Analog, Mapalong, more tries at trans-Atlantic sleep, Cuba, Fontdeck, and my youngest son entering school; it all happened in the last year. At the end of 2007, I wrote up the year very differently. After skipping a couple of years, this is a different wrap-up. To tell the truth I put this together for me, being the very worst of diarists. It meant searching through calendars, Aperture, and elsewhere. I hope it prompts me to keep a better diary. I give you: 2010 in pictures and words:
Albany Green, Bristol.
Analog.coop is still fresh after launching in December. We’re still a bit blown away by the response but decide not to do client work, but to make Mapalong instead. We jump through all kinds of hoops trying to make it happen, but ultimately it comes down to our friend and colleague, Chris Shiflett. He gets us going. It snows a lot in Bristol. The snow turns to ice. I slip around, occasionally grumpy, but mostly grinning like an idiot.
My family and I go to Cuba on our first ever all inclusive ‘package’ holiday. It’s a wonderful escape from winter, tempered by surreptitious trips out of the surreal, tourist-only island, to the other Cuba with an unofficial local guide. My boys love the jacuzzi, and sneaking into the gym. Z shoots his first arrow. Just after we return, he turns 4 years old. Now, he wants to go back.
DUMBO from the men’s loo at 10 Jay St. — home of Analog NY in Studio 612a.
I visit Chris in Brooklyn to work on Mapalong. We play football. Well, Chris plays. I cripple myself, and limp around a lot. At the same time I meet the irrepressible, Cameron Koczon. We all get drunk on good beer at Beer Table. Life is good. Cameron comes up with the Brooklyn Beta name. It starts to move from idea to action.
April and May
In the garden, at home.
The sun comes out. The garden becomes the new studio. Alan Colville and Jon Gibbins stop by as we work on Mapalong. The hunt starts for a co-working space in Bristol. I write pieces about self-promotion and reversed type. Worn out from the sudden burst, I go quiet again.
Mild Bunch HQ!
We find a place for our Bristol co-working studio studio. Mild Bunch HQ is born! I design desks for the first time. Our first co-workers are Adam Robertson, Kester Limb, Eugene Getov, and Ben Coleman. Chris and I meet again across the Atlantic; he makes a flying visit to Bristol. The gentle pressure mounts on fellow Analogger, Jon Gibbins to come to Bristol, too. Something special begins. Beer Fridays have started.
Fontdeck comes out of private beta! Almost 17 months after Rich Rutter and I talked about a web fonts service in Brighton for the first time, the site was live thanks to the hard work of Clearleft and OmniTI. Now it features thousands of fonts prepared for the Web, and many of the best type designers and foundries in the world.
The Ulster Festival programme.
For the first time in around 15 years I visit Belfast. At the invitation of the Standardistas, Chris and Nik, Elliot Stocks and I talk typography at the Ulster Festival of Art and Design. We’re working on the Brooklyn Beta branding, so talk about that with a bit of neuroscience thrown in as food for thought. Belfast truly is a wonderful place with fantastic people. It made it hard to miss Build for the second time later in the year.
June was busier than it felt. :)
Mild Bunch summer; Pieminister, Ginger beer, and Milk Stout.
Summer arrived in earnest. X has a blast at his school sports day. I do, too. Mild Bunch HQ is liberally dosed with shared lunches from Herbert’s bakery and Licata’s deli, and beers on balmy evenings outside The Canteen with friends. That’s all the Mild Bunch is, a group of friends with a name that made us laugh; everyone of friendly disposition is welcome!
8 Faces number 1 is published and sells out in a couple of hours. I was lucky enough to be interviewed, and to sweat over trying to narrow my choices. The .Net interview was me answering a few questions thrown my way from folks on Twitter. Great fun. Elliot, Samantha Cliffe, and I had spent a great day wandering around Montpelier taking pictures in the sun earlier in the year. One of her portraits of me appeared in both magazines. Later that month, I write about Web Fonts, Dingbats, Icons, and Unicode. It’s only my fourth post of the year.
Birthday cake made by my wife, Lowri.
Sometimes, some things strip me of words. Thank you.
East River Sunrise from 20 stories up at the home of Jessi and Creighton of Workshop.
The whole of Analog heads to Brooklyn for a Mapalong hack week with the Fictive Kin guys. We start to show it to friends and Brooklyn studio mates like Tina (Swiss Miss) who help us heaps. It’s a frantic week. I get to spend a bit of time with my Analog friend Andrei Zmievski who I haven’t seen in the flesh since 2009. Everyone works and plays hard, and we stay in some fantastic places thanks to Cameron and AirBnB.
