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January 06 2014


No, No, No, No, No, Yes.

The following post is excerpted from Gideon Amichay‘s encouraging new book.

No, No, No, No, No, Yes.

It’s not fun to get a NO, really not a pleasure.

CEOs, entrepreneurs, and creative people get all kinds of NOs.

In the beginning I thought every NO was the end of the world, a NO with a big exclamation point!

No exclamation

I might have given up my dream. A big mistake.

The reality is different because NO is a part of life. Usually, NO comes with a comma.

No comma

My first NO was just a standard NO.

Then I got a very personal NO comma, “sorry”
NO comma, “keep trying”
NO comma, “holding one”
NO comma, “holding two” [in reference to cartoons sent to The New Yorker]

As in life—
NO comma, “we don’t have the time.”
NO comma, “we don’t have the budget.”
NO comma, “can we see another option?”

We have to examine, to explore, to discover which NO comma we are dealing with.

There are many types of NO commas.
The first is the dramatic NO comma which drives us to work even harder. Then we have the inspirational NO comma which makes us rethink. Finally there’s the most challenging NO comma which leads us to change and go in a different direction.

NO comma has great power.
Every NO comma is a treasure.
Every NO comma is a great opportunity to search for the next YES.

Actually, almost every NO comes with a question mark.

No question



I’ve developed a relationship with NO.
I hug it, I embrace it and I nurture it. I care for it. I’ve even grown to love it.

Resistance is good. Resistance in innovation, in hi-tech, in art, etc. is great.

For me, NO is a sign, a green light and not a red light.
NO is the beginning of a YES.

Born in 1963, Gideon Amichay is an Israeli ad exec (the Shalmor Avnon Amichay/Y&R agency), cartoonist (The New Yorker), and teacher (School of Visual Arts).

You can listen to Gideon tell the story of how he got his cartoons published in The New Yorker in this talk.

Gideon’s book is available to pre-order on

December 07 2013


Graphic Icons: Jan Tschichold

John Clifford (one of the kind contributors to Work for Money, Design for Love) has written his own book, Graphic Icons: Visionaries Who Shaped Modern Graphic Design. I’m enjoying the read, learning more about masters of the craft. Here’s the section about Jan Tschichold.

Der Berufsphotograph poster
Exhibition poster for Der Berufsphotograph (The Professional Photographer), 1938

Jan Tschichold
1902–1974, born in Leipzig, Germany, educated at Leipzig Academy for Graphic Arts and Book Trades

Just as his design predecessors influenced Jan Tschichold, so he shaped graphic design long after his own death. After growing up in the heart of Germany’s book industry, Tschichold had a formal education in classical typography and calligraphy. A Bauhaus exhibition in 1923 introduced him to Constructivism, and he soon began incorporating modern elements into his designs. His photomontage posters for Munich movie theater Phoebus Palast show the influence of László Moholy-Nagy and El Lissitzky.

In 1928, Tschichold published a manual that continues to influence people today: Die neue Typografie (The New Typography), which is still in print. The strict standards in this book aimed to free designers from traditional restrictions and move them beyond centered type and ornaments. He believed design should be clear and efficient—and that the tools of clarity were sans serif type, asymmetric compositions, photography, and white space.

“In addition to being more logical, asymmetry has the advantage that its complete appearance is far more optically effective than symmetry.”

As the Nazi party felt Modernism was “un-German,” they arrested Tschichold in 1933 and imprisoned him for four weeks. He and his family then moved to Basel, Switzerland. His work began to drift away from the rigid New Typography. Centered type, serif faces, and ornaments began to appear in his work, as he understood that different projects called for different solutions.

Advertising and Graphic Art cover
Advertising and Graphic Art cover, 1947

After a move to London in 1947, he standardized the look for the inexpensive paperbacks of Penguin Books. He color-coded the horizontal bands on the covers (orange = fiction, blue = biography), a design touch that is still in use today. In addition to design and typographic principles, he considered how the book felt in the hand, and established rules for printing, paper weight, and binding. Demanding and inflexible, he raised the level of quality and set standards that influenced the entire publishing industry.

Constructivism poster
Exhibition poster for Constructivism, 1937

Excerpted from Graphic Icons: Visionaries Who Shaped Modern Graphic Design by John Clifford. Copyright © 2014. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.

The book’s an “introduction to the most iconic designers of our time, [...] packed with the posters, ads, logos, typefaces, covers, and multimedia work that have made these designers great.”

Available from publisher Peachpit, or get a copy:


More good books.

Tags: Books book
Sponsored post
Reposted byLegendaryy Legendaryy

November 26 2013


Life Is Too Short For A Broken Front-End, So We Created A New Smashing Book


It’s done: our brand new Smashing Book, full of smart, time-saving tips for crafting fine websites. Neatly packed in a gorgeous hardcover, the book features practical front-end techniques from well-respected Web designers. 498 pages. Hardcover and eBook. Available today. Get the book now.

Get the new Smashing Book.
Get the new Smashing Book.

About The Book

The book isn’t concerned with trends or short-lived workarounds. It’s focused on the actual design process—the why of the decisions we make as we craft websites. With New Perspectives, we look into lessons learned from mid-size and large projects and explore new, uncharted territories in Web design: mainly front-end, but also back-end, responsive design, typography, psychology, customer support, and content strategy.

The Smashing Book #4
Smashing Book #4 is quite thick indeed. Large preview

Written by well-respected designers and developers, the book contains lots of actionable takeaways that will help you improve your workflow. Think of it as a reliable playbook for issues that keep following you in every project. No, this book won’t change your life forever, but it will challenge you to look differently at how you build websites today. Available as print and eBook.

Why This Book Is For You

This book is for you because you’ll discover plenty of valuable, time-saving techniques that will improve your workflow right away. You’ll learn how to:

  1. Create a robust, scalable front-end,
  2. Write maintainable, futureproof code,
  3. Keep websites slim and fast,
  4. Bake performance into the workflow,
  5. Build lightweight responsive sites,
  6. Fix mobile rendering issues,
  7. Build adaptive, smart interfaces,
  8. Apply obscure back-end techniques,
  9. Design with better Web typography,
  10. Establish and maintain a content strategy,
  11. Minimize and optimize customer support,
  12. Understand how people think and decide,
  13. Sharpen a new idea and follow it through.

Not convinced yet? Alright. Let’s take a look at the table of contents.

The Smashing Book #4
A look inside the book. Harry Roberts’ chapter on CSS architecture. Large preview

The Smashing Book #4
Large preview

The Smashing Book #4
Large preview

Table of Contents

We invited respected designers and developers who have a story to tell and experiences to share. The chapters have also been reviewed by active members of the community such as Jonathan Snook, Inayaili de León, Tim Brown and Sean Coates—just to name a few. Feel free to download a free sample to look inside (PDF, ePUB, Kindle, 14.74 Mb).

AUTHOR CHAPTER DETAILS Vitaly Friedman Preface

Summary The Web is dynamic and versatile—coding techniques aren’t black and white, and so our decisions always emerge from those shady gray areas. In the preface, Vitaly argues why Web design today requires new, pragmatic, open-minded approaches and why it’s so important to look at our craft from new, unconventional perspectives.

Keywords best practices strategy trends perspectives.

Harry Roberts Modern CSS Architecture and Front-End
Harry Roberts

Summary With websites getting bigger, their dev teams growing larger, and their goals becoming more tightly defined and, I dare say, more important, we need to take another look at how we actually build them. It’s no longer practical to spend days and days thoroughly hand-crafting code; a much more rapid, powerful and pragmatic approach is needed. In this chapter we are going to take a whirlwind tour of a new approach to building more powerful front-ends for the Web today.

Keywords semantics misconceptions Object-Oriented CSS code structure file organization CSS selectors portability naming conventions.

Nicholas C. Zakas Writing Maintainable, Future-Friendly Code
Nicholas C. Zakas

Summary Code is code no matter where you go, and code has a tendency to get messy as it gets large and old. Things start to break, you find it hard to figure out why bugs are occurring, and there are parts of the codebase that seem to be “magic”. On a large project with many developers, the problem is magnified. How can everyone work in the same codebase in such a way that making changes in the future are easy? That’s what this chapter seeks to answer.

