Tiny Books

Short, sharp books for creative entrepreneurs that explore the design of business and the business of design.

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From the Journal

  • Utmost Precision

    FF Mark [Detail]

    Type is my weakness… I’ve lost track of the number of typefaces I’ve bought over the years (always at the service of a project that needs something, “Just that bit different!”). You’d think there would come a point when you’d acquired enough typefaces and could stop, but… happily that point never comes.

    FF Mark is a new geometric sans courtesy of FontFont. “Strong and simple [and] designed with the utmost precision,” it’s available in a multitude of weights, from an elegant hairline to a hefty ultra. If type is your weakness too, take a look it’s oozing personality.

    I’m resisting – for now – the urge to add it to my library….

  • The Notebook… Reinvented

    The Notebook… Reinvented [Detail]

    If you’re a notebook user, you’re likely to appreciate Tim Tu’s SketchyNotebooks, available now on Kickstarter (and just under $2,000 away from the project’s $30,000 goal).

    Tu’s notebooks feature a series of flexible, pre-printed templates designed to sit behind the page you’re currently working on, enabling you to pick a pattern – lines, squares… – that fits your needs.

    They’re a lovely – and simple – idea and, as they’re fountain pen friendly (which many notebooks aren’t), are ideal for the designer, journalist, artist friends in your life.

    If you’re a notebook aficionado you’ll love them.

  • Citysets

    Citysets [Detail]

    If you missed it over on Twitter, Citysets are a lovely idea, “A growing collection of free city-based icon sets.”

    There are currently four cities – London, New York, Paris and Sydney – with more cities (and icons) in the pipeline. If you’re looking for some icons to add a little visual flavour to your project, take a look. They’re all free to use with no restrictions.

    Nice work, Mr Taylor!

  • Sun

    Sun [Detail]

    Say, “Hello!” to Sun, a beautifully designed, minimalist weather app available on the App Store for just $1.99 (which I discovered via The Modern Desk).

    If web design’s your focus, it has an elegant, horizontally scrolling web site too, which tells the story of the product very nicely indeed. Lovely.

  • The Modern Desk

    The Modern Desk [Detail]

    If you’re a modern office worker, I think you’ll enjoy The Modern Desk, a brief, weekly newsletter by Offscreen magazine publisher Kai Brach.

    Brach has a great eye and the products he features – designed to help you create a more productive and enjoyable work environment – are always spot on (and tempting, into the bargain!).

    Sign up, it’s free.

  • Two Million Students

    Skillshare [Detail]

    Congratulations to the team at Skillshare for hitting two major milestones: 10,000 classes and, more impressively, two million students. Great work.

    Skillshare, and other platforms like it, offer a tantalising glimpse of the future of education. A future where learning is affordable and everything you could possibly want to learn is just a click or a swipe away.

    It’s an exciting time to be working in education and developing connected models of learning. As an educator, I’m always keeping an eye on Skillshare (and, as a subscriber, I’m constantly learning) and I’m delighted that the team has attracted two million students.

    Watch this space. Education is changing, and platforms like Skillshare are just the tip of a very large iceberg. Universities need to focus on platforms like this. The future of learning is connected and it’s affordable. Of course there’s value in real world experiences (as an educator, you’d expect me to say that), but there is huge value in bringing together learners in virtual environments too.

    When we join the dots of learning, we create wonderful opportunities. Learning should be affordable to all, and Skillshare helps realise that goal.

    If you’re interested in learning - isn’t everyone? - I’d recommend taking a look at what Skillshare has to offer. Here’s to the next two million Skillshare students!

  • Eight Faces; Three Days

    8 Faces – Collected [Detail]

    There are just three days left to back 8 Faces: Collected on Kickstarter. 72 hours to snap up a copy of what will, I have no doubt, be a beautifully designed book.

    I was delighted to see Elliot and Samantha Stocks, the team behind 8 Faces (and now Lagom), hit their goal of £40,000 and push past it comfortably. They’re fast approaching £50,000 and – if they hit that goal – they’ll have the chance to update the interviews that appeared in the magazine first time around. (Let’s make that happen!)

    I wrote for all but one issue of the magazine when it was first published and had the pleasure of interviewing, amongst others, Hamish Muir of Octavo, Ed Fella, and Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell of FUEL. (For the last issue I interviewed Steven Heller, which – while thoroughly enjoyable – was a little intimidating… he’s a giant of typography.)

    8 Faces is lovingly produced and if you’re a typography aficionado (everybody should be!) 8 Faces: Collected will be a huge hardback book you’ll want to own.

  • Made by Google

    Made by Google [Detail]

    If you missed it last week, Google is making things; real, hold in your hand things. (I know, the company has forayed in this direction before, but this feels decidedly different, it feels like a significant shift in the company’s strategic trajectory.)

    The company’s new Made by Google programme is decidedly interesting and – if I’m thinking this through correctly – marks a major shift for Google, from a world of bits to a world of atoms (that act as a front end to bits).

