Grateful X 2

Illustration by Justin Dauer. Pixel portrait of JZ in blue beanie.

NONE of us knows what today will bring. And for many of us, these are fearful times. So I wanted to take a breath, pause a moment, and share two small gifts I received this morning at the start of my workday:

You know, for kids

First, Rob Ford wrote to my daughter and me to tell us that Macaw Books will be at Frankfurt Book Fair next week to promote The Little Trailblazers, a children’s book of illustrated stories to which we contributed.

It’s been more than two years since a younger Ava and I co-wrote a rhyming story for this collection of tales written by “Internet pioneers” and illuminated by brilliant illustrators from around the world—50 contributors from over 25 countries, 50/50 female/male ratio.

Book cover: The Little Trailblazers, designed by MENDO books.

When the book’s original publisher withdrew their support due to its lack of mass commercial potential, Rob could easily have given up. Instead, for over two years, he fought to find the right publisher and charity organization to align with the project.

Today word came that The Little Trailblazers will be in aid of Unicef’s work for children. I can’t think of a better fit. Rob’s vision and perseverance have been something to behold, and I am grateful to have had the chance to collaborate with my kid on what will be her first published story.

Art & copy

Next, Dougal MacPherson presented a trio of narratively related illustrations for an important upcoming A List Apart series directed by Aaron Gustafson. I’m thrilled that Aaron conceived the series, found the authors, chose ALA to publish it, and is shepherding the entire project. I can’t wait for you to read it.

And, although I should be used to it by now, I’m still gratefully astonished by Dougal’s ability to take complex, technical topics, find their common truth, and create a unifying visual narrative tying them together for A List Apart’s readers. Oh, and he draws great, too.

Breathe

There is much that can go wrong in our lives, most of it beyond our control. Sometimes how the afternoon sunlight looks as it warms the tops of trees is what you get that day to remind you that life is a gift. Or, hey, don’t knock a good sandwich.

But sometimes—especially if your line of work can at least partly be described as “creative”—sometimes you are reminded how just how incredibly lucky you are to know and work with passionate, talented people. And that is fuel, not only for continued effort, but for gratitude.

 

Also published on Medium.
Illustration: Justin Dauer

 

 

For The Children!

DREW McCLELLAN’S 24 WAYS IS THE ADVENT calendar for web geeks, publishing a daily dose of web goodness throughout December. This year’s 24 ways is being turned into a beautiful printed annual. All proceeds benefit UNICEF children’s charities. The sale ends December 31, 2010. Please buy this collector’s item and spread holiday cheer to those who need it most:

The 24 Ways Annual 2010 | Five Simple Steps.

Blue Beanie Day Haiku Contest, Revisited

IN NOVEMBER, as part of the 4th Annual Blue Beanie Day to support web standards, we announced a web standards haiku contest, with prizes donated by Peachpit/New Riders (“Voices That Matter”) and A Book Apart. Entries were posted on Twitter with the hashtag #bbd4, with judging to follow in December. It should have been easy.

Unfortunately, searches on hashtags only go back a few days. Which means, when Designing With Web Standards 3rd Edition co-author Ethan Marcotte and I sat down to judge your entries, said entries were nowhere to be found.

Not even mighty Google was able to uncover more than a few of them.

We wrote to our friends at Twitter to ask for help, but they were too busy dating supermodels on a pile of money to get back to us. With existing entries sucked into the void formerly known as Twitter search results, and with all those great books to give away and all those eager participants to thank, we have only one choice:

Blue Beanie Day Haiku Contest Phase II—This Time It’s Personal

Instructions follow:

Attention, web design geeks, contest fans, standards freaks, HTML5ophiles, CSSistas, grammarians, bookworms, UXers, designers, developers, and budding Haikuists. Can you do this?

Do not tell me I
Am source of your browser woes.
Template validates.

Write a web standards haiku (like that one), and post it on Twitter right here between today and Friday, December 24th. Entries must be “postmarked” no later than 11:59 PM Eastern. Judging will be held the week after Christmas, with winners announced before the New Year.

FAQ

Can I re-post the haiku(s) I submitted in November?

Yes, please!

Can I create one or more new haikus?

Yes, of course.

How many entries may I post?

As many as you like. However, you can only win once. (In other words, if you post the best ten haikus, you won’t win ten prizes, you’ll win one.)

I can’t post my entry here. (I’m behind a firewall.)

Unfortunately, posting behind firewalls is disabled on this site. (By doing this, I remove 99% of comment spam.) Try posting from your phone, or from a location other than your current one.

Thanks and Praise

Thanks to our sponsors, Peachpit/New Riders (“Voices That Matter”) and A Book Apart, and to Doug Vos, co-founder of Blue Beanie Day.

Let the haikus commence!


Photo: Luke Dorny

Comments are now closed. Watch this space—winners will be posted soon.

Free CSA images

Free images from the incredible CSA library.

It won’t help your next web design project, but if you’re working in print, now you can use incredible images from the CSA library free when you print on French paper.

“This vast selection of rights managed black & white images are perfect for solid-color offset, letterpress, or silkscreen printing. Free CSA High Resolution Tiff Images capture the authenticity and detail of hand-drawn illustration and the beautifully tactile look of ink printed on paper, allowing you to keep the printing simple and let French paper provide the color.”

Free Images on French Paper


Font Geek? There’s an app for that

The Font Game for iPhone

If the geek on your list loves playing The Rather Difficult Font Game by Kari Pätilä, and if that geek owns an iPhone or iPod Touch, she will adore The Font Game app, created by Kari Pätilä (game designer, web stuff), John Boardley (ilovetypography founder), and Justin Stahl (iPhone development). With 657 font samples, three levels of difficulty, and the ability to post your results to Twitter, it’s the perfect way to test or show off your type chops, or just learn.


Short URL: zeldman.com/?p=3309

Wig out

Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs

Seen on Graham Norton, Anderson Cooper 360, Harper’s Bazaar Japan, Business Week, CosmoGirl, and more, Julie Jackson’s Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs makes the perfect holiday gift. Alas, it is temporarily out of stock. But for just 99 cents, you can download the Kittywigs iPhone app. It lets you put straight or curly wigs of every color and variety on your favorite cats, dogs, or other friends. Other fine Julie Jackson products include Subversive Cross Stitch.