The Seven Years That Changed Everything

Today is the day when it all started — the day when this little website launched back in 2006. Today, we celebrate our seventh anniversary, and you, dear readers, are the ones who have made it possible and kept us going.

Sorry about that heavy 0.5Mb GIF, but after all it’s our little birthday today and this GIF has been circling around the office for ages now.

Time For A Little Story

A couple of months ago, I was on a night train on my way to one of those countless Web design conferences. Being offline with a ridiculous roaming rate is always a good excuse to get some work done, and the music streaming from my good ol’ headphones helped me to focus on the draft of the chapter I was reviewing for our upcoming book.

At a late stop, a dark-haired guy in his 30s stepped into my coach, politely asking whether the seat next to me was taken, then carefully placing his bag right next to mine. From his bag, he pulled out his laptop, his Moleskine and a set of exquisite Japanese pens — ones you wouldn’t find in any regular stationery shop. He looked like an artist at first glance, but at the same time was running Coda on his laptop.

Once he had everything in place, he pulled out a few books from his bag — all of the usual suspects, I assumed: a couple of Five Simple Steps books, a few printouts with sketches and mind maps, some A Book Apart volumes. Then I kept my breath for a moment — I suddenly glimpsed our very own Mobile Book, still neatly and tightly packed and wrapped.

You see, I’ve never seen someone read our books before then. You know how it is: You create something, send it into the wilderness of the Web, only to be surprised when you discover that people out there actually use this thing whose trail wanders from tweet to tweet, from one designer to the next.

Conversation in a train1
Best things always happen to you when you don’t expect them at all. A random conversation at any point of time can change and redefine everything. (Image credit: Duane Romanell2)

I struck up a conversation with my neighbor, asking him his name and where he comes from, whether he is an artist and what he does for a living, what it’s like to be a freelancer, and what the industry is like in general. He replied eagerly, and so the conversation led from design to development to culture to UX to personal struggles and successes, as the train moved along in the dark night.

“So, how do you keep improving your skills?” I asked.

“You know, experimenting with stuff, playing around with what’s out there.”

“I guess going to conferences as well, then?”

“Yep, that too. And then there is this pretty cool magazine. It’s called Smashing.”

I smiled, resisting the urge to say something.

At some point, the conversation drifted off, and I returned to my editing duties, while my neighbor started drawing in his Moleskine, jumping from one Japanese pen to another as the light was dimming. Suddenly, he slowly leaned towards his bag, reached for the Mobile Book and started examining it. He unwrapped the book slowly and gently leafed through its pages. He kept turning the book from one side to another, helped only by the flagging light from the side of the coach. Not long after he unwrapped it, I could hear a page flip every two minutes as my neighbor was reading the book.

I couldn’t look away. The book we’d been working for almost 10 months was actually being read by someone right in front of me. At this point, I knew almost every single page of the book by heart, and I knew exactly which pages contained grammar or spelling mistakes that our readers had flagged. I didn’t say anything, though — of course.

As the time passed and I continued editing the chapter, I kept hearing the pages flip. The coach was silent and almost empty, yet this little whisper of flipping was full of something… remarkable and meaningful — something that I would remember for a long, long time after that trip.

I spent almost the whole night editing that one monolithic chapter, finishing just before the sun rose, as my neighbor continued flipping through the book every couple of minutes. I will never forget how, upon closing my laptop, I realized that even hours later the Mobile Book was still there, serving its purpose as the night wore on.

Blow Out The Candle!3

Since then, I always remember how worthwhile and empowering every single minute we’ve invested in Smashing Magazine felt in those few hours on the train.

Seven Years — And Counting!

This little website was launched exactly seven years ago today. We didn’t have an ambitious goal. We didn’t have a master plan. We just wanted to do what matters to us and provide value to our colleagues, fellows designers and developers out there. That train trip of mine is one of the reasons we are still doing it today. The trip throughout all these seven years changed everything for me, and these years still drive us in new directions and towards new challenges. And for this I am eternally, eternally grateful.

