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Updated: Cut the bullshit desktop

I made the original desktop of the proposed title of Merlin Mann’s book a while ago.

Recently, David Sparks sent me a message through the contact form on this site asking if I could maybe update it… he was getting sick of the brown color.

So here’s a grey paper version:

Other Desktops:

Reading Experience Test

I looked at three sites focused exclusively on reading. There are great designers on these teams thinking hard about what makes the best reading experience. Below are the answers they’ve decided on (and my summary of which is best).

Instapaper:

instapaper

(Click the image above for a full size preview)

  • line width: 660px
  • font size: 18px
  • line height: 30.5px (1.694444em)
  • characters per line: 85
  • space b/w paragraphs: 27px (1.5em)

Readability:

readability

  • line width: 705px
  • font size: 19x
  • line height: 28.796875px (1.515625em)
  • characters per line: 83
  • space b/w paragraphs: 23.040 (1.212631em)

Medium:

medium

  • line width: 705px
  • font size: 19x
  • line height: 28.796875px (1.515625em)
  • characters per line: 83
  • space b/w paragraphs: 23.040 (1.212631em)

Results:

Instapaper is by far the best reading experience. It felt easy to go from line to line… my eyes felt at home. This is a result of it’s smaller font (by a hair) and much larger line height.

The other two are fine… if you were just reading them you’d be happy with the experience. But when you compare these back and forth Instapaper becomes the clear winner.

The Dot & The Line: Some Gorgeous Screenshots

The Dot & The Line is a classic cartoon. It’s touching, smart and gorgeous. I was searching for good screenshots of scenes from the cartoon so I could ruthlessly steal from color choices because I’m a designer and that’s what I do, and couldn’t find any good ones. So below are screenshots of some of my favorite scenes from the cartoon.


A note on orange: Fizzle was the first identity I’ve built with orange as the main color. Turns out orange is an insane color… the hardest I’ve worked with to date. Put it with black and it’s halloween. The line between neon and mustard is wildly thin. It’s a hard color to work with. Most of the shots below have some sort of orange in it because I’m always curious about how others use orange.

Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon

Geometries: Now begins a series of wonderful geometric shapes. This is the line discovering what he can do.

Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon

Closeness: I love this little sequence showing the cuddling of the dot and the line. She moves close, slides up and around him, and as she does the yellow square changes color… super sexy.

Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon

The best for last: And finally, my absolute favorite shot is this one.

Screenshot from Dot and Line Cartoon

I’m a little embarrassed about this because it’s so wordy and the audio’s clipping, but there’s some good stuff in here about how I think about design, doing work, and what I was like in high school (such a great question). My thanks to Omar for the conversation.

…that is what graphic design is for.”

Jason Fried: Content as Interface Design

Since copywriting is interface design, you can do an awful lot of great design in a text editor. Don’t worry about where things will go, or how they will fit. Worry about explaining it clearly and then build the rest of the interface around that explanation.”

Jason Fried

Trent Walton’s Advice for New-ish Designers

Do whatever you can to set the bar really high. Find people who are better than you and follow them. Develop your taste. Develop a goal for where you want to be and if your skills aren’t there yet, that’s totally okay. I think that knowing what good is and being able to strive for it is key because then you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to connect the dots. Find what you love about your field and focus on that and the details will take care of themselves.”

Trent Walton

The question is how can designers change the world. Design cannot. Designers can change the world.”

Hartmut Esslinger

Sell discovery instead of expertise

You sell your expertise, you have a limited repertoire. You sell your ignorance, it’s an unlimited repertoire. [Eames] was selling his ignorance and his desire to learn about a subject, and the journey of him not knowing to knowing was his work.”

Richard Saul Wurman


Don’t compete on right/better. Compete on joy/goodness. Don’t be the best designer or the best surfer. Be a good designer and a happy surfer.

This is by far the best quote I’ve heard about this. Your expertise will always have a limited supply in comparison to your ignorance. Acknowledge that, and make your learning – your discovery – a contagious joy.

The role of great web design

Here’s my thought on good design: don’t f*ck up the business. If the idea for the business is truly good, design’s job is to not screw that idea up. Great design is not mucking with a good thing. Excellent design is when you can raise up a good thing, make it true-er, more trustworthy, more resonant with the right person.”

Yours Truly

Good design is about supplying intent… I chose to enhance this rolling experience with a simple design element. Acting with intent; it conveys authorship, that someone is driving. It’s reassuring, people are drawn to it; someone making the experience their own, covering the tragic tune with something different.”