It’s no secret designers love typefaces. Web design is 95% typography, and it’s hailed as the most important aspect of a design. So, it’s imperative to find typefaces that accurately convey the voice of our words. Designers may not be always thinking about it, but how a site performs can be as important as choosing the right typeface. The weight of a font kit is arguably more important to a site’s performance versus other heavy hitters (like images), because fonts are loaded on every single page. And, after all, if a site loads too slowly, users won’t view the typography as you’ve intended!
Lately, the web industry has been focusing on ways to improve performance—specifically, by applying the idea of a “performance budget.” A performance budget involves establishing a target page weight (usually in kilobytes), and then making sure no single page exceeds that value. While sticking to this number may seem like a developer’s burden to bear, as Mark Perkins puts it, “performance is everyone’s problem.” As a designer, it’s important to keep your budget in mind throughout your entire process—all the way from discovery through implementation. When both designers and developers work closely to set and stick to a budget, a sweet spot will emerge where neither performance or design will be compromised.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of researching and strategizing wonderfully thought out websites. Sometimes, it’s nice to cut loose and create things just for fun, away from the computer screen. Thus, our monthly Happy Cog Handcrafted Challenge (HCHC) was born.
February was its inaugural month, and I led the effort. I wanted to take things back to elementary school and do an anonymous valentine exchange (though, I used the term “valentine” loosely—really just any card stuffed in an envelope would do).
There’s something that’s hard for some of us web designers to just flat out admit: we stubbornly hate to code. I’m a designer, dammit. I live and breathe Creative Suite. Give me Photoshop or give me death. My former coding knowledge included two things: what a div is, and how to stylize my MySpace page (circa 2004).
And without even realizing it, my attitude has changed, seemingly overnight.
Within the past month, I have learned to build responsive, HTML wireframes using Foundation and Compass. The initial setup was enough to make me want to run away and join the circus. With the added confusion at first, it seemed like everything broke if I merely looked at my code the wrong way. But, with patience, coaching, and helpful documentation, it soon clicked—and with only a few tears shed along the way.
We’ve added a few new faces here at Happy Cog, and though I just recently celebrated my four-month Coggiversary, our rapid growth has me feeling a bit like a veteran rookie. Working without the “this is my first job!” crutch can be terrifying. So, I can’t help but wonder: Where’s the advice for us post-post-grads?
There’s a slew of great industry articles aimed to help concerned college students or recent grads with how to “land that first big job” or “get your foot in the door,” but what happens once you’re already inside? Luckily, you are more prepared and confident this time around, and can apply the experience you’ve gained over the past few years.