These seven years have changed everything because what we do does matter after all, and because you matter to us.

Our Birthday Present — To You.

We put our heart and soul into producing books that we love4 and that you will hopefully love, too. Good is not good enough, and we do everything we can to create beautiful and valuable artefacts of their time and keep them affordable to everyone worldwide.

To celebrate our little day today, we have prepared a little something for you. Well, obviously we can’t buy a round of beer for you just yet, but we do have something a bit more… permanent and special: a Smashing stress relief ball. That, and of course, for any printed book you grab, the international shipping is on us this week. But hey, don’t worry, no strings attached.

The Stress Relief Ball: Smash Me! — $7 (7€)

This adorable little fleecy fellow is super squishy and will put a smile on anyone’s face. Cody is a goodie that’s most certainly nice to have for your desk; he’s a great listener and an efficient stress absorber. Price is $7 (7€), with free shipping. You can also print your own Cody (PDF)5, you know. We’ll be giving away Codys to 30 people who comment on this post.

Stress Relief Ball6
Grab the ball!7

Smashing Book #3 Bundle (Print + eBook) — $27 (27€)

Our last Smashing Book contains practical coding and design techniques and features contributions from Aarron Walter, Rachel Andrew, Lea Verou, Christian Heilmann, Andy Clarke and Dmitry Fadeyev. If you want to know how to design websites today, don’t miss this bundle. Two damn good printed books and two eBooks in one fell swoop. Price is $27 (27€), with free shipping.

Smashing Book #3 Bundle (Print + eBook)8
Smashing Book #3 Bundle (Print + eBook)9

Smashing Book #3 + Mobile Book Bundle (Print + eBooks) — $47 (47€)

Here is a bundle of our two most recent books, which complement each other well. The Smashing Book 3 provides insight into the general design and coding workflow, while The Mobile Book has a strong focus on mobile techniques and strategies, the mobile landscape and mobile UX. That’s two high-quality print books and four eBooks in one fell swoop. Price is $47 (47€), with free shipping.

Mobile Book and Smashing Book #3 Bundle10
Get the bundle!11

The Smashing Anthology (5×Print + 6×eBooks) — $77 (77€)

In all, we’ve released five printed books, all carefully edited and thoroughly reviewed according to the rigorous quality control that Smashing Magazine’s online articles are known for. The books cover the various areas of Web design and development and have come to be regarded as valuable, high-quality books for Web professionals. Price is $77 (77€), with free shipping.

Smashing Book Anthology12
Get the bundle!13

Here’s To Another Seven Years!

The journey has just begun. We have a lot more in store, and we aren’t afraid of new challenges. In fact, we are happy to take this journey with you. A huge thank you to you for being so helpful, engaging and supportive, and for staying with us all this time, and for reading our books on night trains. It means the world to us. You mean the world to us.

Happy Birthday!14
It’s time to make a wish and blow out the candles.
Happy Birthday, SmashingMag15. Happy Birthday, everyone!


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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    José Luis Almagro

    September 8, 2013 3:26 pm

    Congratulations on this milestone! SmashingMagazine for me is the website that comes up first in the morning for quite some years now. You guys achieved making a platform that coveres every aspect of webdesign with relevant and interesting items. Keep up the good work for at least another 7 years!

  2. 202

    Happy Birthday! Wishing you all at Smashing many, many very good years ahead.

    Thank you for all the joy browsing (learning/trying to understand) – not and IT geek but absolutely love the calendars, many years now.

    Here today, trying to read up on free websites >

    how to :-) or :-(

  3. 403

    Happy Birthday Smashing Magazine. ~ selamat ulang tahun
    Cody… I’m waiting for you

  4. 604

    Happy Birthday Smashing Magazine ^_^

  5. 805

    Happy Birthday Smashing Magazine

  6. 1006

    Happy Birthday

  7. 1207

    happy birthday smashing magazine, awoo!! awoo!!

