

A great looking book by Carolina de Bartolo and Erik Spiekermann out in April 2011:

Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting (A Visual Textbook for Intermediate to Advanced Typography) is a vast collection of beautiful typesetting examples. Page after page, a brief article by Erik Spiekermann has been set in hundreds of different ways in hundreds of different typefaces, creating an extended visual taxonomy of typesetting that allows you to “learn by looking."

Interestingly, the site has 'key features' of the book listed in the same way you would list features of an electronic product or web app.

The Ghosts of Old London

Wonderful imagery from 1800's London. Some of the buildings shown look incredibly ramshackled. More Elizabethan than Victorian, I wish some of London looked like this now.

Nike Better World

What can be done with a bit of imagination, some great photography, HTML5 and CSS3 and a decent browser. Nike Better World takes parallax scrolling on the web to another exciting level.

From The Guardian: 20 predictions for the next 25 years

Predictions for Advertising:

Society once did a deal accepting advertising because it seemed occasionally useful and interesting and because it paid for lots of journalism and entertainment. It's not necessarily going to pay for those things for much longer so we might start questioning whether we want to live in a Blade Runner world brought to us by Cillit Bang.

For The Web:

The open web created by idealist geeks, hippies and academics, who believed in the free and generative flow of knowledge, is being overrun by a web that is safer, more controlled and commercial, created by problem-solving pragmatists.

Slightly concerning. But, interestingly:

By 2035, the web, as a single space largely made up of webpages accessed on computers, will be long gone. As the web goes mobile, those who pay more will get faster access. We will be sharing videos, simulations, experiences and environments, on a multiplicity of devices to which we'll pay as much attention as a light switch.

The price of ubiquity, I guess.

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: You Should Self-Publish

For me, the choice to self-publish was never financial motivated; it was about control (primarily of the design of the finished article), but this post from Joe Konrath (a thriller author) goes into great detail on the numbers.

Let's say publishers wise up and begin selling ebooks for $2.99. That would mean authors only get 52 cents from each sale, or 1/4 of what they could make on their own. That's $6k a year in royalties, rather than $24k. If that went on for ten years, an author who signed with a publisher would make $60,000. An author who self-pubbed and sold the same amount of ebooks would make $240,000.

Numbers aside, this pretty much encapsulates a changing industry. An industry that is well and truly on the back foot:

If I look at the poor royalty rates publishers offer, the changing, volatile marketplace, the long time to publication, and then add in the multitude of mistakes publishers continue to make (like high ebook prices), I'd be hard pressed to think of ANY reason to sign a book deal.

So, self publish now. Or approach some publishers who's doing <a href=""">differently.

An improved Webform user interface for Drupal | Dries Buytaert

Drupal 7 gets a nifty new Webform Builder: (via @Dries)

A New Canon

In January, I'll have the delightful opportunity to speak at the New Adventures conference in Nottingham on a subject that is very dear to my heart: book design. In a round about way. I'll be talking about connectedness, craft, objects, space and a little bit about monks. Here's the topic description from the site:

In the real world, responsive design is nothing new. Products adapt to our needs. Technology monitors local environments to adjust lighting, temperature and even physical spaces. But what about web? In designing with words, the desire to bind content to a device has been around as long as there have been books. Mark will take you from desire to implementation, from theory to practice. How can we build upon what we know from literally hundreds of years of responsive design practice to define a new era of online publishing? An era where we strive for the same level of human / technology connection that started with the monks.

I can't wait to give this talk. Everything is changing at the moment. It's an incredible time to be a designer on the web with a deep interest in publishing. The conference is sold out (has been for months), but I'm sure the content will be out there in the wonderful interweb shortly after the event. Once it is, I'll link it up.

Ampersand · The Web Typography Conference

From those busy Brighton lot, Clearleft, comes another UK web conference. This one's about Web Typography and with Richard Rutter at the helm, I'm sure it will be superb.

UI Sketcher: The User Interface Sketching Tool iPad App

From my good friends at Box UK, UI Sketcher was:

Created by User Experience professionals and built upon the principles of Design Studio Method and Adaptive Path's Good Design Faster, UI Sketcher enables you to rapidly sketch, refine and share user interface ideas.

