Ordering disorder

Those of you not skulking in the safety of your RSS readers may have noticed that I've had a bit of a redesign around here. It's the first step to an embiggening and namechangering of this site, but the basic foundations for what's to come is now in place. I couldn't have managed this without two very important, helpful things: Gimme Bar, allowing me to see my Legoflesh collection all in one place and realise that maybe I should actually use this colour for myself (it's astonishing that it's taken this long to figure that one out); and Khoi Vinh's excellent book Ordering Disorder.

Among all the many, many books on the art of the grid, this is the only one I know of that actually looks at it solely in the context of web design – and yet it isn't a book about coding and technical stuff. It takes a more philosophical approach. This is how the book opens:

At some level, design can be seen as a method of using creativity to impose tyranny on the world. Not tyranny in its classical sense, but rather tyranny on a much more modest, much more personal scale.

In the progression from problem to idea to solution, the designer may describe what she does in commercial terms (business requirements, technological limitations) or artistic terms (aesthetics, usability, human factors). Regardless, the most successful designs can be reduced to an essential intention: to create order out of disorder.

… and it just gets better and wiser from that point. It's currently at home in the "essential reads, save from fire first" section of my bookshelves (along with this lot). I highly recommend it (and not just for the Amazon affiliate kickback) to any designer going near the squishy underside of a website. Go get.