Today’s newsletter is quite an inpirational journey, so fasten your seatbelts as we explore a network of science, take a roundtrip through the universe of music, and see history from new perspectives. Lots of inspiration guaranteed!
Speaking of inspiration: On Tue, February 21, 8–9 am PT, we are doing another Smashing Hour. This time: designer and typography expert Elliot Jay Stocks who has been working with Google Fonts recently. Make sure not to miss it!
On another note, the word “headless” has become a buzzword recently, but what does it even mean? Together, we’ll be unpacking the world of headless content management systems in a free online workshop on March 2–3. We sincerely thank our dear friends at Storyblok for making it happen!
P.S. And if you’d like to give your wonderful projects some extra love today, we’ve got a free Valentine’s icon set for you to choose from — just like a good box of chocolates!
1. 3D Network Of Science
A breathtaking piece of data visualization comes from the science journal Nature. To celebrate its 150th year, they created a 3D network of all the papers they ever published. It creates an overview of how one and a half centuries of science from all disciplines interconnect.
Each dot in the network is a paper, with the color representing its field. The connections between them build the network’s backbone. You can see clusters forming around groundbreaking discoveries like the discovery of DNA and spot papers that were isolated for decades until new discoveries led to new relevance.
Each paper takes its unique place in the network of Nature, building connections and laying the foundation for discoveries of the future. An exciting look into the world of science. (cm)
2. 50 Years Of Swiss Music Charts
10,393 songs were featured in the Swiss music charts in 50 years. Now imagine you could browse them sorted by mood, danceability, and, of course, position in the charts. That’s what 50 Years Swiss Music Charts is here for. The site is yet another fantastic example of how playful data visualization with huge data sets can be.
50 Years Swiss Music Charts is divided into two parts: the experience where you travel through a multidimensional chart timeline (with the songs fading in as you scroll) and a map that dives deeper into analyzing the data. Did you know that music has gotten more danceable throughout the years but also more melancholic, for example? A beautiful experience — not only for music nerds. (cm)
3. Interactive History Maps
Do you have a fascination for history? Even if not, the project that Nono Umasy created might wake it: History Maps turns centuries of history into engaging interactive stories.
History Maps was born out of the idea of making history fun and intuitive to learn. After all, remembering dates, places, names, and events isn’t exactly the culmination of fun. To bring history to life, History Maps combines interactive maps with images, videos, and pieces of text to create chronological stories of key moments in human history and to tell the eventful history of countries from across the globe.
Whether it’s the history of Japan or the Viking invasion of England, the Civil Rights Movement or the history of coffee, ancient times or the modern period, History Maps gives history the attention it deserves. (cm)
4. Upcoming SmashingConfs and Workshops
As we're getting ready for SmashingConf Front-End @ SF and SmashingConf Freiburg, we also are working on a brand new, special and quite mysterious surprise that will come your way soon! So please stay tuned!
We also run online workshops on front-end and design, be it accessibility, performance, or design patterns. In fact, we have a couple of workshops coming up soon, and we thought that, you know, you might want to join in as well.
As always, here’s a quick overview:
- Universal Principles of Typography Masterclass UX
with Elliot Jay Stocks. Mar 2–16
- Go Headless with Your Favorite Framework FREE
with Josefine, Facundo and Manuel. Mar 2–3
- Interface Design Patterns UX Training UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Mar 10 – Apr 7
- The Power of Storytelling UX
with Chiara Aliotta. Mar 14–28
- Figma Auto Layout Masterclass UX
with Christine Vallaure. Mar 27
- UX/UI Design & Figma Introduction UX
with Christine Vallaure. Apr 20–28
- New Front-End Adventures, 2023 Edition Dev
with Vitaly Friedman. Apr 25 – May 9
- Architecting Design Systems Workflow
with Nathan Curtis. May 11–19
- Data Visualization Masterclass Dev
with Amelia Wattenberger. May 4–18
- Deep Dive On Accessibility Testing Dev
with Manuel Matuzović. June 12–26
- Smart Interface Design Patterns UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Video course.
- Jump to all workshops →
5. A Found History Of Illustration
Let’s go on a journey back in time, when airlines presented their in-flight service tariffs with smiling glasses of Guiness attached to hot air balloons and the British Egg Information Service (who knew it even existed?) published almost psychedelic leaflets that perfectly caught the vibes of the 1970s. Modern Illustration is a treasure chest for print design goodies dating from ca. 1950 to 1975.
Curated by illustrator Zara Picken, the archive features everything from beermats and leaflets to poster stamps, playing cards, and print adverts. With their bold color combinations, interesting textures, and vintage typefaces, the artefacts are not only inspiring eye candy but they also help us understand how visual language has developed to where we are today. Happy browsing! (cm)
6. Iconographic Encyclopædia
Have you ever heard of J.G. Heck’s Encyclopædia of Science, Literature, and Art? If not, there is no better time than now to explore it. The Iconographic Encyclopædia project set out to create a reimagined modern edition of the 19th-century encyclopedia that explores everything from astronomy to zoology in more than 500 engraved steel plates and 1.6 million words.
For the digital version, more than 13,000 illustrations were extracted from each steel plate as a separate image so they could be shown within the text where they were referenced. Additionally, an overlay of hotspots was created for each plate so clicking a figure could display details of what they were and where they were mentioned in the text.
The illustrations are not only a pleasure to look at, but you can also use them in your projects freely without any restrictions. A labor of love that creates a bridge across centuries and technologies. (cm)
7. Vault Of VHS
Awww, the good old times of VHS cassettes. Do you remember them? Particularly the colorful paper sleeves that wrapped the black plastic cassettes still have a special fascination to them today. If you’re up for some VHS packaging nostalgia, the Vault of VHS has plenty of it.
Vaulto, the person behind Vault of CSS, spent hours of collecting, scanning, and photoshoppery to preserve the special beauty of both home and pre-recorded VHS for the future. No two tapes in the collection are the same. There’s always something different, be it a sticker or a manufacturing date. A time capsule of 1980’s and 1990’s design. (cm)
That’s All, Folks!
Thank you so much for reading and for your support in helping us keep the web dev and design community strong with our newsletter. See you next time!
This newsletter issue was written and edited by Cosima Mielke (cm), Vitaly Friedman (vf) and Iris Lješnjanin (il).
- UX Writing
- UX Research
- Sustainability In Front-End and UX
- Dealing With Legacy
- Interface Design
- Accessibility and Inclusive Design
- Goodies and Freebies
- New Ways of Working in 2024
- Meet 2024
Looking for older issues? Drop us an email and we’ll happily share them with you. Would be quite a hassle searching and clicking through them here anyway.