VISUALGUI

Unintended Consequence

In his engaging TED talk, Michael Bierut shares his passionate involvement with designing libraries that make kids want to read. He concludes:

The unintended consequence here, which I would like to take credit for and like to think I can think through the experience to that extent, but I can’t. I was just focused on a foot ahead of me, as far as I could reach with my own hands. Instead, way off in the distance was a librarian who was going to find the chain of consequences that we had set in motion, a source of inspiration so that she in this case could do her work really well. 40,000 kids a year are affected by these libraries. They’ve been happening for more than 10 years now, so those librarians have kind of turned on a generation of children to books and so it’s been a thrill to find out that sometimes unintended consequences are the best consequences.

AMP Breaks The Open Web

A few weeks ago, I tried to AMPed up this blog. The quick and easy solution is to run Automattic’s AMP plugin. After half an hour of playing with the plugin, I deactivated it and decided not to use it because it published a separate version for AMP. Furthermore, the default design looked too generic and uninspired.

My next step was to follow the tutorial on the AMP Project website to create the basic markup. The first thing I had to do was adding an external JavaScript from Google and including some default styles. I am using Typekit to display fonts, but the document doesn’t give any example on how to do so. I tried googling, but found nothing. For images, I have to use AMP’s proprietary amp-img. For CSS, I have to use AMP’s proprietary <style amp-custom>. All CSS has to be inlined since and <link rel=”stylesheet”> is disallowed. At this point, I simply gave up. The markup is now under Google standards instead of the web standards the web community has fought so hard to maintain. For performance, giving up standard markup is simply not worth it since I have done my best too keep this site as fast as possible. In addition, I don’t want to lose control of my design.

Fortunately, I am glad that I am not alone. John Gruber and others have stepped up to call for killing Google AMP. I am with them.

Learn CSS Grid

Learn CSS Grid by Jonathan Suh is easy to understand and showcasing the power to create web layouts. Bookmarked it for future learning and referencing.

Viet Type Book

Graphic design student Eve Trần used the content from Vietnamese Typography to design a book for her school project. Check out her beautiful mockups.

ProWebType Updates

My online book, Professional Web Typography, gets some minor updates, noticeably the new typefaces. I replaced Adobe Caslon, Myriad, and Source Code Pro with Cardea, Vista Sans, and Fira Mono. Check the colophon.

I separated the chapters that were added the book was completed. I am planning on writing additional chapters when time permits. I also made some updates throughout the book to keep things fresh.

Thanks to readers who have read and supported the book. Your contribution is appreciated.

Computers in Libraries 2017

For this year’s conference, I wanted to hit as many different tracks as I could. The conference has five different tracks; therefore, choosing the one I wanted is a bit of a challenge. I also wanted to avoid any topic that is related to web technologies. I am so tired of hearing about Drupal, WordPress, Bootstrap, and so on.

It turned out that I had a better time listening to other topics. For instance, a presentation on how school libraries are using Minecraft as a learning tool for kids was fascinating. It is reassuring that the game my kids, Đạo in particular, are obsessed with is not a bad thing. In fact, I should encourage them to play and learn.

In addition, the conference gives me a guilty-free pleasure to be away from the office. I still answer work emails on occasions, but it is nice to just relax for a few days listening to people shared what they are doing. Today is my last day so I need to take advantage of it.

Jim Van Meer’s Under The Gun

Last Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of attending Jim Van Meer’s exhibition for his MFA in graphic design. In his final project and thesis, he uses graphic design to send a powerful message on gun violence, a serious issue that we are still facing today in America. He writes:

My final project and thesis are an attempt to allow people to see the cold-hard facts of gun violence in America and let them ponder the effects that guns have on this country. Through the use of interpretive graphics, storytelling, and experiential methods, it is my intent to further the dialogue about guns and gun violence through a thoughtful perspective.

Based on the success of the exhibition and the book he has written, Jim will have my full support if he ever decided to run for office. We need more people like Jim to tackle this issue. If you want to read his thesis, download the PDF copy.

CSS Grid References

Chen Hui Jing’s “A Complete Guide to CSS Grid” for Codrops and Rachel Andrew’s “CSS Grid Layout” are on my to-read list.

Better Web Type

Better Web Typography for a Better Web is an email course teaches web designers and developers typesetting for the web. The author is Matej Latin who is the creator of Gutenberg—the Meaningful Web Typography Starter Kit and Quotes on Type.

100 Illustrations by Chris Silverman

I have been enjoying Chris Silverman’s One Hundred Things. Chris is a former colleague at Vassar, a dear friend, and a kick-ass illustrator. Also check out his beautiful editorial design for Vassar Stories.