The pound has hit a 14-year high against the U.S. dollar, amist rumours of the Bank of England raising interest rates again in January as house prices continue to rise.
Work has been keeping me quite busy lately, and other than having the side effect of giving me less time to dedicate to writing, it also means I’m forgetting many ideas that pop into my head during the course of the day.
I could write down notes on my mobile phone, but seeing as my M600i is acting up at the moment, writing a quick note using a number key pad on a W800i isn’t ideal. And you can forget about some online note taking application like Stikkit as I don’t want to be tied down to a computer when I want to take notes. I needed something I could use on the spur of the moment, so something I could carry with me everywhere I went.
Since I got my Moleskine yesterday, it’s been in my bag since and I’ve made many notes with it already. As I travel four hours a day, I do find that I get ideas while sitting on the bus thinking to myself. I’ve already written down many ideas for a couple new writing projects, which will be revealed soon, and hopefully I can improve the writing quality and originality on Ejecutive too.
As you probably know I love well designed products, and the Moleskine is as well designed as any. The rounded corners makes it slip into pockets with ease, the elastic holds closed the notebook and any loose bits inside, which you can put in the pocket at the back anyway, and the quality and appearance of the paper just makes you want to write on it. The size is just perfect to fit into a pocket in my bag (coincidence?) or in my pocket, which means it’ll probably go wherever I go from now on.
So forget about submitting your site to Digg or writing as many top ten lists as you can; get yourself a Moleskine and start writing down your ideas and watch the quality of your writing improve.
The microphone on my Nintendo DS Lite broke a couple days ago, so I took it back to the Maidstone branch of GAME. The tills were quite busy, so instead I went to a scrawny little chav idling around. His ID tag had the title of “Sales Assistant”, which made me think he would know what he was talking about. This is an exact transcript of the conversation I had with him:
At that point, I made my excuses and joined the queue for the tills, where a helpful staffer took my DS, went into the back of the shop for five minutes, and then returned with a brand spanking new DS, no fuss.
Perhaps they should train their staff more, or just not hire complete idiot chavs as sales assistants.
Here it is, the new design for Ejecutive, which I’ve dubbed Opacity Strikes Back (or Opacity2).
Being a Minimalist, I was never completely happy with the original Opacity. The initial design was too complicated, and so when I tried to implement it, the complexity got out of hand, to the stage where the CSS alone was split into seven different files and totalled over 20KB.
I didn’t put enough thought into the whole design procedure, and in the end design aesthetics won over usability. Even though the design was eventually scaled back and improved, a dark blue background made text hard to read for all but the lucky few with high contrast monitors. I also choose to justify the text, without doing much research into why this would make the text harder to read.
The problem lies in the current trend of having fancy graphics, reflections and bold colours, when the real design issue is typography. Information Architects explains the problem well:
Information design is not about the use of good typefaces, it is about the use of good typography. Which is a huge difference. Anyone can use typefaces, some can choose good typefaces, but only few master typography.
I’m not saying I’ve mastered typography, but I can tell the difference between good typography, and bad typography. Opacity had bad typography, and I was a little ashamed to have designed and used it on my website.
Opacity2 is the expression of my Minimalistic ideals. Every superfluous feature has been striped out, and replaced by white space. In fact, you’ll notice that there is a lot of white space between almost everything. I’ve optimised and tweaked the line spacing, letter spacing and word spacing to create what I believe is currently the most usable typography I can muster out of Georgia. You may also notice there are lots of white space between posts and between paragraphs, and all the white space is relative to each other, so the space between posts is three times that of the space between paragraphs, and so on.
It’s about time us so-called “designers” starting educating ourselves about the real design, and face the fact that over 95% of the content you create will be text, so you number one priority when designing should be how to treat the text.
Going off on a tangent here, but this is also the first design and theme I’ve made using completely open source tools, not relying on Macromedia Dreamweaver or TextMate as I usually do1 but instead using the excellent Notepad2 by flo. Thumbs up for using the right tool for the job.