“Mark-making is where design and writing hold hands” *

Yvonne Lam on usefulness/comprehension of making vs. reading large diagrams. The act of drawing the diagram is where the understanding happens, not while reading it back. Related to where Dave Snowden claims that any model that can't be quickly drawn on a napkin is not very useful. Maybe multiple smaller diagrams work better than one big one. I would think so, especially when multiple zoom levels and/or perspectives are involved. Also, the drawing process has a linear progress, starting from an empty canvas, gradually building up the model, so that understanding can follow along. A finished diagram does not tell that part of the story, especially if in the layout there is no clear and obvious way in.

@ruthmalan adds important considerations. If the value is in the doing while, it becomes essential to consider who is there when it happens. Otherwise the diagram might be just another tree in the forest that nobody heard fall over.

So again, it comes down to the process of drawing the diagram. Repeatedly, with different audiences as needed.


Oh, this beautiful little thread about an even smaller little psalter (containing the Book of Psalms often with bonus tracks) from around 1280. There's mentions of “puzzle” initials with “frogspawn” penwork and I need to learn more about the terminology around this. This glossary helps and this is a lovely explanation of how different parts of the text on the page relate, but I'm specifically looking for the anatomy descriptors for illuminated initials.

Related find: Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art and Architecture


Starting a newsletter is the best thing you can do for your design system. Newsletters as human-readable release notes plus context and empathy?


Reading too much about writing instead of writing but: – Writing for the design mind by Natalia Ilyin.* – FireSigns: a semiotic theory for graphic design by Steven Skaggs – This thread


Sounds: – Still in high rotation: Parallel 1 – Finding out about Sleaford Mods via this very funny video. Blog maggot! – The rough and basic setup of Sleaford Mods reminded me of Heavyweighter by Sensational. – My answer to that tweet asking for top 5 bands listened to in highschool. With bonus insight.

_ #weeknotes 2021-18

Roy Scholten

_ Weekendje weg in Schoorl: Tapuit, Zilvermeeuw, Kluut, Huismus, Tjiftjaf, Scholekster, Spreeuw, Gele Kwikstaart, Slobeend, Merel, Graspieper, Blauwe reiger, Groenling, Bontbekplevier, Fuut, Grutto, Meerkoet, Grote stern, Kneu, Kievit, Boerenzwaluw, Witte kwikstaart, Koolmees, Kauw, Wilde eend, Pimpelmees, Kraai, Waterhoen, Ekster, Roodborst, Torenvalk, Buizerd, Grauwe gans, Kokmeeuw, Zanglijster, Aalscholver, Nijlgans, Lepelaar, Bergeend.

_ “This 12th-century drawing is my favorite picture of a knight on horseback ever.”

_ “You don't look for 'em, but I think every composer's got some idea of ideal proportions that suits personal taste. You take your raw material, your notes, your visual elements or whatever it's gonna be, and you strike up balances between loud and soft, fast and slow, many and few, thick and thin. It's like cooking, or building a mobile. The contrasts help define the structure, and at the same time they're part of the elements that are being structured. Know what I mean?”

From Interview with the Composer – Zappa Wiki Jawaka.

_ Graphic Designers Have Always Loved Minimalism. But At What Cost? By Jarrett Fuller, yes, he from the Scratching the Surface podcast.

_ Elementary cellular automata, by Seth Brown.

_ Sounds: – A new DJ mix to capture the best of a vintage Nineties Japanese dance music sound. Think of it as retromania for retromania.. – Eschaton Mémoire by Chaos Moon is a black metal masterpiece.

_ #weeknotes 2021-16

Roy Scholten

The impossibility of silence by Ian Lynam. Writing for designers, artists, and photographers. Introduces useful concepts to consider without getting prescriptive. Guidelines, not rules. Made a few things click for me. Good stuff.

_ Promising results of three short monoprinting sessions over the last week. See header image. First pass in black ink combining two cut-out capital letters and assorted patterns. Second pass consisted of printing a solid square of yellow ink over each page. Another even shorter single printing session together with M. produced even more exhilirating results. But that's all still in the exploratory phase.

_ You all did see No. 10 Family office right?

_ MIT Press offers open access to Design Issues. Via brilliantcrank.

_ Inks and paints of the Middle East.

_ Finally succumbed and purchased license to use Brabo, the eloquent type I mentioned here before.

_ Sounds: Misnomer by Four Tet. I Hadn't Known (I Only Heard) / So Now... by Matthew Herbert. Gnosis by Spectral Lore.

_ #weeknotes 2021-15

Roy Scholten

Moving from pocket to a converted, yearly paid pinboard subscription because Maciej asked nicely.

_ 36days of type so far and a compilation of the first four. And this one, which just kept growing as I drew it.

_ Looking forward to dive into The Impossibility of Silence.

_ A small update to, a large header image. It captures some of the essence of the Calligraphic Space theme I'm working with.

