Remembering Hardboiled Web Design

January 18, 2024

Two physical editions of Andy Clarke's Hardboilded Web Design with one overlapping the other. The books have similar themes of gumshoe detective and woman in a red dress with two distinct illustration styles.

A memory from Facebook brought a smile to my face this morning. Thirteen years ago, I started reading Andy Clarke‘s Hardboiled Web Design after finishing Dan Cederholm‘s CSS3 for Web Designers over the weekend.

I had looked forward to reading Andy’s book since I first heard him talk about it on his blog. I wanted to purchase a hard copy of the book from Five Simple Steps but with the shipping, it was going to cost me over $75. I opted for the PDF copy instead.

I enjoyed the read and the creative uses of CSS covered in the second half of the book. I appreciated that Andy spent a lot of time talking about semantic HTML and walked through the new HTML5 elements (2011). I put that knowledge to use right away in several freelance projects I was working on at the time.

The book inspired me in a lot of ways at a time when I needed the lift. I had recently experienced some career change and was not finding joy in my new position. Reading the book helped to renew my creative vision in my work.

Five Simple Steps set up a US distributor in 2015 and I finally got my hands on a copy at a much more reasonable cost. I had wanted to reread the book and made it through a significant portion before I found out that Smashing Magazine was printing a Five Year Edition later that year.

I was glad to have a copy of the original as well as the 5th Anniversary edition. I enjoy seeing the evolution of our industry when I revisit these reads. You can get a free copy of the ebook for the new edition on Smashing’s site.

Thinking about the second book brings back memories of reading it in the lobby of Chattanooga Ballet while my youngest was taking classes or practicing for the Nutcracker. Sweet memories.

I included Hardboiled Web Design on my list of books that have shaped my work between 2010 and 2020. I have an inkling to reread the newer edition in the near future.

1 Comment

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