Cameron Koczon (front), Larry Legend (middle) and Jon Gibbins (far back with funky glove) in Studio 612a during hack week.
Just before I head to NY, Z starts big school. He looks too small to start. He’s 4. How did time pass so fast? I’m still wondering that after I get back.
Brooklyn Beta poster.
The whole of Analog, the Mild Bunch HQ and many others from Bristol, and as far away as Australia and India, head to New York for Brooklyn Beta! A poster whipped together my me, printed in a rush by Rik at Ripe, and transported to NY by Adam Robertson, is given as one of the souvenirs to everyone who comes.
Meanwhile, Jon Gibbins works frantically to get Mapalong ready to give BB an early glimpse of what we’re up to. Two thousand people reserve their usernames before we even go to private beta!
Chris and Cameron work tirelessly. Many, many fine people lend a hand. We add some last minute touches to the site, like listing all the crew and attendees as well as the speakers. Cameron shows off Gimme Bar with an hilarious voice-over from Bedrich Rios. Alan narrates Mapalong and we introduce our mapping app to our peers and friends!
Day 2: Chris does technical fixes, Cameron tells jokes, and Cameron Moll waits with great poise for his talk to start.
It’s something we hoped, but never expected: Brooklyn Beta goes down as one of the best conferences ever in the eyes of veteran conference speakers and attendees. ‘Are you sure you’ve not done this before?’ I hear Jonathan Hoefler of Hoefler Frere-Jones ask Cameron. It makes me smile. The fact one of our sponsors asked this question in admiration of Chris and Cameron’s work meant a lot to me. I was proud of them, and grateful to everyone who helped it be something truly friendly, open, smart, and special.
Aftermath: Cameron (blury in action centre left) regales us at Mission Delores; Pat Lauke (left), Lisa Herod (back centre right), Nicholas Sloan (right).
The BB Flickr group has a lot of pictures and links to blog posts. Brooklyn Beta will return again in 2011!
X turns 7. I realise he really isn’t such a toddler anymore. It took me a while even though he amazes me constantly with his vocabulary and eloquence. His birthday party ensues with a trip to Legoland on the last weekend of the season to watch fireworks and get into trouble. Fun times finding Yoda and the rest of the Star Wars posse battling each other below the Space Shuttle exhibit.
8 Faces number two is published after being announced at Build. Much of the month was spent juggling Mapalong work, and having a great time typesetting the selections spreads for each of the eight faces chosen by the interviewees. That, and worrying with Elliot how it might print with litho. It all turned out OK. I think.
The .Net Awards take place in London. Christened the ‘nutmeg’ awards thanks to iPhone auto-correction, I’m one of millions of judges. We use it as an excuse for a party. At the end of the month, lots of the Mild Bunch go to see Caribou at The Thekla. Good times.
Mapalong goes into private beta! We start inviting many of the Brooklyn Beta folks, and others who’ve reserved their usernames. Lots of placemarks get added. Lots of feedback comes our way. Bug hunting starts. Next design steps start. We push frequently and add people as we go. Big things are planned for the new year!
Clove heart from Lowri.
The Mild Bunch Christmas do goes off with a bang thanks to Adam Robertson making sure it happened. Folks come from far and wide for a great party in The Big Chill Bar in Bristol. Lowri sneaks shots of Sambuca for the girls onto my tab, and we drink all the Innis and Gunn they have.
A few parties later, and the year draws to a close with a very traditional family Christmas in our house. Wood fires, music, the Christmas tree, and two small boys doing what kids do at Christmas. It’s just about perfect; A tonic to the background strife of the month, with a personal tragedy for me, and illness in my close family. Everything worked out OK. Steam-powered fairground rides, dressing up as dinosaurs, and detox follows with a bit of reflection. New Year’s Eve probably means staying in. Babysitters are like gold dust, but I just found we have one for tonight, so it looks like our celebration is coming early!
In the new year, I’ll be mostly trying to do the best I can for my family, my colleagues, and myself. The only goals I have are to help my children be everything they can be, make Mapalong everything we wish it to be, and feel that calm, quiet sense of peace in the evening that only comes from a day well done. Other than that I’ll keep my mind open to serendipity.
If you made it this far, thank you, and here’s to you and yours in 2011; may the best of your past be the worst of your future!