Keywords code smell conventions code style comments architecture SMACCS documentation design document.

Christian Heilmann The Vanilla Web Diet
Christian Heilmann

Summary Maybe we should take a break in our drive to be cool and new and innovative the whole time, simply for the sake of being so, and check what we are doing — analyze our eating habits, so to say. I call this the Vanilla Web Diet, much like people have started to call using JavaScript without libraries vanilla JavaScript. Here are some ideas and thoughts you can bear in mind to help slim down an existing website or your next app.

Keywords legacy browsers browser-specific code jQuery frameworks consistency conditional loading lack of support is an opportunity.

Tim Kadlec Culture of Performance
Tim Kadlec

Summary Websites are getting fatter and fatter at an alarming rate. The issue is not the competence of Web developers. The issue is also not just technological: a lot of smart optimizations are usually implemented to get the weight down. Instead, the issue is the lack of a well-established culture of performance—a total commitment to performance from the entire team that would drive and influence decisions during the project cycle. Given the incredibly important role performance plays in the user experience, this is a disastrous mistake to make.

Keywords performance case studies visualizing performance performance budget the 20% rule testing atomic design perceived performance optimistic interfaces preloading content.

Mat Marquis Robust, Responsible, Responsive Web Design
Mat Marquis

Summary Responsive Web design is starting to get a reputation—and not the kind of reputation that it rightfully deserves. The most common death knell we’ve heard ringing out is that every page of a responsive site is fated to weigh in at a couple dozen megabytes and there isn’t a single thing that any of us can do about it. This trend is on us, and you don’t see any carpenters writing blog posts about how hammers are a failed methodology because of the times they dropped one on their feet. We can do better than blaming our tools for our mistakes.

Keywords Responsive Web design presumptive enhancement progressive enhancement accessibility Ajax-Include pattern conditional loading responsive images and video.

Addy Osmani Finding and Fixing Mobile Web Rendering Issues
Addy Osmani

Summary While network performance is important and JavaScript execution is usually quick, many find that rendering (painting pixels to the screen) is their bottleneck. This can be a challenge as mobile devices are underpowered when compared to our desktop systems. To hit 60fps, we sometimes need to go beyond JavaScript as the sole performance bottleneck for our pages and spend more time investigating paint and layout issues. This chapter explores some of the core causes of jank in sites and applications.

Keywords performance 60fps rendering jank faster animations hardware acceleration diagnosing slow paint times workflow remote debugging.

Aaron Gustafson Designing Adaptive Interfaces
Aaron Gustafson

Summary Design, as a concept, is a tricky little beast. Design does not exist in a vacuum. Each step in the process of building an interface should add to the experience. In the end, independent users may have differing experiences of the interface, but no one is denied access to a good experience. To create truly exceptional designs, we must not only reduce the friction inherent in completing a task, but we should make it (dare I say it) fun! We must reconcile aesthetics with usability.

Keywords empathy the layer cake constraints lazy loading construction flows JavaScript support adaptive components atomic design.

Paul Tero Obscure Back-end Techniques and Terminal Secrets
Paul Tero

Summary You wake up one morning, look at the browser window, check the Widget 3000, click on a button and there’s nothing. What happened? Help! The Internet is gone! We’re going to cover a lot of ground in this chapter, from routers to servers, from error logs to PHP hacks. I’ll start with the worst case scenario and work inwards, exploring the infrastructure of the Internet and the make-up of a Web server, imparting lots of little tips and commands along the way, opening up a new perspective on how websites can stop working — and be fixed.

Keywords back-end techniques networking router DNS traceroute servers firewalls Denial of Service HTTP administration error management PHP errors .

Marko Dugonjić The Next Steps For Web Typography
Marko Dugonjić

Summary In this chapter, we’ll cover the big picture first — with not too frightening context models and a list of actors that participate in content creation and publishing — and continue with practical details, with plenty of code examples and tips. Among other things, we’ll cover typefaces and Web typography in general, organization and performance, typesetting and advanced CSS techniques.

Keywords universal typography multifaceted model structured content responsive Web typography font delivery and distribution rendering engines macrotypography combining typefaces type library CSS organization fonts as progressive enhancement subsetting Base64 encoding white space hierarchy modular scales subhead styles advanced CSS techniques.

Corey Vilhauer The Two Faces of Content Strategy
Corey Vilhauer

Summary There are two faces to content strategy: the people we’re targeting (our users), and the people who are doing the targeting (our editors). We’re responsible for making great websites. But we’re also responsible for making websites that are usable from the editor’s standpoint. We are the people who make the Web; we are also those responsible for helping those who sustain it.

Keywords editors content workflow content discovery auditing strategy assigning roles execution governance editorial triggers.

Rachel Andrew Supporting Your Product
Rachel Andrew

Summary Providing a good customer experience is really important in support. The customer may make that initial contact feeling annoyed about your product. They have an issue, and it isn’t doing what they wanted it to. Your aim should be not only to solve their problem, but to leave them feeling more positive about your product than they would if they hadn’t had the issue that brought them into support in the first place.

Keywords support as a marketing tool feature requests core use case difficult customers the end client problem pricing models minimizing support tools no FAQs policy support statistics social media future-friendly support.

Nishant Kothary The Design of People
Nishant Kothary

Summary The goal of this chapter is to introduce you to the human being as the center of every success or failure in our lives. But not in that tired way we’re all guilty of where we commiserate and vent on Twitter. Or the way where we publish blog posts about the bureaucratic deadweights that are the true bottlenecks to innovation. Let’s resist the convenient cover of insanity. Let’s stop putting more lipstick on the pig, and instead explore why the pig is so darn ugly in the first place. That is, let’s talk about the root of the problem instead of the symptoms.

Keywords psychology communication design reviews the Sally-Anne test theory of mind cognitive bias illusions of mind strategy.

Christopher Murphy On Creative Spirit
Christopher Murphy

Summary So, how do you establish an idea generation culture? How do you open the proverbial floodgates and unleash an endless supply of new and original ideas? Is it possible to adopt strategies that allow us to reliably generate meaningful ideas, which we can then execute skillfully? I believe, by adopting a simple mental framework and embracing a core set of strategies, it is.

Keywords idea-generation techniques priming the brain digital toolbelt sketchbooks strategy centralized office café culture the Lego office.

Harry Roberts Nicholas C. Zakas Christian Heilmann Tim Kadlec Mat Marquis Addy Osmani Aaron Gustafson Paul Tero Marko Dugonjić Corey Vilhauer Rachel Andrew Nishant Kothary Christopher Murphy
From left to right: Harry Roberts, Nicholas C. Zakas, Christian Heilmann, Tim Kadlec, Mat Marquis, Addy Osmani, Aaron Gustafson, Paul Tero, Marko Dugonjić, Corey Vilhauer, Rachel Andrew, Nishant Kothary and Christopher Murphy

Technical Details

  • 498 pages, 16.5 × 24.0 cm (6.5 × 9.5 inches).
  • A high-quality embossed cover with a little surprise,
  • Quality hardcover with stitched binding and a ribbon page marker.
  • The eBook version is included in the printed book for free (PDF, EPUB, Kindle).
  • Airmail delivery from Germany ($5 worldwide shipping, check delivery times).
  • Available as print and eBook.

Get the new Smashing Book.
Get the eBook. Get the Hardcover + eBook

If you’ve already ordered the book, then it’s really only a matter of days until you receive it. Until then, the complimentary eBook is waiting for you in your Smashing Shop dashboard. At this very moment, all orders are being shipped from Germany by airmail. Of course you get the eBook automatically once you’ve ordered the printed book, so you can start reading right away.

What Reviewers Say About The Book

Still not convinced? Well, a few reviewers had the chance to read the book beforehand, and share their feedback without any strings attached. Should you get it? Let’s see:

Dudley Storey

“Smashing Book 4 provides logical, practical, real-world examples of what’s wrong with modern sites and how to fix them. [..] I want the Web to win. But to do so, Web development has to match its age and live up to the responsibility it has earned. The book takes a big step in guiding that transition for both products and people, making it a book I would very strongly recommend for everyone involved in Web development.”