I saw an early demo of this app a good few months ago now. Whilst I'm not sure it's for me (i just don't get on with anything other than a pen and paper for my sketching), it's well worth a look. Buy it.

From HLS World Map

Brian Suda explores the visualisation of every town with over 1000 population, resulting in a rather lovely looking map.

24 ways: Extreme Design

Hannah Donovan talks about Extreme Design over at 24ways. It mirrors a lot of how we work at Mark Boulton Design. The traditional studio system is becoming increasingly irrelevant and incompatible with modern web/software methods.

Like extreme programming, extreme design requires us all to be equal partners in a collaborative team. I think this is especially worth noting for designers; our past is filled with the clear hierarchy of the traditional studio system which, however important for taste and style, seems less compatible with modern web/software development methods.

This approach takes lo-fi over high, stickies over documents, pairing over isolated working.


Our UX Director, Alex Morris (@aexmo on Twitter) just showed me a nifty little paper prototyping kit called UX Pin.

UXPin Portable Kit was designed to let you easily document one web project. We provide you with basic user interface elements (buttons, combo-boxes, check-boxes etc. – 50 each), universal elements (to easily make menus, lists, boxes – 50 each) and 50 pages paper browser notepad. Everything is smartly packed in beautiful hard-cover, so you can pass your prototype to your teammates and don’t lose anything.

My only beef is it doesn't leave too much space for annotation or notes. The plus side is, it's got me thinking about grid sketch books.


Makedo is:

A set of connectors for creating things from the stuff around you

As someone who is a bit partial to making robots and crocodiles from all manner of cardboard tubing and old cereal boxes – for my daughter, you understand – then it's a no-brainer for me: bought!

Pinboard - antisocial bookmarking

Pinboard is what Delicious should be. Simple, extremely fast, integrated with Twitter, reeder, Instapaper. The list goes on. It comes at a slight cost though: $6. That's it. Looks like a very slick service.

A template for intensive design

Leisa documents a project we worked together on recently. It was a scary, tiring, fascinating and rewarding few days work. For those who doubt intensive, short-term projects, Leisa shows us just where you need to be flexible and how to come out the other side smiling.

From Kickstarter: The Noun Project

The Noun Project aims to 'share, celebrate and enhance the world's visual language'. Their goal is to pull together all of the visual icon standards and give them away for free. Nice idea. I've pledged some money to get a tee. You should too.

From Louis Rosenfeld: UX and Publishing

A slidedeck and interesting description of a recent unconference Louis attended, presenting on Publishing and UX.

It made clear to me the parallels between UX—which, for me, is about designing products and services that engage users, and publishing—which I think is about designing content that engages readers.

Parallels that I've seen emerge in the relatively short time i've been involved in both practices.

From Typedia: Cure for the Common Webfont, Part 2: Alternatives to Georgia

A great list of alternative webfonts to Georgia.

The Webfont Revolution Is Over, Let the Evolution Begin

From Typographica: With the imminent standardiszation of WOFF – a webfont file format – we'll be seeing webfonts become just part of a web designer's toolbox. Won't that be nice?


Beautiful, roboty illustrations from Nozzman

Khoi Vinh writes a book

At last, we will have a grid book from Khoi. Out in December. Preorder it now from Amazon. In this blog post, however, Khoi tells us all about it and gives us a sneak preview of the front cover.

On the term “HTML5”

Jeff Croft makes a compelling point. Why can't HTML5 be like AJAX? A catch-all term.

The Celebrated Miscellany of Colly

Rather lovely redesign a long, long time in the works. Simon delivers the goods. Yet again.

Helen Gordon | Exclusive collection for children, inspired by some of our best loved fairy tales.

A new site by Mark Boulton design for textile designer, Helen Gordon (who also redesigned the drop caps illustrations on this blog!)

Mike Rundle's Portfolio — Flyosity: Mac & iPhone Interface Design

Mike Rundle's great tutorial on interface design for the Mac and iPhone. Interesting to note how this aesthetic is now transcending the platform and becoming much more commonplace on the web. Mike also provides a free PSD template for us to use!

