Tags: signs

18

sparkline

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

Two decades of thesession.org

On June 3rd, 2001, I launched thesession.org. Happy twentieth birthday to The Session!

Although actually The Session predates its domain name by a few years. It originally launched as a subdirectory here on adactio.com with the unwieldly URL /session/session.shtml

A screenshot of the first version of The Session

That incarnation was more like a blog. I’d post the sheetmusic for a tune every week with a little bit of commentary. That worked fine until I started to run out of tunes. That’s when I made the site dynamic. People could sign up to become members of The Session. Then they could also post tunes and add comments.

A screenshot of the second version of The Session

That’s the version that is two decades old today.

The last really big change to the site happened in 2012. As well as a complete redesign, I introduced lots of new functionality.

A screenshot of the current version of The Session

In all of those incarnations, the layout was fluid …long before responsive design swept the web. That was quite unusual twenty years ago, but I knew it was the webby thing to do.

What’s also unusual is just keeping a website going for twenty years. Keeping a community website going for twenty years is practically unheard of. I’m very proud of The Session. Although, really, I’m just the caretaker. The site would literally be nothing without all the contributions that people have made.

I’ve more or less adopted a Wikipedia model for contributions. Some things, like tune settings, can only be edited by the person who submitted it But other things, like the track listing of a recording, or the details of a session, can be edited by any member of the site. And of course anyone can add a comment to any listing. There’s a certain amount of risk to that, but after testing it for two decades, it’s working out very nicely.

What’s really nice is when I get to meet my fellow members of The Session in meatspace. If I’m travelling somewhere and there’s a local session happening, I always get a warm welcome. I mean, presumably everyone would get a warm welcome at those sessions, but I’ve also had my fair share of free pints thanks to The Session.

I feel a great sense of responsibility with The Session. But it’s not a weight of responsibility—the way that many open source maintainers describe how their unpaid labour feels. The sense of responsibility I feel drives me. It gives me a sense of purpose.

The Session is older than any client work I’ve ever done. It’s older than any books I’ve written. It’s even older than Clearleft by a few years. Heck, it’s even older than this blog (just).

I’m 50 years old now. The Session is 20 years old. That’s quite a chunk of my life. I think it’s fair to say that it’s part of me now. Of all the things I’ve made so far in my life, The Session is the one I’m proudest of.

I’m looking forward to stewarding the site through the next twenty years.

Sunday, November 1st, 2020

Copying is the way design works || Matthew Ström: designer & developer

A people’s history of copying, from art to software.

Designers copy. We steal like great artists. But when we see a copy of our work, we’re livid.

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

Let a website be a worry stone. — Ethan Marcotte

It was a few years before I realized that worry stones had a name, that they were borrowed from cultures other and older than mine. Heck, it’s been more than a few years since I’ve even held one. But in the last few weeks, before and after launching the redesign, I’ve kept working away at this website, much as I’d distractedly run my fingers over a smooth, flat stone.

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

Redesigning in public ・ Robin Rendle

I feel like my problem with design in general today is that folks want to burn everything to the ground and start again all the time. Whether that’s with a website, or a new web standard, or a political policy. They don’t want to fix what’s wrong with things bit by bit, everyone wants Thing 2.0 whilst jumping over all the small improvements that are required to get there.

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Blade Runner Sketchbook (PDF)

I was sad to hear of the passing of Syd Mead last week. Here’s a sketchbook of his remarkable work for Blade Runner.

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Social Decay on Behance

If only our digital social networks were to exhibit this kind of faded grandeur when they no longer exist.

Monday, March 7th, 2016

A Design Science Primer

The Buckminster Fuller Institute has put together this collection of resources which explain the ideas behind “comprehensive anticipatory design science.”

Seems especially relevant in light of the first issue of the Journal of Design and Science from MIT.

The legacy of the Black Mountain College lives on.

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Signs from the near future

We better get used to them…

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

EIRE signs of WW II | GPS of the past

A fascinating project to document markings from 1939—designed to be visible from the air—placed all around the Irish coast.

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Planning Notices in Brighton « Phil Lucas

I wish to cover the entire Brighton Pavilion in Bakelite for my own amusement.

Friday, August 12th, 2011

TRY HELVETICA

A cute idea: see how signs (mostly in Brazil) would look if they were set in Helvetica.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Writing in the Margins: Manicules « A Pretty Book

A lovely little ode to the manicule.

Monday, June 29th, 2009

which way?

A collection of directional signage & wayfinding artifacts, well-executed or otherwise.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

FUCK this website

I don't think the end of Catcher In The Rye will have quite the same impact after browsing through the signs on display here. This is big and it is clever.

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Coffee/latte art - the mark of a professional barista

Coffee porn, some of which is from the baristas working at Travelbag in Brighton.

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Happy Cog Studios: Work: Dictionary.com

Happy Cog redesigns Dictionary.com and its siblings.

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

AdAge.com redesign gets job done

Design review by Jay Small.