— Dudley Storey, Review: Smashing Book 4

Jordan Moore

“The Smashing Book 4 is excellent value for money. [...] [It's] conference quality topics in the palm of your hand, permanently committed to paper (or the medium of your choice) ready for you to consume whenever you want. The Web has grown up and The Smashing Book 4 is the perfect field guide for making and maintaining things for a future-friendly Web.”

— Jordan Moore, Review: Smashing Book 4

Jamie Maon

“Currently reading a preview of Smashing Book #4. Each chapter updates you on one important area of Web development and Web design which is really useful given the hectic pace seemingly every aspect of our industry is moving at. Nice to have it all distilled in one book.”

Jamie Mason

Janko Jovanovic

“Just reading Smashing Book 4 and I can strongly recommend it. Full of practical and useful Web design stories.”

Janko Jovanovic

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions, we are right here to answer them. We love our customers, and we’d love to help you in any way or just listen to your story. So please feel free to ask questions via Twitter @smashingmag — we’ll get back to you right away. Just in case: here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Questions What are the costs for shipping to my country?
The shipping cost for one book or a bundle is $5 — wherever you are in the world. We ship everywhere worldwide. We are paying a share of the shipping costs ourselves to make it possible for anyone to purchase the book. Our prices are transparent: we don’t have any hidden costs, and we won’t confuse you with tricky calculations. What you see is what you pay! What about delivery times?
All books will be shipped via air mail to keep delivery times as short as possible. You can find the anticipated delivery time for your country in the delivery times overview. We are starting to ship the books today. Will the book be available in other languages?
Maybe in future, but we have not made arrangements for that yet, so please don’t hold your breath. Is Smashing Book #4 available as an eBook?
Yep, sure. The book is available in PDF, ePub and Amazon Kindle formats. Feel free to download a free sample to look inside. You can get the eBook right away. What payment methods are accepted?
We accept PayPal, VISA, MasterCard and American Express. Of course we use a secure connection, with 256-bit AES encryption and a green GeoTrust Extended Validation SSL CA certificate. And no, we don’t store your credit card data on our servers. Is there a money-back guarantee?
Yes, absolutely! No risk is involved. Our 100-day full money-back guarantee keeps you safe. Don’t hesitate to return your purchase. You’ll get your money back—no ifs, ands or buts about it. I have a question that is not covered here.
Please leave a comment below, or get in touch with us via the contact form or via @SmashingSupport on Twitter. We would love to help you in any way we can, you know that.

Thank You

Thank you so much for your support, everybody—we truly appreciate it. The book has been quite a journey for us, and it’s our privilege to share this journey with you. We hope you’ll love the book just as much as we do. We’re looking forward to your feedback. Ah, and have you solved the Smashing Book #4 Mystery Riddle yet?

Get the new Smashing Book.
Get the new Smashing Book.

© Vitaly Friedman for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

Tags: Events Books

The Smashing Book Mystery: Have You Figured It Out Yet?


To celebrate the long-awaited release of our new Smashing Book (yaaaay!), we’ve prepared a little mystery for you. Below you’ll find an animated GIF that contains a hidden message. Once you resolved the mystery, you’ll see a Twitter hashtag displayed in plain text.

Are you ready? Action! (Hint: watch out for the file name).

Smashing Book Mystery
A hint: watch out for the file name.

What Can You Win?

Among the first readers who tweet us with the hashtag we’ll raffle a quite extraordinary, smashing prize (and a couple of other Smashing extras):

  • a ticket to the Smashing Conference Oxford 2014,
  • a roundtrip flight to Oxford, UK,
  • full accommodation in a fancy hotel,
  • full access to the Smashing eBook Library,
  • any Smashing workshop ticket of your choice,
  • a signed edition of the Smashing Book #4,
  • a truly Smashing laptop bag,
  • your very own Smashing caricature, designed just for you.

Please notice that to avoid spoilers, comments are closed for this post. And sorry, we aren’t going to make it too easy for you. Alright. Let’s get to work. Have you figured it out yet? ;-)

© Vitaly Friedman for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

Tags: Events Books

September 24 2013


13 Free E-books To Boost Your Blogging Expertise

Knowledge is a treasure and we can enrich our know-how in many different ways and reading books is one of them. Reading books is the best way to gain knowledge that endows us with a comprehensive understanding regarding different aspects of life which in turn gives us the confidence to deal with different problems and find out appropriate solutions as well. With the advancements in the sector of Information Technology, the concept of reading e-books has also gained huge acceptance.

For this collection, we are presenting 13 free and the best e-books that will enhance your knowledge about blogging. These e-books are useful for the newcomers as well as for the seasoned bloggers. Here is the full list. Enjoy!

Effective Internet Presence

Why Your Blog is Your Social Media Hub

The Corporate Weblog Manifesto

279 Days to Overnight Success

How to Monitor Your Social Media Presence

The Zen of Blogging

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO

BlogBash 30 days 30 experts

Blog Profits Blueprint

Killer Flagship Content

Everyone’s an expert

How to Start a Business Blog

New version of Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber Dissidents

September 20 2013


Blank Slate: A Comprehensive Library of Photographic Templates

I’ve talked before about how showing identity work using Photoshop mockups can really bring an idea to life. So it was interesting to get Blank Slate in the post, courtesy of publisher Gestalten.

Blank Slate

You know the idea…

Blank Slate

Blank Slate

The book is a hardback reference catalogue that might make it a little easier to find the exact “blank slate” you’re looking for. More than 1,000 images are labelled with codes that correspond to the TIFF files on the included DVD.

Blank Slate

All images are available on white and on black backgrounds, except for the few in the sadly lacking “environment” section — it’s a shame there isn’t a wider variety here.

Blank Slate

Blank Slate

Blank Slate

Blank Slate

Blank Slate

I’ve built a decent library of these images, but this is a nice alternative to signing up to a stock photography website, and I’m sure I’ll make use of it at some point soon.

You can get a copy of Blank Slate direct from Gestalten, or here:


From the archives: Where to find contextual image templates for client presentations.

September 11 2013


11 Free Tools To Annotate PDF Documents For iPhone And iPad

In this post, we have collected 11 free tools that will let you annotate you PDF document. Many people use PDF files and read documents in PDF format, and even when they do not use PDF regularly, they often come across such files once or twice in their lives. Many PDF readers are there but none of them offer any option to annotate your document. Therefore, we have compiled this post.

In this post, you will find some free resources to annotate your PDF documents. With these tools, you can add text notes, bookmark a section, highlight or underline text very easily. We hope that you will like this collection and find them useful.


The UPAD app takes notes to another level. Your notes become more striking than a printed page. And you’ll be completely intrigued.

PDF Review Free

Pdf Review is an annotation tool for pdf that has an ordered list containing the feedback and notes without obfuscating the original pdf. It supports the full review workflow. Reviewers can easily add feedback with a single tap and send an organized report to the author.

Adobe Reader

Adobe® Reader® is the free, trusted leader for reliably viewing and interacting with PDF documents across platforms and devices.

DocAS Lite

DocAS lets you take note, sketch your ideas, annotate PDFs, convert other document format to PDF, do presentation, read documents, record your meetings and classes, and share your notes/documents on your iPad, All-in-One.

AnnotDoc Lite, viewing MS Office doc and PDF with annotations

AnnotDoc is the ONLY iPad app that supports annotation on MS Word and MS PowerPoint! In addition, it supports annotation on PDF as well. Reached Top 1 in some App Stores!


PDF Max is the 5-star rated, full-featured PDF app used & trusted by millions of iPhone/iPad users world-wide. It designed for those people who’re looking for a full-featured PDF annotating, form-filling & note-taking app.

Pdf-notes free for iPad

This app is simply excellent! Functionalities are very well designed and usability is very good and simple. It is extremely useful for classes and study.