    You might be wondering why I’m sharing this at Tiny Books, a home for creative entrepreneurs at the ‘David’ end of the ‘David and Goliath’ spectrum. It’s because I think this move offers opportunities for those focused on content and content distribution.

    The hardware Google’s just unveiled – Pixel, Daydream and Home… – comes together to form an integrated, end-to-end delivery system for content. If your focus is on content – whatever its form – Made by Google is definitely something you should acquaint yourself with.

    Having recently developed a Micro-Publications masterclass that focuses on future content delivery platforms, I’m watching Google’s developments in this area with interest. It’s certainly an exciting time to be working with content.

    Wallpaper* have put together an overview – Google’s life-enhancing gadget suite brings a new edge to your world… – that captures the essence of the opportunity nicely.

  • GutenTag

    GutenTag – The Original; The International [Detail]

    The simplest ideas are often the best and GutenTag is so simple you’ll wonder it never occurred to you. As Mark Newton, its designer, puts it:

    No more complex agendas, journals, apps… GutenTag is an elegant offline solution for planning your day. Stamp it, draw it, do it. Perfect for those of us who are visual learners, creatives, and the rest of the world that is overwhelmed.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m often overwhelmed. I always carry multiple scratch notebooks (one per current project) and one of these is focused on my daily to-do list. GutenTag fits this system perfectly. By compartmentalising the day using GutenTag I can visually plan my day and, as Newton states, “Stamp out procrastination!”

    487% funded on Kickstarter in 30 Days, I’m clearly not alone in appreciating GutenTag’s elegant approach. If you’re forever frustrated by time, it might just be what you’ve been looking for.

    “See the Day. Seize the Day.” Pick one up….

  • DIBI London

    DIBI London [Detail]

    As an educator working to shape the future of the web, I believe it’s important to celebrate the best of digital in the widest sense by uniting those who design and build our future web experiences. Bringing together designers and builders we can share a holistic view of our wonderfully rich industry, shaping better outcomes.

    DIBI: Design It; Build It – a conference I’ve enjoyed attending immensely – ties together the many threads of the web neatly and should be on every web aficionado’s calendar.

    I was delighted to be invited to chair DIBI London, 2016 and I’m very much looking forward to being a part of the event, which has a truly wonderful lineup of speakers, who collectively span the widest of possibilities. You’d be remiss to miss it.

    I’m looking forward to introducing eight exciting speakers, including: Tobias van Schneider, former Lead Product Designer and Art Director at Spotify; Stefanie Posavec, a thought-provoking designer working in the medium of data; and Jane Austin, Design Director at MOO.

    It’s a measure of how good DIBI London, 2016 is that I feel guilty singling out just three of the day’s eight speakers, so – in the interests of completeness, so you know what you don’t want to miss – here’s the entire talented roster….

    Josh Payton, VP of User Experience at Huge, Europe (I’ve seen Payton speak and he’s incredibly inspiring); Dan Cork, a developer with almost a decade’s experience, “tinkering with the web”; Frances Berriman, formerly of GOV.UK (an organisation I love); Marco Cedaro, a veteran of the web since the first browser wars; and Peter Parkes, Strategy Director at Made by Many.

    Every one a gem.

    In short, eight speakers that – collectively – gather together decades of experience that you owe it to yourself to learn from. If you’re serious about being the best you can be, take a day off and soak up their knowledge, you won’t regret it.

    Tickets are very reasonably priced and there are just a handful left. I’d strongly encourage you to snap one up before they go.

    I very much hope to see you there and, if you’re attending please find me and say, “Hello!” If you do, I’ll have a little something for you – a free something special – just a little something I’ve been working on.

  • Ankedote

    Anekdote [Detail]

    If you haven’t chanced upon Anekdote, I’d urge you to take a moment, visit and rectify that now. It’s a lovely site with a simple premise:

    Anekdote spotlights one brand each month.

    The brands Anekdote shines a light on are informed by their vision and values, form and function, and design and craftsmanship. If you’re interested in beautifully designed, well made products you’ll identify with their worldview (and their idea – one brand a month – is lovely.)

  • Micro-Publications Masterclass

    Micro-Publications Masterclass [Detail]

    If you’re in Porto next week, I’ll be delivering a masterclass exploring Micro-Publications at the soft launch of The New Digital School on Thursday, 13 October. The masterclass explores how communication is changing in an age of connected products.

    Over the course of an afternoon we’ll develop ideas for micro-publications, dreaming up ideas for content and considering how these might be delivered in a post-browser landscape. In a nutshell, we’ll imagine the future.

    You’ll appreciate this masterclass if you’re interested in how communication design is changing and how the opportunities to connect with others is altering in an age of connected devices.

    I’ve been road-testing the the masterclass content with my Interaction Design students in Belfast for the last week and they’re conjuring up some truly magical ideas. (More on this, soon.)

    Tickets are limited and over half of them have already been snapped up. If you’d enjoy an afternoon of kickstarting your creativity, pick up a ticket before they disappear.

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