Enjoy the fruits of your labour
I’ve been really liking the idea of wrapped scarf tops recently, but sadly haven’t been able to find one long enough to wrap around enough times. I thought it was time to get a little crafty and make one myself. Crazy simple and you’ll wonder why you haven’t done this before!
Taken during a road trip through Iceland, Ludwig Favre treats us to the strange, surreal landscapes of glaciers, waterfalls and mountains this amazing country is known for. Favre, who specialises in documenting major cities and landscapes and a finalist of Hasselblad Masters, says “The practice of photography allows me to capture moments of life… I like to capture spontaneously, according to my travels.” See more of his work here and on Instagram.
Design works within constraints. The Columban monks who crafted the Book of Kells worked with four inks on vellum, a material made of calfskin. The materials were simple but clearly defined. The cenobitic designers knew the hues of the inks, the weight of the vellum, and crucially, they knew the dimensions of each page.
If It Ain’t Fixed, Don’t Break It Link
There’s nothing quite as frightening as the unknown. These words of former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should be truly terrifying (although the general consensus at the time was that they sounded like nonsense):
There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns, that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
The ratio of the browser window is just one example of a known unknown on the web. The simplest way to deal with this situation is to use flexible units for layout: percentages rather than pixels. Instead, designers chose to pretend that the browser dimensions were a known known. They created fixed‐width layouts for one specific window size.
The Adjacent Possible Link
This is why the microwave oven could not have been invented in medieval France; there are too many preceding steps required — manufacturing, energy, theory — to make that kind of leap. Facebook could not exist without the World Wide Web, which could not exist without the internet, which could not exist without computers, and so on. Each step depends upon the accumulated layers below.
- The option to use percentages instead of pixels has been with us since the days of TABLE layouts.
- Flexible images. Research carried out by Richard Rutter showed that browsers were becoming increasingly adept at resizing images. The intrinsic dimensions of an image need not be a limiting factor.
- Media queries. Thanks to the error‐handling model of CSS, browsers had been adding feature upon feature over time. One of those features was CSS media queries — the ability to define styles according to certain parameters, such as the dimensions of the browser window.
The layers were in place. A desire for change — driven by the relentless rise of mobile — was also in place. What was needed was a slogan under which these could be united. That’s what Ethan gave us with Responsive Web Design.