Mendeley is academic software that indexes and organizes all of your PDF documents and research papers into your own personal digital library. It gathers document details from your PDFs allowing you to effortlessly search, organize and cite.


GoodNotes lets you take handwritten notes, sketch diagrams, mark-up PDFs and organize them on a beautiful bookshelf. Turn pages with a swipe, highlight or add notes to any page, and share your notes with anyone. GoodNotes will automatically save your notes and has full backup function to prevent data loss.

SignNow – Sign and Fill PDF & Word Documents

Need to sign a document? Need to get someone’s signature on a document? SignNow makes it easy to do both for free, and forget about printing, scanning, or faxing.

DocuSign Ink – Sign PDF & Documents

Sign documents and get signatures quickly and easily from your iPad or iPhone. A must-have app that will save you time and eliminate the need to print, fax or mail documents and forms for signature.


The Design Method

The Design Method is a new book by Eric Karjaluoto, creative director and founding partner of smashLAB. He kindly took time to answer a few questions that I thought would interest you. The questions are separated with some illustrations from throughout the book.

Both the client and designer play important roles in the creation of good design. However, each one holds certain strengths and insights that the other doesn’t. As such, think carefully about the part each group plays, and try to avoid stepping on the other’s toes.


You talk about presenting just one idea to your clients. I get occasional enquiries where I’m asked to create a number of designs. Have any of your clients been adamant about seeing more than one idea?

Although many clients start by asking for three options, I explain to them why aiming for one target is more sensible: Doing so minimizes tangential directions that can take the project off course, helps keeps the project on track/budget, and reduces the number of decisions they’re forced to contend with.

I explain that we run many (often hundreds of) variations in studio, and edit down the choices before presenting the most workable option for their review. If they disagree with our recommended direction, we note what isn’t working, and then iterate.

We don’t mind going back to the drawing board if necessary; we just want to ensure that we’re moving the client and project forward in one clear direction. When I explain this, most clients see the logic and agree that it makes more sense than the alternative.

IKEA’s designers employ a number of consistent rules when producing assets. As a result, you could change the text to gibberish and most would still be able to identify the brand.


You say the voice of the designer is irrelevant — what do you mean by “voice?”

I’m speaking specifically about individual personality and style. Design is often considered a close cousin to art, and this misunderstanding clouds what our industry is about. New designers, in particular, want to imbue their work with their own sensibilities, but this desire isn’t actually that important.

Clients, for the most part, don’t want the designer’s personality to show through the work they produce; instead, they need design that is built around their needs and amplifies their organization’s values and aspirations. Designers need to gear themselves to think about their clients’ needs first.

Leg warmers
It’s understandable that you’ll find trends compelling, but it’s a real drag to look back and realize that you were lured into the same pointless fads as everyone else.


How do you present your project quotes? Are they solely for what the client requests, or do you break it down into options, perhaps with a lower and a higher value in order to offer more choice?

Providing design quotes is almost always difficult, as the nature of design projects tends to be quite variable. On the odd occasion, a job is cut and dried, and I simply look back on past projects we’ve completed, with a similar scope of work, and use that (alongside a look at the billable efficiency of that project) to determine a suitable price. For the most part, we tend to provide a fixed cost; however, if the prospective client tells us that they have less to spend, we can sometimes reduce scope to meet their budget.

Increasingly, though, we’re asking prospective clients to contract us to complete some initial Discovery and Planning work, as a trial run of sorts. This approach allows us to really dig into their situation, needs, and expectations, and subsequently produce a plan for them. Upon having done so, they’re free to take the plan to another organization and leave us behind, should they choose.

Most times, they have us continue with the project, as they now have a better sense for our agency, how we think, and the way we work. Additionally, our pricing tends to be more accurate at this point, as having done this work allows us to really understand the scope of the project, instead of guessing what’s involved — which most studios are forced to do if they haven’t conducted any initial Discovery and Planning.

Stages and phases
The Design Method relies on four key process stages; however, the working phases you employ are informed by the kind of design you do and the project milestones you establish.


How do you protect your studio from potential legal issues that might arise after a project has started (where a client might not pay yet still use your work, for example)?

We produce a clear document at the outset of a project that lays out the scope of the project, timeline, and needs, as well as the associated requirements on the client’s behalf. After that, we request progress payments at key stages throughout the project.

Most of the engagements we take on are long and involved, and this allows us to really get to know our clients (and vice versa). Therefore, we tend to get a sense in advance if there might be some kind of discomfort/frustration on the client’s behalf. We then address such concerns before the situation gets ugly.

I’m sure that at some point we’ll need to bring in lawyers to help with a project that goes completely off the rails, but we’ve never yet found ourselves in that spot. Frankly, by the time you need to bring in lawyers to deal with such a situation, you’ve likely not been running your studio the way you should have been.

You want a trophy to celebrate your achievements? Why not join your local 4H club or bowling league, or attend a fishing derby? They’ll give you a trophy!


During a few of my past projects it became clear that the client wanted to drive the design, asking for this to go here, and that to go there, etc., almost to the point of relegating me to a pixel pusher. Has this ever happened to you? And if so, how did you handle the requests?

Yes — it happens all the time, and this will never change. The work designers do is very personal to those who hire us, and they’re going to want to get their hands “in there.” In my mind, both the client and designer play very distinct roles in this sort of work, and the designer needs to define these roles clearly in order to produce good design for their clients.

The client/designer engagement needs to be thought about practically. Most clients aren’t experts in creating brands, defining visual identities, producing elegant user experience, and the like. Meanwhile, most designers don’t really know their customer’s business, clients, history, operations requirements, and so on.

Therefore, each party needs to own their role and try to avoid infringing on the other’s — for the good of the work they’re trying to produce. This is an issue of perspective: Neither the designer, nor the client, should be concerned with what their individual visual preferences; instead, they need to ask how they’re going to reach the objectives set out at the outset of the project. Most times, this means concentrating on how the choices they’re making might impact the user.

So, when you’re struggling with a client getting a little too close to the work you’re helping them with, try to get them to pull back a little. Keep asking what will work best for the audience/user, and you should be able to steer the project back on course.

Exit signs
Although both signs seem like reasonable approaches, which one do you expect will make the most sense to someone who doesn’t speak English?


You say in the book that “if you want to get new business, taking prospective clients out for lunch may be more effective than chasing awards.” What proportion of your clients are local, and does it affect your working relationship when you’re unable to meet face-to-face?

The ratio tends to vary. At this moment, most of our work is for clients who aren’t in Vancouver. That being said, it’s the relationships that started with local groups that led to a number of these projects. For example, the website we built for The Vancouver Aquarium has been very well received by groups abroad. As a result of that project, we started working with organizations including WWF Canada, The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, and The Nature Conservancy. Personally, I like meeting our clients in face-to-face, but that isn’t always possible. For those who are close, though, we try to get together for lunch every here and there — not necessarily for sales purposes, but instead just to get a sense of what they’re up to. We’re lucky to work with a lot of nice people.

The Design Method

Book giveaway

Eric is giving away five codes for downloading digital copies of his book. They’ll go to five of you who leave comments that share the number of design options you present to your clients, and why. Names will be drawn from the comment thread (below) next Monday (16th).

The Design Method is available from the Peachpit website and here:


From the archives: What employers look for, by Eric Karjaluoto

August 20 2013


Book giveaway

My publisher sent me seven copies of each of my books as well as twenty codes for each title (the codes are for downloading digital copies from the Peachpit website).

I’m giving them to people who subscribe to the mailing list, and I’ll draw names from all subscribers next Wednesday (28th).

I’ll sign and mail copies of both books for seven subscribers. And give codes to download digital copies of both to twenty others.

LDL and WFMDFL books

If that interests you, sign up here.

Both books are available from Amazon.

Thanks so much for all the positive vibes.

July 10 2013


May The Fourth Be With You: Add Your Twitter Avatar To The Smashing Book #4


If you’ve spent the last few months under a rock, then we’ve got a surprise for you. We are working on two brand new Smashing Books. The first, New Perspectives on Coding, will cover state-of-the-art techniques, case studies and coding strategies — all neatly packed into a gorgeous printed hardcover (and available as an eBook, of course).