Charlotte Read

Very nice work from this talented young designer.

Beautiful Web Typography (#5)

Really good typography presentation illustrating the current state of play.

Oh No! Not More Web Fonts!

Massive news from Font Bureau

Doesn’t Graphic Design/Layout Affect Scanning Patterns? | FutureNow's GrokDotCom / Marketing Optimization Blog

Great example of how applying Looking Room can lead to great results.

Pimp Your *Imaginary* Admin (Come Wireframe With Us!)

Come pimp your imaginary admin. Come on, it'll be fun!

Austin Zen Sub Theme

Aforementioned Zen sub-theme being developed by Colleen Carroll.

Drupal Voices 02: Colleen Carroll on SXSW CMS Showdown & Zen Theming | Lullabot

Interview with Colleen Carroll on building the theme for the #CMSshowdown panel in SXSW this year from my design. This is now being made available as a Drupal 6 typographic theme.

White Space: How to Get it ‘Right’ | Think Vitamin

I've got an article on White Space over on thinkvitamin.

Designing for the Web Book Review ~ Uncoverr

Lovely review for Five Simple Steps. Nice to see the breadth of the content is appealing to a broad audience. That was idea!

Win a copy of A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web : Boagworld web design podcast

Paul's running a competition to win a free copy of my book.

Feltron Eight

Required reading. The fourth Annual Report is available.

Font-weight is still broken in all but one browser

Rich highlights the rendering inconsistencies across modern browsers. Shocking results.

OmniGraffle UX Template Updated

Konigi UX templates have been revised. Go get em.

Persona Templates

Well-designed Indesign templates for your Personas.


Spiekermann Partners of Berlin merges with Eden Design and Communication in Amsterdam. Interesting site too.

The Complex Grid

Interesting reconstruction of the grid used on Capital Magazine by Karl Gerstner.

OmniGraffle Wireframe Stencils

New Omnigraffle wireframe stencils from Konigi.

The Book Cover Archive

Wonderful resource of book cover design.

An Event Apart: The Design Conference For People Who Make Web Sites

New An Event Apart site. Very tasty.

BlueTrip CSS Framework :: Home Page

Blueprint, Tripoli, Hartija's print stylesheet, and's simplicity.

Erskine Design

New Erskine site.

Sparklines with Google Charting Tool

Rather nice, simple Sparkline generator from 13pt

CRW / Corporate Risk Watch

Simple effective design. Refreshing to see such companies go out on a limb design-wise.

Black Estate Vineyard

Beautiful typography, stunning photography and probably damn tasty wine.

24 ways: Art Directing with Looking Room

My article is up over at 24 ways. Use Looking Room to go some way to art directing the templated web.

Blog - Campaign Monitor

Great masthead design for the new CampaignMonitor blog

Fray: True Stories of People Taking Things Too Seriously

New issue of Fray with article on the awesome Windhammer.

The Grid System

Your one-stop shop for articles, blogs, books and tools for everything that is Grids.

How was converted to EE - EngagingNet - ways for becoming internet bodies

Just come across this one... Fantasic writeup from Adam Khan

FF Trixie

FF Trixie gets a makeover. Two new weights, higher def, with finer detail.

Die Neue Typographie Wordpress theme

Great looking typographic theme for Wordpress.

Social Patterns

Designing Social Interfaces wiki with extensive links to design patterns in social interfaces.

The Design Manifesto, BusinessWeek

Interesting Manifesto On Design from the World Economic Forum.

The Vector Lab

Royalty free stock.

Versions - Mac Subversion Client (SVN)

Versions is out of Beta. Great looking site too.

The best of the free icons on the web.

Mrs Eaves Bold Italic

My favourite redraw of Baskerville gets an additional weight.

Detail in Typography

A concise yet rich discussion of all the small things that enhance the legibility of texts. By Jost Hochuli

Mac iPlayer Downloader

Fantastic standalone Mac downloader for BBC iPlayer