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A Website To Call My Own

Originally published December 02, 2013

Most of this site was built at my favorite coffee shop of late, Sump.
Most of this site was built at my favorite coffee shop of late, Sump.

I make a living designing and developing, among many many other things, websites. So, for the past few years, I’ve had the embarrassing task of explaining something to all my clients and — worse, if you can believe it — my friends: I didn’t have a website of my own. The cobbler’s children had no shoes; the barber’s hair was long and shaggy. Such shame.

Tired of making excuses, I finally did something about it! I grabbed hold of my bootstraps, and pulled like hell. Here I am. Internet, hear me roar.

By way of introduction, here’s what makes this website tick:

Kirby

The text you’re seeing now is stored on my server in plain-old text files, and served up by a content management system called Kirby. I could rave on and on about Kirby, but I’ll keep this short: it’s written in PHP, and is just my cup of tea. I recommend it on the regular.

Markdown

Markdown allows writers to infuse bits of design — stuff like headers, links, images, lists — into their workflow, without needing toolbars and fancy word processors and never-quite-perfectly-functional online WYSIWYG editors. It makes writing for the web a breeze. Kirby automatically turns Markdown into HTML, so it’s the perfect combo of control and efficiency.

LESS

There’s volumes and volumes of arguments about css preprocessors LESS and SASS. When I started working on this site, I used LESS exclusively; now I use both pretty evenly. CSS preprocessors are absolutely indispensable, so if you’re not familiar, I suggest you jump on board.

Photoshop

I designed this sucker right in the browser. It probably shows: very few superfluous design elements, very content-centric. While skipping the static design phase tends to push my designs towards a minimal/typographic homogeny, the workflow minimizes project-crushing scrutiny. Topics for another day, for certain.

Maison Neue

Lastly, I feel the need to express my love for the typeface this site is set in. It’s called Maison Neue, and it’s from a foundry called Milieu Grotesque. I absolutely love the trend web type is following at the moment — that is, ‘hybrid’ sans-serifs a la Aperçu — but needed to find a face that wasn’t quite as over-used as the aforementioned. Maison Neue is a superfamily, and contains another recent favorite of mine: monospaced variants.


In conclusion, I’ve striven to keep the number of tools involved to a minimum, the amount of design to it’s essential least, and the amount of content to what could be easily digested in less than 5 minutes. I’ll be improving it constantly, and doing lots behind the scenes. For now, however, I’m proud to say, after years of building them for other people, I finally have a website to call my own.