So if you’ve always wanted to leave a trace of yourself to posterity, now you can (well, kind of). From the very first Smashing Book, we’ve reserved space to feature our readers in the book, and our fourth undertaking will be no exception.

Add Your Twitter Avatar To The Book!

A picture says more than a thousand words, and a Twitter avatar says more about one’s personality than a name ever could! So, following our tradition, we welcome you to submit your Twitter avatar for a double-page spread in the (printed and digital) book. Space is very limited, with only 750 slots available, so please be quick!

How Does It Work? Easy!

  1. Type in your Twitter username, and — voilà — your spot it reserved!
  2. We’ll grab your avatar automatically and will notify you about the status of the submission via email.

Submit Your Avatar Into The Book!

Presto! And if for some mysterious reason, you happen to feel like a Jedi afterwards, well, why not tweet about it using the hash tag #feellikejedi? No pressure: just sayin’!

What Is The Book About?

We’ve assembled a remarkable lineup of authors for the book. All of them are well-respected designers and developers who will be divulging practical insights, design strategies and hands-on tools as they share new perspectives on Web design today. Here is a quick summary of the book’s theme and table of contents.


Smashing Book #4: Coding

What works in theory sometimes doesn’t quite work as expected in practice. In this pragmatic book, well-respected designers and developers analyze their personal experiences, failures and successes from working on common front-end issues, and share the tools they use to tackle these issues effectively. You’ll learn state-of-the-art techniques and strategies to make your workflow more effective.

The book will feature valuable insights into large-scale projects, front-end architecture, maintainable code and responsible responsive Web design. It will also uncover smart front-end strategies, CSS and JavaScript tricks and obscure back-end techniques, and it will explore what it takes to improve performance for faster and more robust websites and Web apps.

Table of Contents

AUTHOR CHAPTER DETAILS Addy Osmani Rendering Performance Optimization For Mobile
Addy Osmani

Whether it’s on desktop or mobile, users want their web experience to be snappy, smooth and delightful. What this means is that even if the browser is busy rendering the page (i.e drawing it) or loading in content, the user should still be able to scroll around and interact with it without any slow-down. No one likes seeing visual glitchyness.

In this chapter, Addy Osmani, the mastermind behind Yeoman and Devtools, provides a walkthrough on how to find and fix visual jitter in your pages. If you care about providing fast and smooth experiences, you will care about this chapter, too.

Keywords: tools, techniques, strategy, workflow, optimization, rendering.

Harry Roberts Breaking Good Habits: CSS Architecture For Tomorrow
Harry RobertsThe Web is changing. Are you keeping up? We’ve outgrown the methods of yesteryear and it’s now up to us to update the unwritten rules of web development to fit the new landscape. This chapter explores some misconceptions about CSS, encourages a change in attitude in front-end development, explores practical approaches of and lessons learned in object-oriented CSS development, code structure, code management, naming conventions and verbosity of HTML.

You’ll explore a new frame of mind that is better equipped for building more powerful, pragmatic front-ends.

Chapter keywords: CSS, OOCSS, BEM, architecture, strategy, semantics, code structure, front-end, naming conventions, performance.

Nicholas C. Zakas The Roadmap to Maintainable, Clean and Effective Code
Nicholas C. Zakas Code is code no matter where you go, and code has a tendency to get messy as it gets large and old. What if you need to make changes? What if you didn’t anticipate the additional features that would be required? What if the project ends up going in a different direction? Can your code adapt?

We are rarely taught how to deal with messy code. However, someone is going to have to maintain that code. That someone might be you next month or it might be someone else next year, but someone eventually will need to maintain that code. On a large project with many developers, the problem is magnified. How can everyone work in the same code base in such a way that making changes in the future are easy? That’s what this chapter is about.

Chapter keywords: maintenance, architecture, conventions, code style, documentation, components, legacy code, testing, CSS, JavaScript.

Tim Kadlec The Culture of Performance
Tim KadlecThe Web has a serious weight problem and the users are the ones who suffer as a result. The impact of improved web performance is no minor detail: by caring a lot about how fast our websites and applications are, we can explore new markets, gain increased revenue, improved business metrics and better user satisfaction. But how do we bake performance into the design process? We must make performance part of the discussion from the very beginning of the process, and we must be concrete about it.

Chapter keywords: performance budget, optimization, speed, efficiency, mobile, latency, loading, rendering

Paul Tero How To Fix The Web: Obscure Back-end Techniques And Terminal Secrets
Paul Tero Imagine that you wake up one morning, groggily reach for your laptop and fire it up. You’ve just finished developing a brand new website and last night you were proudly clicking through the product list. The browser window is still open, the Widget 3000 is still sparkling in its AJAXy newness. You grin like a new parent and expectantly click on “more details.” And nothing happens. You click again, still nothing. You press “Refresh” and get that annoying swirling icon and then the page goes blank. Help! The Internet is gone!

This chapter starts with the worst case scenario and works inwards, exploring the infrastructure of the Internet and the make-up of a Web server, imparting lots of little tips and commands along the way, opening up a new perspective on how websites can stop working and be fixed.

Chapter keywords: back-end, DNS, servers, networking, infrastructure, SSH, firewalls, DOS, hacks, debugging, backup, Apache, security.

Aaron Gustafson Building Adaptive Interfaces
Aaron Gustafson To create truly exceptional designs, we must not only reduce the friction inherent in completing a task, but we must reconcile aesthetics with usability by designing adaptive interfaces. Smartly built interfaces offer a continuum of experience. So what if we architect our interfaces to adapt to the capabilities of our user’s devices in order to ensure a positive experience, even if it’s not an identical one?

In this chapter, Aaron explores the layers of a typical Web experience and breaks down the development process into manageable steps that enable accessible, functional and empathetic interfaces. He also describes his own process and various techniques that help him to achieve this very goal in daily routine.

Chapter keywords: adaptive interface, progressive enhancement, empathy, layer cake, constraints, lazy loading, UI Construction Flow, JavaScript, adaptive components, patterns, style tiles

Mat Marquis Robust, Responsible, Responsive Web Design (Filament Group’s Case-Study)
Mat Marquis Responsive Web design is starting to get a reputation, and not the kind of reputation that it rightfully deserves. The most common death knell we’ve heard ringing out—lately, anyway—is that every page of a responsive site is fated to weigh in at a couple dozen megabytes and there isn’t a single thing that any of us can do about it.

There are good solution though. We can’t blame responsive Web design for mistakes that we, developers, have been making. This is on us, and you don’t see any carpenters writing blog posts about how hammers are a failed methodology because of the time they dropped one on their foot. We can do better than blaming our tools for our mistakes. This chapter is about exactly that: tools, techniques, lessons learned and practical tips to manage responsible responsive designs in real-life projects.

Chapter keywords: Responsive Web design, responsive images, conditional loading, progressive enhancement, optimization, CSS, JavaScript, workflow, optimization, case-study.

Andy Hume Real-Life Responsive Web Design (The Guardian’s Case-Study)
Andy Hume Ensuring good cross device and cross browser experiences has always been a thing, but browsers adoption of media quieries solved a key problem and let us jump forward very fast. This chapter looks at some lessons from implementing on Guardian and discussions with others like BBC, Boston Globe. In a world where the number and diversity of browsing platforms is increasing every day these orgs understand the value of having one platform and codebase for delivering their web products.

Chapter keywords: Responsive Web design, optimization, performance, RESS, case-study.

Christian Heilmann Vanilla Web Diet
Christian Heilmann When we go out and use our mobile devices or wireless that is available in cafes and hotels things don’t look as bright as they do on our incredibly fast connections at home. There, the larger part of our time is consumed looking at spinning animations telling us something is loading and many a time we are being told that “the connection is wonky” and that we should try again.

That’s a sign of the Web being broken. It’s time to fix it. Let’s try to take a break in our drive to be cool and new and innovative the whole time and check out what we are doing — analyze our eating habits so to say. Christian Heilmann calls this the “Vanilla Web Diet,” much like people start calling using JavaScript without any libraries “Vanilla JavaScript.” This chapter explores some of the fundamental ideas and thoughts that you can apply to slim down your next app or existing solution.

