Presentable Episode 7

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Jeff Veen’s new podcast, Presentable. In the latest episode (#7) with Stanley Wood the two discuss how style guides, process, and org structure fit together. One bit in particular that stood out to me was where (at the 32 minute mark) Jeff asked about the Spotify team structure and how Guilds come into play. It seems to break down like this:

  • Squads are small interdisciplinary teams working on a specific feature
  • Tribes are organized around a subject like performance or perhaps a business goal
  • Chapters & Guilds cut across the preceding two groups to enhance communication and standardization around things like design, front-end, or even a platform like iOS

While this may not be totally unique to Spotify, hearing phrases like “cut across” paint a clear picture in my mind of how groups like these need to be able to move laterally across the entire organization as well as how these groups can coexist within the context of business goals and road maps. Great stuff—the entire episode is worth a listen.

Sharp Sans

I’m adding Sharp Sans to my list of fonts I hope to find an opportunity to work with soon.


A description from Village Type & Design:

Sharp Sans injects some much needed humanism into the Futura model. With its sheered terminals and true italics, Sharp Sans combines the appealing typographic compensation of the grotesque, with the plump circular bowls of the geometric. The result is a typeface suited for both text and display use that breaths life into the genre of the geometric sans.

The new Sharp Type Foundry site’s hover & pan weight switcher is lots of fun

Stranger Things

Let’s just take a minute to bask in how cool everything associated with Stranger Things is. The synth tones of the opening credits and the appropriately evocative use of ITC Benguiat and ITC Avant Garde Gothic had me hooked. I love it like I love the Halt and Catch Fire intro.


The texture on the lighting and the way those G’s slide into the N’s… There’s so much to love.

And then I saw the Struzan-esque poster art done by Kyle Lambert. It’s right up my alley (having recently commissioned a similar work from Paul Shipper for The Many Faces Of), and it drives home the Stephen Spielberg & Stephen King inspiration around the show itself.


I don’t know the television & film business, but I can’t imagine a world where this show exists without the internet, and thus, the Netflix create-your-own-content approach. More of this, please!

Update 7/20/16

Fonts In Use just published an excellent writeup with more detail about the show. Miguel Sanz also tracked down the creators of the main titles, Imaginary Forces.


Letterboxd is easily one of my favorite sites. I started logging movies in 2013, and began using it to find movies to watch shortly after. The community is great, and its reviews rarely (or never) reach Amazon Watch Instant levels of unhelpfulness. There are a few views I find incredibly useful on the site:

View the highest rated movies on Letterboxd. Sort by availibity (select your streaming service of choice), or filter to hide the ones you’ve already seen. Thanks (again) to the community, this list is top-notch.

There are piles of great lists to dig through. Here are some of my favorites:

(See also: 2014 & 2015) If you regularly log/add films (in addition to marking them as liked or watched), you are rewarded with a year in review page. In part, the pages inspired me to be more purposeful about what I watch. Instead of just using trailers and recommendation engines to find movies, I think more about influences, themes, and directors.

These days I follow directors more than actors or franchises—recently enjoying Hitchcock and Mann streaks. I’ll watch most/all of a director’s films over the course of weeks/months and see where the thread leads. With Hitchcock, it led me to wonder what else Joseph Cotton starred in, which led to discovering Touch of Evil and The Third Man.

I’ve been in a boat similar to Khoi for a while—wanting to spend less of my screen time on television and more on movies. Letterboxd has added structure and purpose to that endeavor.

Ok. Sign up, get the app, and go pro!

Native CSS Variables

I’ve been using Sass variables for quite a while, so I’m interested to see how native CSS variables (AKA CSS custom properties) compare to preprocessor variables.

Philip Walton does a great job of explaining the difference between native and preprocessor variables. He also outlines some potential uses in his post. I like that he calls out “CSS custom properties” as being the more accurate (and in my opinion, more intuitive) term …

CSS preprocessors are fantastic tools, but their variables are static and lexically scoped. Native CSS variables, on the other hand, are an entirely different kind of variable: they’re dynamic, and they’re scoped to the DOM. In fact, I think it’s confusing to call them variables at all. They’re actually CSS properties, which gives them an entirely different set of capabilities and allows them to solve an entirely different set of problems.

Pretty cool stuff—don’t miss the helpful CodePen demos he made to accompany the post. (1 & 2)

Paravel was thrilled to collaborate with Etsy and to create—a fun little photo-generating web app that Etsy shop owners can use in their holiday promotions.

Etsy Paravel Vector Media Group Shareyourshop

Etsy provided overall guidance as well as some stellar graphics for the layout and photo template itself. Having such great assets and brand guidelines in place made working with Etsy a joy. Vector Media Group built the tool itself, extending our front-end code. We’ve worked with them numerous times in the past, and it’s always a pleasure.

Stephen Hay On Prototypes

The cyclical “should designers code” debate wears me out, but Stephen Hay’s post is a great read in and of itself. I like that he gravitates towards the value of prototyping:

As designers for the web,[…] you are researching, structuring, adapting, testing, laying out, wireframing, setting type for, composing, and [fill in the blank]ing something that people will read, interact with, love, hate, tell others about, and perhaps take with them everywhere they go. And the medium is right in front of you, every day, so you as a designer for this medium have the opportunity to use it to prototype what you’re designing.

Prototyping is about asking reality for feedback.

Dan Matutina for Formula E

Dan Matutina of Plus 63 is easily one of my favorite illustrators. He’s got such a unique style, and I’m always thrilled to see what he’s up to. As an avid F1 fan who is excited to watch Formula E evolve, seeing Dan’s work on these Qualcomm Formula E posters made my day. If anyone has a spare copy of one of these, let me know. I’d love to frame one for my office.