Dead Pixel Society

Editing icons 1990s style in ResEdit

FANS OF ICON ART and The Big Web Show, listen up. Tomorrow’s Big Web Show guest is Justin Dauer (AKA @pseudoroom) of The Dead Pixel Society. Justin was a web icon artist in the mid-1990s, back when I also dabbled in the art. Indeed, it was talented folks like Justin and my friends at The Iconfactory who made me realize that specializing in icons was probably not going to be a thing for me, as they were so much better at it.

Ah, for the days when a pixel was a pixel!

To celebrate those times and that body of work, Justin has gathered together some of the best of those 1990s icon artists at The Dead Pixel Society. Its mission: to “honor the humble pixel with desktop icon creations we would’ve designed the past 18 years, via 1996 ResEdit-esque constraints.” The site, although it has not yet officially launched, is now available in preview.

I loved those days of the early web, when progressive enhancement meant making sure it worked in 16 colors as well as 216. So I’m quite excited about my upcoming conversation with Justin. You can listen in to the live taping tomorrow, Thursday October 2nd, from 10:00AM–11:100AM EDT on 5by5.tv. The final, edited show will be posted a few hours later at 5by5.tv/bigwebshow; you can also subscribe via iTunes and/or RSS. Here’s looking at you, pixel!

Jane – Kafka for Lovers

JANE IS A FAMOUS British comic begun during WWII to improve troop morale. The title character is a plucky English lady who always seems to lose her clothes at inopportune moments. This strange predeliction was enough to keep the fighting men happy and helped inspire them defeat the Gerries back in those horrible yet strangely innocent days. With constant changes of illustration style, the comic persisted into the 1960s. Of course the pill and the sexual revolution made the strange little cartoon irrelevant, and that was the end of Jane.

(I learned about Jane from the Penguin Book of Comics, which I was lucky enough to discover as a boy.)

Kafka For Lovers | jane by gesebel.

Edward Hopper, Soir Bleu

Edward Hopper 1882-1967, Soir Bleu, 1914.

Edward Hopper 1882-1967, Soir Bleu, 1914. Oil on canvas, Overall: 36 × 72in. (91.4 × 182.9cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1208. © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

Whitney Museum of American Art | whitney.org

The glory of the doodle, the grandeur of the sketch, in A List Apart No. 322.

The glory of the doodle, the grandeur of the sketch, in A List Apart No. 322

In Issue No. 322 of A List Apart for people who make websites: respect the doodle, honor the sketch—use the power of visual thinking to create and share ideas:

The Miseducation of the Doodle

by Sunni Brown

The teacher who chastised you for “mindless doodling” was wrong on both counts. Far from shutting down the mind, the act of doodling engages the brain in the kind of visual sense-making people have practiced for over 30,000 years. Doodling sharpens concentration, increases retention, and enhances access to the problem solving unconscious. It activates the portions of the visual cortex that allow us to see mental imagery and manipulate concepts, and unifies three major learning modalities—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Doodle Revolution leader Sunni Brown introduces strategic doodling and presents the ABCs of our shared visual alphabet.

Sketching: the Visual Thinking Power Tool

by Mike Rohde

You don’t have to be a great singer to write a great song—just ask Bob Dylan. Likewise, you needn’t be a Leonardo to draw your way to more and better ideas. Sketching helps you generate concepts quickly, exploring alternatives rapidly and at no cost of resources. The looseness of a sketch removes inhibitions, granting clients and colleagues permission to consider and challenge the ideas it represents. Mike Rohde outlines the practice, surveys the tools, and shares ways to become confident with this method of brainstorming, regardless of your level of artistic ability.


Illustration by Kevin Cornell for A List Apart, a publication of Happy Cog.

Pixy Stix | Jason Santa Maria

I wrote a true story of  love, obsession, heartbreak, and candy and my friend Jason Santa Maria art directed it. I’m proud of this tiny, fast-reading story, which is like condensed essence of me (and all these years later, nothing has really changed) and I love what Jason’s done with the page. Please enjoy Pixy Stix, the October 19th Candygram.