Chapter keywords: optimization, performance, speed, strategy, browsers, quality of code.

Addy Osmani Harry Roberts Nicholas C. Zakas Tim Kadlec Paul Tero Aaron Gustafson Mat Marquis Andy Hume Christian Heilmann
Authors of the “New Perspective on Coding”, a book about state-of-the-art techniques, strategies and workflow for Web developers.

A tasty early preview of Anna Shuvalova’s beautiful illustrations for The Smashing Book #4: namely, for Christian Heilmann’s chapter “Vanilla Web Diet” on the left, and Mat Marquis’ chapter “Robust, Responsive, Responsive Web Design” on the right. (Large view)

Technical Details

Smashing Book #4: Coding

© The Smashing Editorial for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

June 17 2013


The Fortune Cookie Principle

Bernadette Jiwa has just published her new book, The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 keys to a great brand story and why your business needs one.

It’s full of inspiring stories about what makes businesses unique (and successful) in today’s supersaturated markets. Here’s an excerpt.

Fortune cookie
Fortune cookie photo via SodaHead

The best confirmation email ever written

When Derek Sivers first built his business, he set up a standard confirmation email to let customers know their order had been shipped. After a few months, Derek felt that this email wasn’t aligned with his mission — to make people smile. So he sat down and wrote a better one.

“Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed on a satin pillow.

“A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

“Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

“We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 6th.

“I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to!”

The result didn’t just delight customers. That one email brought thousands of new customers to CD Baby. The people who got it couldn’t help sharing it with their friends. Try Googling “private CD Baby jet”; you’ll find over 900,000 search results to date. Derek’s email has been cited by business blogs the world over as an example of how to authentically put your words to work for your business.

The Fortune Cookie Principle

The Fortune Cookie Principle is available to buy as a paperback and for Kindle:


“This should be the next book you read. Urgent, leveraged and useful, it will change your business like nothing else.”

A few other book recommendations here.

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

Tags: Books book books

June 04 2013


15 Years, 115 Projects

15/115 (15 Years, 115 Projects) is the second book from designer Mark Bloom of Mash Creative.

15 115 by Mark Bloom

It features 115 projects spanning a 15 year career to-date, divided into three chapters: 15 x posters, 80 x logos and 25 x case studies. Mark also asked me to write a foreword, which I was more than happy to do (he was one of the kind contributors to my second book).

15 115 by Mark Bloom
Royal Mail identity idea (above), previously featured on Identity Designed

15 115 by Mark Bloom

I asked Mark a few questions about his self-published project.

Q/ How much has this book cost to produce in terms of time and money?

A/ Let’s just say it’s several thousand pounds in total — it’s been a labour of love. Time, probably around six months, but not solid, this was in between client work.

Q/ Why did you choose Screaming Colour as your printer? Did they print your first book?

A/ They didn’t print my first book but I knew they had a good reputation for producing high quality print. The print spec on 15/115 is quite special so I wanted to ensure the printer I used would meet my high standards. Screaming Colour is only a 10-minute walk from my studio, I went to visit them and was very impressed. They’ve invested a lot of time and effort into the book, even before the job went ahead, and they’ve been very hands-on during the whole process. I was initially tempted to get the book printed in the Far East to reduce costs, but being able to meet with the printers, check proofs, etc. has given me far more peace of mind.

15 115 by Mark Bloom

Q/ What particular GF Smith papers did you choose, and why?

A/ Cover stock: GF Smith Colorplan Ebony Black 350gsm with gravure emboss. I’d seen a piece of print that used a gravure emboss and really liked it, I think it gives a nice contrast against the white foil text and internal pages. The black and white colour scheme follows on from my previous book, 14/41.

Internal page stock: GF Smith Accent Smooth Glacier White 135gsm (subject to any last-minute change). The book showcases several projects which were printed in fluorescent inks, so colour reproduction was very important. After some print testing and discussions with GF Smith it seemed like Accent Smooth was the most suitable choice.

Q/ What exposure have the books generated for Mash Creative?

A/ It’s hard to put this into figures but it has certainly helped me gain exposure through design blogs, which in turn has raised Mash Creative’s profile, making potential clients more aware of my work.

15 115 by Mark Bloom

Q/ Have any clients specifically mentioned your first book when contacting you?

A/ Yes, in fact even since launching my second book just four days ago I’ve had several work enquires off the back of it. 14/41 also helped win new business last year, mainly smaller companies. I also used 14/41 as a showcase of my identity design work when meeting with two well known London design studios, both of whom ended up giving me freelance commissions.

Q/ Would you recommend that other designers create similar work archives?

A/ Not necessarily in terms of a book — it’s very time consuming, stressful, and not to mention expensive — but I definitely think it’s important they keep an archive of their work, at least in digital form.

Over the years I’ve always had an AI file into which I simply copy and paste any logo I design, a simple and easy way of archiving my logo work. This makes it very easy to find older designs without having to go through external hard drives or similar. I also have a folder on my computer called “press images.” That’s where I keep high-res and web-res images of all the work I’ve produced since starting Mash Creative nearly four years ago. I’m fortunate enough to get a lot of press requests from book publishers such as Victionary to feature my work, and by keeping a press folder on my system it means I can access all relevant images very quickly. When designing 15/115 it meant I already had a lot of high-res images close at hand.

The finish really does look superb, featuring a white foiled cover with a thread sewn spine for lay-flat spreads. I’m looking forward to picking up a copy.

15 115 by Mark Bloom

  • 15/115 is available to pre-order at the discounted rate of £17.50 (normal price £22.50)
  • Pages: 140pp, size: 170 x 230 mm, supported by GF Smith Papers
  • Shipping date estimated at end of June to early July 2013
  • Available to pre-order from:

See a few photos of Mark’s first book, 14/41, over on Logo Design Love.

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

Tags: Books book

May 09 2013


The Smashing Editor’s Choice: A Free eBook


Nearly half a year ago, we introduced our eBook subscription model, also known as the Smashing Library. We knew we were onto something good, realizing that the Smashing Library was the next step in offering quality content — at a price you’ll still be able to afford all of the coffee you need to stay up long enough to read the entire library and, of course, the free eBooks.

The Smashing Library Subscription
A subscription to the Smashing Library is only $99 a year.

A subscription to the Smashing Library grants you unlimited access to all of the previously published Smashing eBooks, as well as a guaranteed 24 new eBooks throughout the year. This includes all digital versions of the Smashing Book series, including the The Mobile Book and the upcoming Smashing Book #4.

And our library is getting even more smashing. We didn’t want to limit the library to just our own content, so we are now including a growing number of industry-related eBooks. These books are by authors who aren’t necessarily affiliated with Smashing Magazine but who produce great content. In addition to saving more than half off the regular bundle prices, as a subscriber to the Smashing Library, you will get the opportunity to vote on what we publish next and what new eBook downloads will be automatically available in your Smashing Shop dashboard.

The Smashing Library Catalog Download
Download the “Smashing Library Catalog” (PDF, 2.8 MB) and get started today!

The Smashing Editor’s Choice

To give you a taste of what to expect from the eBooks in the Smashing Library, we are happy to present you with The Smashing Editor’s Choice: A Smashing Library Treata free eBook that contains a wide range of topics, including new coding techniques, user experience strategies, responsive design and mobile solutions by some incredibly prolific and knowledgeable authors. Well-known names such as Lea Verou, Christian Heilmann and Dmitry Fadeyev have contributed fascinating chapters on various subjects.

The Smashing Free eBook Download
Sign up below to receive your free copy of The Smashing Editor’s Choice.

The Smashing Editor’s Choice eBook is only a sample of the kind of quality Smashing eBooks that are available in the library. We select only the best articles, wrap them in a user-friendly layout, and make them available in the three most common formats, PDF, EPUB and Kindle. And because we don’t want to impede your use of the eBooks, they’re all DRM-free.