_ I can't retrace how I found it, so I'll just thank the universe (or the youtube algorithm), because Tchaikovsky's Hymn of the Cherubim really is of transcendent beauty.

_ #weeknotes 2021-14

Roy Scholten

again: publishing as artistic practice

Another plug for Scratching the surface, a podcast about design criticism and practice. It's shaping up to an impressive catalogue of interviews about design, criticism, architecture, writing, publishing, education with people who work across those different but connected domains. I put one one for when I go for my walk.

_ The grammar of ornament, beautiful. Need to check, but I think Johanna Drucker references this in her book Graphesis.

_ I'm setting up a printing forme that will fit eight A5-ish blocks into a 46x64 cm sheet of paper. I turned a first series of prints like this into small booklets, zines. Looking forward to produce a new series of works this way. This time I want to connect this with my Calligraphic Space themed pieces.

_ Speaking of Calligraphic Space, 36 days of type has kicked off. Main channel is Instagram. I'm posting processed scans of hand-drawn versals copied from this manuscript.

_ A database of sans serifs sold in 19th-century Germany by Dr. Dan Reynolds.

_ Music via stereogum's Black Market for March, featuring Esoctrilihum and Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore and Forhist (by BaN's Vindsval) and Bríi (by Kaatayra's Caio Lemos). Lots of good stuff coming out.

_ #weeknotes 2021-13

Roy Scholten

_ Plum Blossoms and Bamboo, by Yamamoto Baiitsu (1783-1856). Via@JapanTraCul

_ “Pysanka is the Ukrainian art of decorating eggs

_ Complaining about open source projects is good. Thought provoking thread by @DRMacIver

_ “Solvitur ambulando.” – it is solved by walking. via @cox_tom

_ 36 days of type starts april 5.

_ #weeknotes 2021-12

Roy Scholten

A smallest history of the drop cap and more.

_ Paged.js is a free and open source JavaScript library that paginates content in the browser to create PDF output from any HTML content. This means you can design works for print (eg. books) using HTML and CSS.

_ A Drupal core proposal for an editor specific toolbox menu. More diagramps here.

_ “I want to make sure that I’m an artist that not only lives through her music but the art is in life. The reason I can do all of these things is because they all are in the same world.” – Dawn Richard


_ Street artists: Highway star (Deep Purple cover)

_ #weeknotes 2021-11

Roy Scholten

God zij genadig hem die leest - Hij vergeve hem die schreef.

_ Honour your obsessions, says Rob Walker in the art of noticing

_ How to get excited about Drupal again. Addendum: collaborating with wicked smart and super nice people.

_ Moving to Linux.

_ “Visions of the end”, a virtual exhibition exploring medieval & Renaissance artworks inspired by the Apocalypse, or Revelation, of John of Patmos. Via.

_ Revival of an unknown woodtype

_ Tsundoku: acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one's home without reading them.

_ #weeknotes #2021-09

Roy Scholten

Mid last year I bought a second hand Lenovo T470 and installed Linux Mint on it. I wanted to see how far I could bring it to handle my main work tasks. Almost there it looks like!

Graphics, layouts etc: I tried these under macos before, where they are super sluggish most of the time. Under a more native(?) environment, these apps are significantly more snappy and solid: – “photoshop”: glimpse – “illustrator”: inkscape – “indesign”: scribus

For wireframes: – / voor lo-fi wireframes and diagrams – when necessary, figma in the browser, but I don't often work on that level of design-fidelity anymore.

Notes, writing: – Visual Studio Code for code editing, random notes. BBEdit is turning out the hardest to replace. such a rock solid program. As with Atom, Sublime Text, it's al; very configurable but eh, not quite right or comfortable. Yet, I suppose. – Obsidian for notes, writing – Joplin for tasks & projects

Mindmaps: Xmind

Cloud things: Nextcloud via in NL: file storage, calendar, notes sync for Joplin.

Email: Thunderbird, was already using it under macos.

Browser: Firefox, my default under macos as well.

Local web development: Getting a local lamp stack up and running turned out to be the most cumbersome. On Mac there is MAMPpro that provides an extensive GUI for managing PHP, MySQL, Apache. Creating virtual hosts etc. For Linux, there's only the much simpler XAMPP for getting a LAMPP stack up and running. It comes with phpmyadmin for the database bits, which is fine, but setting up virtual hosts requires good old editing of apache config files. Bleh, but ok.

Annoyances: – typing special characters, no idea how to do it other than copy-pasting from the Character map app. I mean, I know there are ways, but all are unwieldy. – Save dialog: start typing, I expect to enter a file name but it appears to start a search.

Better than expected: – the USB-C port works great, driving my large LG monitor – no problems driving an external monitor through DVI and an old VGA-via-USBC adapter beamer at the same time – overall speed and snappyness

Roy Scholten

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