Posts tagged with ‘writing’

This site has been on a diet


I’ve come a long way since I started my career. For the four years I’ve been writing it, this blog has served as a great reminder to myself of my progress as a designer and developer. That said, it has also contained—for a long time—posts which are naive, misinformative, pretentious and a bit too sweary.

Whilst I’m all for preserving the integrity of links on the internet, a lot of these past articles do not represent my current position as a designer, developer and decent human being. As such, I’ve removed those articles which I’m no longer proud of, and that is why you may be seeing this explanation instead of what you expected to see.

Please take a look at the full listing and read some of my other articles. Some of them are actually quite good.

Great minds


Throughout my life, I’ve constantly found myself amazed at how little I know. My ability to learn has always been fuelled by this feeling of inadequacy, and a desire to better myself. It’s the thing that keeps me going at 4.30am, trying to meet a deadline, with absolutely no idea of how I’m going to get there.

And nothing makes me feel more inadequate, than reading articles on the web. There are so many great minds in our industry – stalwarts like Jeffrey Zeldman and Oliver Reichenstein, trendsetters like Frank Chimero and Trent Walton, or up-and-coming youngsters like Devin Halladay and Cole Townsend. The writings of all of the above, and many others, have inspired me in some way or another. I trawl through article after article, I eagerly await updates, all in the hope of some sentence, some phrase or snippet which will teach me something new.

It also pleases me that the recurring theme, amongst all these words I take in, is improvement. Self-improvement, professional improvement. Improving design practices, development methods and performance optimisations. Improving work/life balance. Improving lives with ideas for new products, or charitable contributions. Improving the human race, one well-written article at a time.

Maybe as designers we are a little arrogant to think we have the power to cause this kind of change, but the simple fact is, we do. We work with hive mind, all striving subconsciously toward the same purpose – improving everything we touch. We see problems to be solved where others see frustration.

And there will always be problems to solve; always things to improve; always more knowledge to obtain.

When asked, I used to tell people that I got my motivation from striving to be the best in my field, as though there were some imaginary ladder I could climb in order to reach the top. But now I realise that such a thing simply does not exist. As I learn and develop and improve myself, so too do my peers. As hard as I try to reach a certain level, by the time I get there, the benchmark has moved.

Socrates once said “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”, and I take solace in the fact that I’m never going to “know it all” – The world would be an incredibly boring place if I did.

A Typewriter



I love writing. More accurately, I love the idea of it.

I love the idea of finishing a completed piece, and sharing it with the world to critical acclaim and admiration. I love the idea of seeing my name at the foot of a column in a popular tome, or seeing it in bright colours on the shelves of a book store.

But in reality, I’m not very good at writing. I have ideas aplenty. I have a decent understanding of the Queen’s English. I even know a thing or two about the things I try to write about; but I lack direction, the ability to draw the reader in. The things I write, after a while, bore myself.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

As such, I’m always writing, but I’m never finished. My drafts folder is full of unfinished case studies, articles with no direction, tutorials with no insight, and twelve chapters from two separate novel attempts. Even this article, the one you are reading now, sat in my folder for three months containing just the first line, until I finally thought of a second one.

Two months ago I redesigned this website, and in doing so, reformatted and re-read a lot of the content. I was reminded of my youthful naivety, my pretentious sense of entitlement, and the forced nature of the articles I had written.

I vowed to do things differently. I promised myself I would write meanigful articles, and give useful advice, rather than force my thinking down people’s throats.

I devoted myself to making my blog as readable as possible. I toiled for hours over choosing the correct typeface. I designed graphical elements, and other inventive ways to display content. I thought it would give me focus; make me a more interesting person; make me write things that people wanted to read. I haven’t published a damn thing.

So this is me, publishing something. Hopefully the next one is more interesting.