If you like this eBook, then you’ll love the Smashing Library. Just fill in your email address below, and you will receive access to a download link to your free eBook copy of The Smashing Editor’s Choice, as well as our bi-weekly Smashing Newsletter, which is full of useful tricks, techniques and tweaks.

Get a link to the free eBook via email:

What Subscribers Think of the Smashing Library

Coming up with the subscription library model took meticulous planning and careful editorial work. Adding eBooks on a monthly basis and keeping up with industry trends take passion. Luckily, we have a lot of that. From the beginning, we had a feeling that the library would be popular, and with the surprisingly positive launch, you proved us right:

“A perfect resource for a full-service Web-dev company. I own and operate a Web development company. This provides a vast store of wisdom for daily operations across the board.”
Taylor Black

“Unbelievable bargain! This is indeed a great offer if you’re thinking about purchasing several books and if you want to keep up with current developments. Very curious about what’s yet to come this year!”

The best magazine is up with the best books. I recently received “The Mobile Book.” That was awesome, and I hope this will be 38X awesome. Worth reading!”
Erik Royall

“Great books, nice offer! I already own Smashing Book #3 and was thinking about buying the mobile/coding bundle when I stumbled upon this offer. Been reading (almost) nonstop ever since, loving it so far! Thanks, Smashing!”

We try to make the Smashing Library worthwhile by adding new content regularly and by giving you, the subscriber, the choice of what we publish next. All downloads, eBook polls and news are accessible through your personal Smashing Shop dashboard. Have a look at what the library looks like when you’re logged in:

Inside the Smashing Library
A preview of the Smashing Shop dashboard.

Thank you all for your support over the years, everyone! You’ve been truly smashing!

(al) (il)

© The Smashing Editorial for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

April 23 2013


Pre-Order Your Smashing Book #4 Now: “New Perspectives On Web Design”


It’s that time of the year again: We’ve started working on a brand new Smashing Book! The book will be as ambitious as it is beautiful — a unique, extraordinary artefact, filled with valuable insight for Web designers and developers.

The Smashing Book #4 consists of two separate hardcover books, neatly packaged into one slipcase. The covers are designed by illustrator Anna Shuvalova.

The Smashing Book #4: New Perspectives on Web Design will consist of two hardcover books, “Coding” and “Design,” each with approximately eight chapters, both neatly packaged into one slipcase. New Perspectives will have practical tips on current practices and common design problems. We strongly believe in print and in the benefits of tangible books. And this time, we’d like to invite you to join us as we embark on the journey of publishing!

The Beauties And The Box

Excited as we are? Good! The release of this book is expected to be in September or October 2013. However, by pre-ordering your copy now, you will support our expansion of the Smashing Book series. And if you’re quick enough, you can grab a couple of extra (and exclusive) goodies.

Smashing Book #4 + Library (save $20!)
519 packages left!

For $149.00, you’ll receive a printed copy of Smashing Book #4 and an annual subscription to the Smashing Library, with immediate unlimited access to over 55 eBooks!

Smashing Book #4 (Print + eBook)
(No limit!)

For $69.90, you’ll receive the printed version of Smashing Book #4 (with free shipping) and the eBook versions (PDF, ePUB, Kindle).

Smashing Book #4 — The Fan Bundle
259 packages left!

For $299.00, you’ll get a printed and digital copy of Smashing Book #4, an annual subscription to the Smashing Library, a Smashing t-shirt, a Smashing laptop bag, and your very own Smashing-style caricature, created by our illustrator Ricardo Gimenes.

The Fan Bundle offers your very own caricature, designed by Ricardo Gimenes.

New Perspectives On Coding And Design

The book will feature valuable insight into large-scale projects, adaptive interfaces, customer support, user psychology and typography. We will also uncover smart front-end strategies, obscure back-end techniques and find out what it takes to improve performance for faster and more robust websites and apps.

Table Of Contents

We’ve assembled a remarkable line-up of authors for the book. All of them are well-respected designers and developers who will share their practical insights, design strategies and hands-on tools as they explore new perspectives in Web design today. (Please note that chapter titles might still change!)

New Perspectives On Coding:

AUTHOR CHAPTER Addy Osmani The Modern Front-end Tooling Workflow Harry Roberts Breaking Good Habits: CSS Architecture For Tomorrow Nicholas C. Zakas The Roadmap To Maintainable, Clean And Effective Code Tim Kadlec A Culture of Performance Christian Heilmann The Vanilla Web Diet Paul Tero How To Break The Web And Fix It (Back-end Techniques) Mat Marquis Robust, Responsible, Responsive Web Design Andy Hume Real-Life Responsive Web Design (The Guardian’s Case-Study)

New Perspectives On Design:

AUTHOR CHAPTER Web Standardistas On Creative Spirit Rachel Andrew Providing Good Technical And Customer Support Nishant Kothary The Psychology Of Human Behavior On The Web Aaron Gustafson The New, Adaptive UX Interfaces Joshua Porter Connecting The Dots: UX, Interface Design And Product Design Dan Mall Common Responsive Design Problems Marko Dugonjić The Next Step For Web Typography Chris Shiflett How To Create Products That People Will Love

Technical Details

  • Two books, approximately 300 pages each, 16.5 × 24.0 cm (6.5 × 9.5 inches).
  • Quality hardcovers, with stitched binding and ribbon page markers.
  • A unique slipcase with a special surprise — just for you.
  • Excellent for both new and experienced Web designers and developers.
  • To be delivered from both the US and Germany.
  • Free worldwide shipping, with a 100-day money-back guarantee.
  • All eBook formats are included in all three packages (PDF, EPUB, Kindle).

The Smashing Book #4 consists of two separate hardcover books, neatly packaged into one slipcase. The covers are designed by illustrator Anna Shuvalova.

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

We want to create the best printed book experience that we’ve crafted so far — a truly smashing book, with content, design and packaging that you will love. Please note that the Smashing Book #4 is also available as a standalone eBook bundle.

Smashing Book #4 + Library (save $20!)
519 packages left!

For $149.00, you’ll receive a printed copy of Smashing Book #4 and an annual subscription to the Smashing Library, with immediate unlimited access to over 55 eBooks!

Smashing Book #4 (Print + eBook)
(No limit!)

For $69.90, you’ll receive the printed version of Smashing Book #4 (with free shipping) and the eBook formats (PDF, ePUB, Kindle).

Smashing Book #4 — The Fan Bundle
259 packages left!

For $299.00, you’ll get a printed and digital copy of Smashing Book #4, an annual subscription to the Smashing Library, a Smashing t-shirt, a Smashing laptop bag, and your very own Smashing-style caricature, created by our illustrator Ricardo Gimenes.

© Smashing Editorial for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

Tags: Events Books

April 19 2013


7 Design Related Books you Should Check Out

Advertise here with BSA

Back in November we showcased here a list with 8 Books Every Designer Should Read, and to the present day, five months later we keep receiving emails from readers thanking us for the list and asking for a new round of recommendations. Based on that, I decided to gather a few more books for you to check out. Since I’m not a designer, I had to ask my friends who are designers and developers to help me out with some recommendations, and here is a new round of books we believe may interest you. Feel free to also give your recommendations in the comments.

Adaptive Web Design by Aaron Gustafson

Book description:
The web is an ever-changing medium whose scope, application, audience and platform continue to grow on a daily basis. If you’ve worked on the web for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard or even used the term “progressive enhancement.” Since the term’s inception, it has been considered a best practice for approaching web design. But what is it really? And how do we reconcile its meaning with the rapid evolution of the languages and browsers we rely on to do our jobs?

In this brief book, Aaron Gustafson chronicles the origins of progressive enhancement, its philosophy, and mechanisms, and reveals the countless practical ways that you can apply progressive enhancement principles using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. By understanding progressive enhancement and how to apply it properly, web practitioners can craft experiences that serve users (rather than browsers), giving them access to content without technological restrictions.

Design Books you Should Check Out

The Anatomy of Type by Stephen Coles

Book description:
A visual treat for anyone who loves fonts and typographic design.

