Archive for April, 2014

Practicing Typography

Typekit has a tutorial on how to recreate the shading effect often used in sign painting with Typekit and css, complete with a Codepen/Typekit sand box to try it out yourself. The Typekit Practice site itself is organized around the idea that there is no science to typography, and the only way to master typesetting is practice. Bookmarked for inspiration, ideas and practice.

Beautiful, Open-Source SVG Icons for the Web

If you’ve attempted to target retina displays on the web in the past few years, you’ve probably realized that vector graphics are the future. The simplicity and accessibility of icon fonts is wonderful, and with resources like the open-source Font Awesome project at your disposal, it’s easy to understand the appeal of the format.

However, Ian Feather’s write-up on why Lonely Planet went all-in on SVGs has convinced me that icon fonts are not the end-all-be-all for vector shapes on the web.

One SVG icon project I’ve been paying close attention to is Iconic, a project that started out as one guy’s open source project and exploded into a kickstarter campaign with nearly $100,000 of funding. From what I’ve seen, Iconic is an amazingly well thought-out and well-executed set of interactive icons.

And recently, the Iconic team followed through on a promise to keep Iconic open source with the release of Open Iconic, a set of icons comprising 218 glyphs that seamlessly integrate with the commercial Iconic icon set.

If you’re interested in vector icons, watch these guys and the direction this project is going.

Update: Iconic recently made all Iconic vector forms available on The Noun Project.

Using Storytelling for Better Product Design

The Google Ventures blog has a great article discussing the value of using storytelling to avoid the trap of designing individual, disconnected screens.

The best product designers practice story-centered design. They begin by crafting stories that show how customers interact with a product, and only after they’ve accomplished that do they design screens as a way to tell that story of interaction.

By telling a story about your users and the problems they’re facing, storytelling – and related techniques such as story boarding- can help your team better understand the problems needing solved, as well as draw attention to the weak parts of the story – the spots where the problem isn’t well defined and additional user research is likely needed.

Employing storytelling is a great way to make sure you’re solving the right problem for the right people, and that you have enough information to approach the solution smartly.