The holidays are nearly here, and the paperbacks of Andy Clarke’s masterpiece Hardboiled Web Design should be popping up on doorsteps any day now. If you aren’t familiar with the author or the book, I’ll just assume you aren’t a web designer, or you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight months.
Look no further for the perfect gift for the web designer in your family, but be warned, this book is no stocking stuffer. At 400 pages it definitely belongs under the tree, but it’s an easily digestible and entertaining read from start to finish.
Hardboiled Web Design is an empowering, inspiring and priceless resource for web designers and developers alike. But I’m not here to write a review, as others have already done a fantastic job of that. Instead, I’m very proud to say that I’ve got my own fingerprints on parts of the book, too, and I’d like to share some of my contributions.
Example File Illustrations
Over the summer while Andy was Looking for Yogi during his road trip in the Western United States, I experimented with the Hanna-Barbera art style in my illustration work. Andy asked me to make four illustrations to be used in his example files, taking a lighter direction on the hardboiled detective theme. They were sketched on paper, inked digitally in Illustrator and coloured with scanned watercolour painting textures in Photoshop.
For the Hardboiled web site, we worked with Anthony Calzadilla who animated one of my illustrations using CSS3. Textures were dropped and complex parts of the illustration were edited to lower filesize. The Hardboiled site was featured on Microsoft’s showcase, Beauty of the Web, demonstrating the new features in Internet Explorer 9, so we made use of SVG wherever possible.
The photoshoots were definitely my favourite part of my Hardboiled contributions. We scoped out various locations around my city (St. John’s, Newfoundland) but kept coming back to one particular alley off George Street called Williams’ Lane. It had just the right amount of character, colour and natural light without needing to bring a lighting kit. These are my favourite of the bunch, also featured in the latest issue (#210) of .net magazine (also called Practical Webdesign in North America, which will be available in stores in January 2011).
Okay, so maybe that last one didn’t make the cut.
Andy’s personal favourites were the results of a studio shoot (with plenty of outtakes) that captured the Hardboiled feeling perfectly. For the photography nerds, my setup consisted of three Alien Bee B800 lights—umbrella high camera left, softbox camera right, and a bare light camera right, behind Andy.
Other work contributed to Hardboiled Web Design includes interior illustration by Elliot Jay Stocks and the stunning cover artwork by Kevin Cornell. It’s edited by Chris Mills, Tim Van Damme and Owen Gregory. The preface is written by Simon Collison, and foreward by the one and only Jeffrey Zeldman.
Where can I get it?
If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, what are you waiting for? It’s hands down the most beautiful web design book I’ve ever seen and I’m truly honoured to have been a small part of it. You can buy Hardboiled Web Design from publisher Five Simple Steps as a PDF, paperback, bundle with limited edition poster (hurry before they’re all gone!), and will be available in the new year as an ePub. Save your Christmas money, do yourself a favour, and make Hardboiled one of your New Year’s Resolutions.