The Anatomy of Type explores one hundred traditional and modern typefaces in loving detail, with a full spread devoted to each entry. The full character set from each typeface is shown, and the best letters for identification are enlarged and annotated, revealing key features, anatomical details, and the finer, often-overlooked elements of type design. Containing in-depth information on everything from the designer and foundry, the year of release, and the different weights and styles available, The Anatomy of Type is more than a reference guide to the intricacies of typeface design. It is a visual send-up of some of the world’s most beloved typefaces, beautifully displayed in vibrant color.

Design Books you Should Check Out

Semiology of Graphics: Diagrams, Networks, Maps by Jacques Bertin

Book description:
Originally published in French in 1967, Semiology of Graphics holds a significant place in the theory of information design. Founded on Jacques Bertin’s practical experience as a cartographer, Part One of this work is an unprecedented attempt to synthesize principles of graphic communication with the logic of standard rules applied to writing and topography. Part Two brings Bertin’s theory to life, presenting a close study of graphic techniques including shape, orientation, color, texture, volume, and size in an array of more than 1,000 maps and diagrams.

Design Books you Should Check Out

A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web by Mark Boulton

Book description:
A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web aims to teach you techniques for designing your website using the principles of graphic design.

Featuring five sections, each covering a core aspect of graphic design: Getting Started, Research, Typography, Colour, and Layout. Learn solid graphic design theory that you can simply apply to your designs, making the difference from a good design to a great one.

Free online version here!

Design Books you Should Check Out

Typographic Web Design: How to Think Like a Typographer in HTML and CSS by Laura Franz

Book description:
Learn how to use typography on the web.

Typography has long been an invaluable tool for communicating ideas and information. Words and characters once impressed in clay, written on papyrus, and printed with ink are now manifest in pixels of light. Today’s web typographers can help their readers find, understand, and connect with the words, ideas, and information they seek.
Thus, legibility and readability are the foundations for the typographic theories and practice covered in Typographic Web Design. You’ll learn how to choose fonts, organize information, create a system of hierarchy, work with tabular information, create a grid, apply a typographic system across multiple pages, and build a font library.

Design Books you Should Check Out

Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson

Book description:
BETTER CONTENT MEANS BETTER BUSINESS. Your content is a mess: the website redesigns didn’t help, and the new CMS just made things worse. Or, maybe your content is full of potential: you know new revenue and cost-savings opportunities exist, but you’re not sure where to start. How can you realize the value of content while planning for its long-term success?

For organizations all over the world, Content Strategy for the Web is the go-to content strategy handbook.

Read it to: Understand content strategy and its business value; Discover the processes and people behind a successful content strategy; Make smarter, achievable decisions about what content to create and how; Find out how to build a business case for content strategy.

Design Books you Should Check Out

100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design by Steven Heller

Book description:
New in the “100 Ideas that Changed…” series, this book demonstrates how ideas influenced and defined graphic design, and how those ideas have manifested themselves in objects of design. The 100 entries, arranged broadly in chronological order, range from technical (overprinting, rub-on designs, split fountain); to stylistic (swashes on caps, loud typography, and white space); to objects (dust jackets, design handbooks); and methods (paper cut-outs, pixelation).

Design Books you Should Check Out

April 04 2013


Work for Money, Design for Love — first translations

Four foreign publishers have bought licenses to translate Work for Money, Design for Love.

Chinese lead type
Photo by Cheryl Yau

The Chinese, Russian, and Korean companies had previously bought translation rights for Logo Design Love, and as I don’t have any involvement with managing the rights, that’s definitely a benefit of working with an established publisher. My books are published by Peachpit, a part of Pearson, and Pearson has a team of “rights managers” responsible for different territories around the world, with managers dealing with publishers in different countries.

Based on Jason Hand’s experience, an international rights manager for Pearson, it’s expected that the Chinese translation will publish first, likely in May or June, followed by Korean in the third quarter of 2013, and then Polish and Russian toward September/October.

If you’ve yet to read the book, the free chapter on pricing (in English) has been downloaded more than 7,000 times, and includes contributions from Alina Wheeler, Ivan Chermayeff, Nancy Wu, Ted Leonhardt, Andrea Austoni, Karishma Kasabia, and Mike Reed.

Thanks very much, by the way, to Posts and Telecommunications Press, Piter, Ji & Sons, and Helion, as well as those working behind the scenes at Pearson and Peachpit.

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March 27 2013


Popular Lies About Graphic Design

I’ve been reading Popular Lies About Graphic Design, by Craig Ward.

The book’s described as “an attempt to debunk the various misconceptions, half truths and, in some cases, outright lies which permeate the industry of design.”

It’s excellent, both for Craig’s opinions and for the visuals he uses to express them.

Graphic design is easy

“When a headline or piece of communication is presented in such a way that you can’t imagine it ever looking any other way; when you can’t pick a hole in the kerning of a single pair of letters; when you are struck between the eyes by a treatment so perfect that it seems almost familiar, and the elegant colourway and choice of typeface is pitch perfect… That is effortless design. To the casual observer, it may look like a simple task — and the tools we use are getting better and better (and making us lazier and lazier). For the rest of us, we have to work at it. We have to squint at the screen and stay up late. Walk away from it for days at a time, come back to it, start again, change things up, throw it away and try different typefaces in various combinations before finally — often begrudgingly — sending the work to print. Shaking our head as the file uploads wondering if there were something we could have done for it to be better.”

Publisher Actar told me that although the book’s currently sold out, it’ll probably be reprinted, and at the time of writing you can still buy first-run copies:


Craig Ward is a British designer and typographer based in New York. On Twitter here.

You’ll find a short interview with him over on Thrash Lab (from October 2012).

Other recommended reads.

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March 06 2013


Ninety percent of group discussions start off on the wrong foot

“Ninety percent of group discussions start with group members talking about their initial impressions. The research is clear that this is a poor idea; instead, by starting the discussion with relevant information, this data will be weighed more carefully for a better decision.”

Quoted from page 214 of 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (New Riders, 2011), written by Susan Weinschenk (good book, by the way).

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

Think of it like this: When you’re presenting design options to a client (whether in person or with a presentation document), always begin with a recap of the design brief. That way, everyone’s focused on the project objectives, and the most appropriate decision is more likely to be made.

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September 04 2012


The Flowers Personified by J.J. Grandville

J.J. Grandville was a French caricaturist known for his satirical illustrations. He often featured parahuman and anthropomorphic characters to emphasize his political commentary and satire.

Published posthumously in 1847, Les Fleurs Animées (The Flowers Personified) is both a satirical and poetic collection of botanical illustrations. Considered by many to be a masterpiece, the original book featured 54 etched and hand-colored illustrations depicting the enchanting world of floral maidens. While the Victorian societal references may not mean that much to us now, the amazing color and character detail have definitely retained their magic after all these years.

These particular illustrations are from an 1867 edition of the book and are available in the public domain.











If you're interested in browsing all 54 illustrations and perhaps beefing up your French, both Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the 1867 edition are available to view and/or download at the Internet Archive. Scans of the original etched illustrations can be viewed online at the New York Public Library website. Cheers!

August 07 2012


Bob Gill, so far.

That book I mentioned arrived a few days ago.

Bob Gill, so far

Inside the cardboard covers are more than three hundred of Gill’s most inventive images from his eighteen books, together with a few thoughts about how to get an original idea.

Bob Gill, so far

Bob Gill, so far

“If anyone who can type can do much of the work previously done by well-paid specialists, what’s left for the designer? They have to do things that a typist with a computer can’t do. This means they have to be thinkers, problem-solvers, whether they like it or not.”

Bob Gill, so far

Bob Gill, so far

Most of the spreads are sparse with one image per page. Sometimes a single-sentence description will run along the bottom. Gill’s work doesn’t need much of a description. It’s obvious. Not in a bad way, but obvious in the way that we often miss the hidden gem that’s right under our nose.

If you don’t have any of Bob Gill’s books, this is the one to buy. Even if you have two or three, it’s still a great addition to the library.

Bob Gill, so far

Buy Bob Gill, so far from publisher Laurence King, or through Amazon.


Other recommended books.

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