Stuff & Nonsense product and website design

Blogging and all that malarkey

CSS Specisithity

Originally published in 2005 and updated in 2024, CSS Specisithity explains how to master specificity using Star Wars metaphors. It’s been credited with helping web designers and developers understand what’s often considered a complex subject.

Filed in Education

The popular Contract Killer template

Clarify what’s expected on both sides to help build great relationships between you and your clients. Contract Killer is plain and simple and there’s no legal jargon. It’s customisable to suit your business and has been used on countless web projects since 2008.

Filed in Contracts

Layout Love

I wanted a simple set of layout modules I could call on for design projects, so I developed my own. I call them Layout Love and rather than keep them to myself, I’m offering them to everyone to use which I hope will encourage people to make layouts which are more interesting.

Filed in Tools

Transcending CSS Revisited

I wrote my first book, Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web design, way back in 2006. It became a success and since then I’ve had countless people tell me it was influential in their careers. Transcending CSS Revisited is available to read online for free, with a new foreword by Rachel Andrew.

Filed in Books

52 weeks of Inspired Design Decisions

A weekly series of 52 website designs, influenced by inspiring art directors and graphic designers. Learn about the background to each design, the techniques and technologies used to implement it, and how it might inspire more compelling, creative design for the web.

Filed in Design

The story behind Art Direction for the Web

It took much, much longer to produce, and is itself much, much longer than I’d planned, but my fourth book, Art Direction for the Web was published by my friends at Smashing Magazine. Here’s the story behind how it happened.

Filed in Books

(Data) Protection Racket

Updated: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) templates can cost hundreds of Pounds, so I thought I’d turn my hand to writing a GDPR data protection and privacy policy in the spirit of my Contract Killer. This GDPR template is available to buy.

Filed in Contracts

Latest posts

Designing for Count Binface

“All water company bosses to take a dip in British rivers to see how they like it.” “National service to be introduced for all former prime ministers.” “European countries to be invited to join the UK, creating a new ‘Union of Europe.’” Who would disagree with policies like these?

Election 2024: Labour’s general election websites since 1997

Since, I suppose, the late nineties, every time a General Election comes around, the political parties roll out new websites. Having spent time studying Labour’s 2024 campaign website, I wondered what their previous election websites looked like.

Election 2024: Labour’s post-manifesto website

Labour has launched its 2024 General Election manifesto. With a campaign slogan that shouts “Change,” I’d expected they’d replace their lacklustre pre-manifesto website design with something which reflects that message. Today, they released a dramatically different design, which inspires and motivates people to vote for their plans. Just kidding.

Election 2024: The Conservatives’ post-manifesto website

The Conservatives launched their 2024 General Election manifesto. Its contents won’t come as any surprise to anyone who’s been following politics recently. Having no new ideas doesn’t mean their designers haven’t attempted to introduce a few of their own on the latest version of their website.

Question Time

A few weeks ago, BBC Question Time’s Fiona Bruce announced the programme was coming to nearby Chester, so I filled in the online form and applied to be in the audience. I completely forgot about applying until a researcher phoned me the day before the show and asked if I were still available. I was.

Election 2024: Imagining what I’d make if Labour came calling

So far, Rishi’s announced the general election to the soundtrack of Things Can Only Get BWetter, spoke to reporters outside the Titanic exhibition (spoiler: It sank,) was photographed under an Exit sign, and accidentally grew big ears after announcing a crackdown on Mickey Mouse university degrees. Yes, it’s all going very well. But, even with all these mishaps, Labour can’t take victory for granted. Sadly, their website design sucks. So, I imagined what I’d make if Labour came calling.

Election 2024: Imagining what I’d make if Count Binface came calling

In this week’s General Election campaigning, Reform’s Nigel Farage announced he’s standing for a seat in Clacton after promising everyone he wouldn’t stand as a candidate. Farage popped up on BBC Question Time, which, in fairness, promised they’d invite politicians from other parties. Speaking of novelty candidates, I hope the BBC will stand by their promise and invite someone with real common sense policies like Count Binface. The Count has obviously been too busy conquering the galaxy to get his website ready for the election, so I imagined what I’d make if Count Binface came calling.

Election 2024: Diving into party website designs

Finally, the UK general election campaigns are underway, and the parties are pushing their messages to voters. With the Conservatives desperate to cling to power, Labour anxious to seize it, the Liberal Democrats hoping for more MPs, and Reform looking to claim the far-right vote from the Tories, how do I think their website designs are fairing?

Twenty years since I rolled out the welcome mat

I missed the exact date, but a few days ago, my blog turned 20. I’m not up there with Jeffrey or Jeremy, who’ve blogged consistently for even longer—I neglected my blog for periods of time, and posting was often irregular—but still, here we are. It’s twenty years since my first post.

Inspiration and insights #3 — Richard Hollis, 20 years blogging, and more

From the newsletter: I missed the exact date, but a few days ago, my blog turned 20. I’m not up there with Jeffrey or Jeremy, who’ve blogged consistently for even longer—I neglected my blog for periods of time, and posting was often irregular—but still, here we are. It’s twenty years since my first post.

Disallowing Disallow

My earliest blog posts date back to 2004. There’s very little in them which is relevant today, and they’re full of dead links, which, I’m told, is bad for my site’s SEO. So recently, I’ve done two things to hide these posts from search engines.

One Footer in the Grave Episode 14: Scarlett Johansson is in the room

Andy, Jon, Marcus, and Paul are back—sooner than expected—for another fun-packed episode. They talk about who’s voice they’d each like as an AI companion, Apple,Apple’s new iPads and why devices are now so thin that they crack when Andy sits on them. Then, inevitably, they discuss what they think about the new Dr Who.

Inspiration and insights #2 — Stop using generic stock images and more

From the newsletter: Sue and I decided to scrap our planned long weekend in Yorkshire and instead drive to Germany to spend time with Alex who moved here last year. We swapped Yorkshire tea for German beer and drove to Mainz which coincidentally has the Gutenberg printing museum. It’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in this part of the Rhineland.

My new (old) blog roll and RSS

I’m tending and posting to my blog a little more since the recent redesign and as part of that effort, I’ve brought back two very old-fashioned things: A blog roll and an RSS feed.

Virtual Stan

I don’t remember exactly when—but it was around 20 years ago—Back in 2005, * Rob Weychert turned his (and our) pal Jason Santa Maria into a talking head of Jason’s alter-ego, Virtual Stan. Stan had a backstory, which I don’t fully remember, plus a robot pal called Zorthron.

CSS Specisithity

I don’t look at my analytics often, but after last week’s site revamp, I thought I’d check to see which pages were popular. Oddly, a post in my ancient archives about CSS specificity had been getting a fair few Google referrals, so I decided to spend a few hours updating that, too.

Design deja vu

This week, I launched Design Chatter. It’s a weekly one-hour Zoom call where like-minded designers can give each other constructive, friendly feedback.

One Footer in the Grave Episode 13: Votre saucisse est très plastique

The nerds of a feather are back for another episode. They talk about whether social media is now either dead or useless for promoting our work and whether old-fashioned email is replacing it. Paul explains his monthly newsletter strategy and how, for him, it’s replaced social media. Then, the boys discuss what they should do next, as they ’ ve (obviously) reached the pinnacle of their careers.

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About Andy

Hello. I’m Andy Clarke, an internationally recognised product and website designer and writer on art direction for products the web. I help product and website owners captivate customers by delivering distinctive digital designs.

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