  8. 1408

    Happy Birthday SM, your website is very useful :)

  9. 1609

    Happy Birthday Smashing Magazine! Keep it up!

  10. 1810

    WOW!!! Happy Birthday Smashing Magazine ~~~

  11. 2011

    You made the last 7 years SMASHING and I hope you will do the same for the next 100!

    Happy Birthday to the 7 years old genius :-)

  12. 2212

    Wish you a very Happy Birthday, Smashing Magazine! Cheers!!

  13. 2413

    congratulation smashing magazine for 7 years of success and keep the good work up for more in the coming days. You guys are one of the first page millions of people open first thing in the morning including me. I can always find something new something more to learn and hear different ideas and different minds. Thank you for your efforts.

  14. 2614

    Firstly, a hearty Congratulations to the Smashing Magazine team. Guys you all are doing superb job by posting such useful articles. I am sure all the designers, developers or anyone related to the web, print and mobile media must be appreciating you all because your articles gives them great insight of their respective field. Wish you a great journey ahead and thanks for all your articles.

  15. 2815

    gopalakrishnan sankarrajan

    September 9, 2013 7:31 am

    Happy Birthday Smashing Magazine.

  16. 3016

    Happy birthday Smashing Magazine ..

  17. 3217
  18. 3418

    Happy Birthday Smashing Magazine!
    Thank you for providing us with high quality content over the past seven years. It’s truly something, that can’t be taken for granted these days. Way to go guys ;-)

  19. 3619

    It’s been an amazing journey! Thank you for your contribution to keep the WWW pretty.
    Happy Birthday!

  20. 3820

    Happy B’day SM :D your are my best friend

  21. 4021

    Happy Birthday The Awesome SMASHING MAGAZINE!

  22. 4222

    Congratulations on keeping us all motivated and up to speed with your high quality web development articles.

    I teach web development in college and we’ve just opened a creative space called the Creativity Gym where a Cody would fit in just perfect. Check out the space at

    To seven more years!

  23. 4423

    Happy “Smashing” Birthday SM!
    Congratulations.. and cheers to se7en years more!

  24. 4624

    Happy Birthday, been following you for a long time, many happy years to come.


  25. 4825

    Congratulations. I haven’t read any of the books yet, but the blog has been an invaluable resource. I can’t have a conversation about recommended industry blogs without mentioning “well of course Smashing” first. Usually it is met with a “oh for sure. What else?” It’s so much of a given that it almost isn’t conversation.


  26. 5026

    Happy b-lated birthday Smashing Magazine! Your articles are amazing! I visit the site almost everyday.

  27. 5227

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for giving your readers quality content to mull over all these years. I’m not even a professional designer/developer, and I enjoy your work. Please keep it up.

  28. 5428

    Happy Birthday guys, you helped me alot during the years ;).

  29. 5629

    Happy, happy Birthday!

    THX-A-LOT for the massive and informative stuff, that helped me getting better over the years and still counting :)

  30. 5830

    Congratulations to the entire Smashing Team!

  31. 6031

    Happy birthday Smashing!
    I’m glad you did this work for 7 years now, because I love reading this magazine – for years now… I hope you will keep on with it for at least another 7 years!

  32. 6232

    Happiest of anniversary, guys! Just keeps getting better!

  33. 6433

    Congrats and thank you on your work. Smashing Magazine is definitely an incredible source for all (web) creatives.

  34. 6634

    Happy birthday Smashing!
    you guys helped me a lot in my projects, Thanks

  35. 6835

    Have a Smashing birthday! I have (and will continue to) love every article you post and will keep on buying the books (still have got a few on my (digital) bookshelf to read).

  36. 7036

    Congratulations Smashing! Keep up the good work, looking forward to reading future releases!

  37. 7237

    Congratulations guys! I’ve learned so much from smashing magazine over the last few years.

  38. 7438

    Happy Birthday Smashing Magazine!
    btw, Cody is so adorable!

  39. 7639

    Guys Happy Birthday…….Because of you I am a better designer….So you mean a lot to me….Keep up the smashing work.


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