In 1999, I had the good fortune to work alongside Dan Licht at an NYC digital startup called SenseNet, RIP. Back then, although still in his early 20s, Dan was already an accomplished art director and digital designer. Today he’s a fantastic comics illustrator, artist, and creative director. Check his recent art on Instagram and his client work at Daniel V. Licht dot com.
Herewith, a scene from last night’s interview with legendary web & book designer (and Dean of The Cooper Union School of Art) Mike Essl, who shared his portfolio, career highlights, early web design history, and more. Fun!
If you get a chance to meet, work with, or learn from Mike, take it. He’s brilliant, hilarious, warmly human, and one of the most creative people you’ll ever have the good fortune to know.
- Mobile is today’s first screen. So design responsively, focusing on content and structure first.
- Websites and apps alike should remove distractions and let people interact as directly as possible with content.
- 90 percent of design is typography. And the other 90 percent is whitespace.
- Boost usability and pleasure with progressive disclosure: menus and functions that appear only when needed.
- One illustration or original photo beats 100 stock images.
- Design your system to serve your content, not the other way around.
- Remove each detail from your design until it breaks.
- Style is the servant of brand and content. Style without purpose is noise.
- Nobody waits. Speed is to today’s design what ornament was to yesterday’s.
- Don’t design to prove you’re clever. Design to make the user think she is.
Also published in Medium
Translated into French by Jean-Baptiste Sachsé
HE DESIGNED the lettering on The New York Public Library and the James Farley Post Office (“neither snow nor rain…”), created titles for silent movies, movie posters, and pulp magazines in the 1920s, and started working for DC Comics in 1938, where he designed the masthead for Action Comics, refined the Superman logo, and brought dozens of DC Comics texts and titles to life. A new exhibit at The Type Directors Club honors Ira Schnapp and sheds light on his decades of influential work.