February 2013 Archives
It was remiss of us not to mention last week that we’ve a bunch of promo codes for our first book on Five Simple Steps, The Craft of Words - Part 1. Should your budget not stretch to the price of a single espresso, good news, simply enter the promo code
15%OFFCRAFTOFWORDSPT1, and you can pick up the book for the price of a filter coffee to go.
Don’t say we’re not good to you.
From the experienced hands of Dominey Design comes Koken - a creative web site publishing tool. Out of private beta today, Koken is a self-hosted content management system specifically designed for “photographers, designers, and creative DIYs to publish independent web sites of their work”. It sports a beautiful interface, it themeable, and even syncs with Adobe Lightroom. And all this is absolutely free:
Why free? Because amazing things can happen when individuals with ambition, ideas and the urge to create are provided tools to bring their visions to life. […] The more creative talent we have using Koken, the richer our marketplace of third party themes, plugins and other enhancements will be. That in-turn will push us — as Koken’s developers — to continually improve and expand the platform for everyone’s benefit.
The business model is sound too, by providing extras, services and enhancement the product can be kept afloat. And as it’s hosted on your own server you don’t have to worry about the acquisition and subsequent shutdown scenario either.
Koken requires some degree of effort to install and set up, but nothing that should frighten even the rustiest of web masters. If you’re in the creative field, a photographer, illustrator or fine artist perhaps, it might just be the product you’ve been waiting for.
Sassaparilla, courtesy of the talented gentlemen over at fffunction, offers a superfast way to start responsive web design projects and harness the power of SASS and Compass. With a core focus on better typography and an emphasis on ease of setup, it’s dogfood that’s being eaten by the fffunction team themselves. Give it a whirl, we think you might like it.
We first heard about Letterboxd a year or so ago at Brooklyn Beta. The site has built a solid user base ever since, and has just left the initial invite only model and opened its doors to the public. In doing so, however, the problem of automated signups by unsavoury robots and their ilk started to raise its ugly head.
The solution is elegant, and above all, perfectly judged considering the purpose of the site: instead of unscrambling some illegible letters, Letterboxd asks you to complete a quote from a well known film. That’s an exemplar of how design solutions should be tackled, with great wit and true consideration for the reason you’re there in the first place. Delightful work.
Phmral is an ephemeral blogging platform. Your content disappears from the site one week after you publish. No longer do you have to worry about maintaining your content or curating it for eternity.
Whether this project is a solemn attempt at intercepting the increasingly fleeting attention-span by pointing out the logical conclusion of our fallacy, or just a bit of fun is not for us to say, we did however publish a lengthy exploration on that very topic there, just over a week ago.
We were delighted to be invited late last year by the fine folks at Five Simple Steps to contribute to their new Pocket Guide series. We’ve been quietly working away, like the elves in the shoemaker’s, and are happy to announce that the first of our books for the Pocket Guide series is now available.
The first in a two part series that cover macrocopy and microcopy, The Craft of Words - Part 1 focuses on words at a macro level, exploring how words - when considered as a design element - can help shape and improve a design, whilst focusing a brand and its user experience. As we put it for the book’s summary:
Look carefully and you’ll notice that many of the most successful designs are built around words. Apple tantalise us with the ability to hold, “1,000 songs in your pocket.” MailChimp has created a wonderfully engaging brand, heavily focused around language.
Words lie at the heart of what we create as designers and an understanding of how they might be used will make you better at your craft. Just like an understanding of grid systems, colour theory and typography are essential for the practicing designer, we must take responsibility for the words that make up the content we shape.
We’re delighted with how the book turned out and we owe a debt of gratitude to the team at Five Simple Steps - in particular Emma Boulton, who leads up the Five Simple Steps team, and our editor Owen Gregory - for their support in helping to realise what we’re sure you’ll find a useful book.
The book is very reasonably priced – you can pick it up for less than the price of a single espresso - and we’re sure it will provide just the shot of inspiration you need. Naturally, we’d encourage you to get your copy now.