The “Center for Philosophical Technologies” has one of the weirdest websites I’ve seen in awhile. Somebody really went nuts with
background-gradient. The UI is almost defiantly irrational, with odd punctuation everywhere, navigational elements strewn around the layout like somebody upended a box of tracing paper, and even their ‘logo’ is pulled apart and scattered across the top of the homepage (literally) at random.
And yet… it’s really quite usable nonetheless. At first glance it seems about as inscrutable as a Jackson Pollock painting, but after a few seconds of playing with stuff you can see there's a logic to it. It speaks its own alien language, but the grammar is consistent and easy to learn.
Looking at this site makes me feel kind of wistful, like when you hear an old song for the first time in 15 years. This brings back a rush of good memories of the odd and experimental websites that seemed more common in the early aughts, back when the rules for UX hadn’t really been written yet and, I dunno, people were maybe just more willing to try stuff.
It’s cool to see that this kind of experimentation — this kind of wonderful fun weirdness for the sake of being weird — seems to be coming back as new CSS features are more widely supported and (maybe more importantly) as I guess we all are getting bored with following formulas.
Hat tip to Typewolf, where I found the link.
If I’m ever in Minneapolis, visiting Birchbark will be at the top of my list. It’s a local bookstore founded by one of my favorite authors, the legendary Louise Erdrich, and it sounds wonderful. It sells all kinds of books but specializes in Native American authors and culture, including a wide selection of language instructional books, including Ojibwe, Dakota, Lakota, and Inuktitut.
I can imagine that when you walk in the place smells like wood and ink and new paper and maybe coffee. Just as a perfect bookstore should.
I’ve grown up with Erdrich’s work; The Master Butcher’s Singing Club is a book that means a lot to me which I’ve returned to a few times over the years. It’s hard to sum up how her work has affected me but, at the very least, her stories have taught me a lot about what it means to be American and how that notion is both more complex and more simple than it may seem. I dunno. Just read her stuff, you’ll see. Or, better yet, visit her store.
The foundry Fontsmith has a really nice blog post by Krista Radoeva, describing the different styles of typefaces and their history.
I watched an animated movie with my 4-year-old daughter tonight and, as it started, I noticed the MPAA rating as it flashed by: RATED ‘G’ FOR MILD PERIL. For some reason the phrase MILD PERIL got stuck in a kind of processing loop in my head. Maybe because I’ve always thought of peril as a binary state: either I’m in peril or I’m, you know, okay. I never really thought of it as something that needed to be quantified.
So what does it mean to find oneself in 'mild' peril? As I considered this question, I realized that I would be helpless to stop myself from spending the rest of this movie devising Peril Scales. Like this:
You get the idea.
By the end of our movie, the main characters had been close enough to an exploding car to lose eyebrows and/or hearing, nearly run over by a delivery truck and then a train, and were nearly killed in a burning building. If the MPAA calls that 'mild' peril, then I'd say best not to find yourself in a bar fight with any of their voting members.
But whatever. My daughter loved the movie, and now we have something to watch that isn't Frozen.
Really nice to see more and more strong fonts being released under open-source licenses. This one is particularly lovely - I have a soft spot for these chunky humanist typefaces and I love the little details in this one, like the angle-cut terminals and the treatment of the lowercase "t".
I hope the community keeps developing it; I'd especially love to see where they might go with additional weights and styles.
Found via Typewolf's excellent newsletter.