🌲 January 25th. Rain and warm temperatures melted the blanket of snow from our yard. Some of my stress has melted away too, after a solid workout this morning, breakfast with Eileen and our 6yo (who flipped a pancake piece to the dog), and lunch with my friend and colleague Ivan Bettger.
Work-wise, we’re nearing the end of a six-week scope of effort. Achieving our goals was at risk because a key task became complex, but my teammate Jason shared news today that everything had fallen into place just in time. I’m looking forward to sharing with the broader team our gains on the two tracks as planned. Plus, we enlisted two additional helpers and found out we’ll be hiring to grow the team.
Oh, and another work project sped up considerably this week. A whole team of talented designers got busy using a tool we prototyped last year. What they’re cranking out looks great, and they gave us valuable feedback to improve the tool.
My mind has been mostly on this work recently. It’s a critical moment, transitioning two disruptive concepts that we’ve prototyped into standard projects that move through the usual process. I feel proud that when Adobe finally hired a prototyper to work with me 1:1, we started producing concepts that became high priorities for the company.
Bertrand Russell, How to Grow Old:
An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome. I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.
My goodness, this is beautiful.
Rick Rubin interviewing Daniel Kaluuya:
DK: The junction nature of London is London. The kind of people coming in and out…
RR: That’s what makes London London, that cycle.
DK: Yeah yeah, it’s the Somalis, it’s the Kosovans, there’s a new wave. Come in, leave, come in. That whole thing about “things are always supposed to stay the same” ... holding onto that is hurting yourself … the place isn’t the thing, it’s the people.
Practicing Typography Basics
I recently recorded a short video series that Adobe is now releasing on YouTube as part of the Foundations of Graphic Design series. In these videos, I cover making body text easy to read, catching attention with display text, guiding readers through information, and learning how typography feels.
Many good “typography basics” videos already explain the worldly importance of typography and illustrate terminology. So instead, I wanted to emphasize the intangible practices and judgments that make a difference for great typography and help us stay sharp.
Thanks to Sandeep Kulkarni for championing domain expertise. Shout-outs to Wendy Strauss, Shanti Sparrow, Meghan Ryan, Jessie Smith, Amanda Dowd, Brian Wood, and the whole Learn team. Thanks to Ben Welch for helping me set a down-to-earth tone, supplying great examples, and sharing audio advice.
Buy my book, Flexible Typesetting, and level-up to sophisticated digital typography by building on the basics in these videos. Get 50% off with code: FTBASICS
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🎄 December 29th. Rainy and warm. Very grateful for holiday vacation time. As Eileen and I drove to pick up the kids from a sleepover we discussed definitions of done for our quarterly goals, then I time-blocked the calendar when I got back to my iPad. Listened to Rick Rubin on Huberman. Revisited Rick’s book The Creative Act and highlighted many sections.
Read a stack of books with my 6yo, including some Elephant and Piggie and a few pages of her new Highlights puzzle book. Finished reading the first Warrior Cats novel because my 11yo insisted. It was a fun read, and fun to discuss with her, though I still have trouble remembering the many characters’ names (which change repeatedly).
Played Ravine with my older girls, a cooperative board game they got for Christmas that involves foraging and crafting for survival after a plane crash. Our party died several times from storms, animals, and poisoned mushrooms, but then we lucked out by finding permanent shelter in a cave.
To finish the day we had a candlelit dinner of pasta/quinoa with family-recipe homemade sauce and opened bottles of Montepulciano and sparkling cider.
Hello, I’m Tim Brown. I’m a designer and toolmaker with 15 years of product leadership experience.
My special interest is typography, a fancy word that means using fonts. I’m Head of Typography at Adobe, where I work on design tools and help people stay sharp.
I live and work in New York State’s Hudson Valley with my wife and college sweetheart Eileen, our three daughters, and our dogs.
Please feel welcome to email and connect on social.