Camen Design

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Hello Kroc,

I came across your blog, found it amazing, and thought I'd send a message of approval and support. (It wasn’t meant to be this long, it just happened.)

To me design has always been a hobby, but recently I have found myself to be more and more immersed in it. Due to financial reasons, I'll probably be looking at making a living off it, for a little while at least. (BTW, I'm not sure I like the word “design” much, but haven’t found anything better yet). I haven’t really done anything serious for the web in the past few years (mainly print), so I was looking into brushing up my HTML skills and seeing what all the fuss was about regarding HTML5. That’s when I somehow came across your website (via a link in a CSS stylesheet!).

I always found HTML and CSS to be fun and very gratifying, but I could never consider working in an office, writing hacks, implementing Flash ads, navigating through senseless tags and CSS properties. I don’t see this as being a noble and enriching experience. I like to design, not to program, yet it always seemed to me that code could be “designed” as well. HTML5 made it possible, and you proved it to me (code is art).

I spent the past few days going over many of your blog entries, and found that your take on HTML and website layouts was totally logical and totally made sense. I like simple and logical things. (For example, I never know what to do with the original link of a drop down menu: should it be a link to a section? how do your readers know this? should I disable the link? But the cursor says its a link! ok, f*ck the drop down menu). I'm not sure I'm being clear, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and to me its all the small things that nag me that make design interesting, not the Photoshop layers and effects. And this is why your blog is so beautiful: you care about all these little things and you spend a lot of time thinking about them and implementing them.

I also appreciated your ability to deliver quality content. I very much like the tone of your posts, your ideas, your choices and explanations, and to me this is proof that good content is at the centre of good design. Clearly you write from the heart, and while your ideas might seem a bit Utopian or smug to some, my first impression is that they’re honest. There’s so much junk out there on the web, that stumbling across quality content is like finding a treasure trove.

I've always been fascinated by the whole concept of publishing, and one thing that really bothers me is the whole ephemeral nature of the web. Before the web, probably due to printing limitations and costs, you would spend a lot of time laying out, revising and publishing content. Once it’s printed, it’s out there, no going back. In French we have a saying that goes something like “words fly, writings remain”. Well, it seems nowadays most writing doesn’t remain for long, and generally doesn’t mean much either. Now anybody can get a wordpress theme, say anything without giving it much thought and gather interest, and this generates untold amounts of crap. Old-school journalists must be absolutely disgusted at what’s being “reported” on some web sites nowadays. And don’t even get me started on comment sections. Most of the web seems to be marketing ploys anyway, but thanks to people like you, there seems to be a way forward. (I especially liked your post on stylesheets for legacy browsers: again, it totally makes sense in a publishing kind of way)

And finally, on a completely different note, I was mesmerized by your post entitled “Forget Passion, Focus on Process”.

I am doing myself a lot of harm by being unable to decide what it is I really want to do, and sticking to it.

Sums up how I feel really, not sure what else to add to that. I'm French, almost 30, travelled a lot, currently living in South East Asia but could be anywhere in the world in 6 months time, doing any kind of job, and still looking for something to apply myself to.

I know, without much doubt, that I could become truly great at any one thing if I wanted to, simply because I know I am passionate enough and will simply learn and then excel at whatever is in my way to doing what I want to do.

Again, I'm speechless. My thoughts exactly. Some people have called me arrogant, but that’s genuinely how I feel. Last year, for the first time in my life, I managed a bar and put on cultural events and parties. I'm not much of a drinker, don’t go out much and I hate parties, but I can safely say it was one of the best bar in town. Give me something to focus on and dedicate myself to, and I'm probably going to do it very well. Now I just need to find something that truly means something to me and that will drive me forward. At the moment I feel like a headless chicken running into walls. Like you said: its doing me much harm, and more importantly it harms the people who are close to me. I feel like its a waste of a life. You on the other hand, seem to have found something worthy and noble that keeps you going. I hope it will go on, and again, thanks you for sharing your findings.

Well, it seems this message ended up being longer than I imagined, but your work and ideas stirred a lot of things inside my head. I found your work to be interesting on so many different levels. I still have a lot to learn (won’t we always?) and will most likely apply many of your ideas to what I'll be doing, even though some of them might be way beyond my reach at the moment (PHP, .htaccess…). I know I will probably have to compromise on many things due to clients demands (IE? really?!) but your ideas and work ethic have brought back the “web sparkle” in my eyes.

My hat’s off to you,