Posts in ‘post’ Category

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  1. 03 May, 2023

    Bird Buddy

    A few years ago I got way into birds. I wouldn’t dare call myself a die-hard birder (yet), but it’s been a lot of fun to learn about the birds that show up in my back yard. I backed Bird […]

  2. 14 Apr, 2023


    Today marks the 1-year anniversary of Ziggy leaving us. We had a hell of a 2022 and so I’m only just now getting the opportunity to write about my best bud. Thankfully, I’ve had a year to work through my […]

  3. 05 Apr, 2023

    Choosing a name for your design system

    In what I hope becomes a series, I’ve been recording myself as I drive home from dropping my daughter off at school. Shifting away from more heady topics like AI’s impact on design and development, I felt like talking about […]

  4. 04 Apr, 2023

    The Quest for Meaning in an AI-driven World with Brad Frost – Lean Cast

    I had the great opportunity to chat with Behrad Mirafshar on the Lean Cast podcast. We covered a lot of ground about design systems and AI’s impact on the field of digital design. I really welcomed the opportunity to dig […]

  5. 30 Mar, 2023

    Retroactive Journaling

    I wish I was better at journaling. I love it and love having documentation of the things I’ve done, feelings I’ve felt, experiences I’ve had, etc. I just haven’t built the habit yet. I’d like to change that. While I […]

  6. 21 Mar, 2023

    Just do it.

    I’ve spent the last two years thinking about doing these two projects, and the actual effort to bring them into existence only took two weekends. I arrived at an important insight: if you find yourself frequently revisiting an idea you […]

  7. 16 Mar, 2023

    Some thoughts on AI’s impact on digital design and development

    I drive my kiddo to school in the morning, and my 12-minute return trip home is a fruitful time to think and prepare for my day. I had the realization that my little drive home is a nice window of […]

  8. 14 Mar, 2023

    I am an artist.

    Once upon a time, I had the word “artist” in my bio. Somewhere along the line, I removed it. Maybe it was because I was preoccupied with what I do for money. Maybe it was because I’m not a professional […]

  9. 08 Mar, 2023

    Some tools to help me focus

    I’m terrible at focusing. I flit around from task to task like a goddamn hummingbird, never stopping too long on one thing to make too much progress. Flow state? More like “no state”, amirite? I’ve got many legitimate things contributing […]

  10. 02 Mar, 2023

    The design system mindset

    There’s so much truth to this tweet by Masato: At face value, design system jobs look quite similar to other design/development jobs; designers use design tools to design stuff and developers use front-end code to build stuff. Design systems work […]

  11. 28 Feb, 2023

    Thoughts about mental health

    The mental health and vision analogy Stigma The mind/body connection Support Therapy Meditation and mindfulness Medication Psychedelics The big picture Resources Note: I am not a mental health professional, so take all of this with a grain of salt. Please […]

  12. 21 Feb, 2023

    Design systems in the time of AI

    It’s been absolutely wild to witness the rise of the new crop of AI tools. This moment feels equally exciting and terrifying, but given humans’ track record of driving promising technologies off the rails, I’m erring on the side of […]

  13. 17 Feb, 2023

    Thanks, An Event Apart

    Late last year, our friends at An Event Apart brought down the curtain of running conferences after an impressive 17-year run. It’s difficult to articulate exactly how An Event Apart changed the trajectory of my life, but it did in […]

  14. 06 Jan, 2023


    A pattern is emerging: even years are nightmare years. 2018 was a nightmare year. 2020 was a real fucking nightmare year. And now 2022 was a nightmare year. 2022 was a year of death, organizing chaos, once again putting our […]

  15. 17 Nov, 2022

    Layout & Grid in Design Systems

    Simply saying the word “grid” conjures up strong and confusing feelings. Kinda like puberty! With so much history and so many different (and sometimes competing) paradigms, it’s no wonder conversations around layout and grid are so fraught, confusing, and contentious. […]

  16. 21 Oct, 2022

    Let’s talk about web components

    Web components! They’re currently at the vanguard of web development and are a reliable source of hot drama in the community. We’ve built a number of web component-powered design systems with Fortune 500 companies over the last 4 years, and […]

  17. 06 Sep, 2022

    Back at it

    For the first time in my career, I took a relatively extended break from work. I’m just now returning after 6 weeks of being away, so I wanted to share some reflections from my time off. Here’s what I said […]

  18. 01 Aug, 2022

    A bit of a break

    In September of last year, I dragged my cursor across all of August 2022 in Google Calendar. I gave the calendar entry the title of “Time off?” A year later, I’m actually taking that time off! Which means that for […]

  19. 11 Jul, 2022

    The Many Faces of Themeable Design Systems

    Very rarely is exactly one design system created to serve exactly one product that expresses exactly one design language. Nearly all the design systems we’ve worked on require a high degree of flexibility in order to properly serve our clients’ […]

  20. 02 Jun, 2022


    This is the third time in the last four years that I’ve been forcibly yanked away from my normal life —both personal and professional — for extended periods of time. My nervous system is threadbare. My bones are exhausted. My […]

  21. 04 Feb, 2022

    Design system versioning: single library or individual components?

    You can version a design system’s component library as a single package (e.g. Polaris v8.0), or you can version each component within the library as its own mini package (e.g. Atlaskit Badge v15.0.8) This post breaks down the pros and […]

  22. 28 Jan, 2022

    Creative Process Lessons from ‘Get Back’

    If you get a chance to watch Get Back, do it. It’s absolutely incredible. It’s as close as anyone’s going to get to being a fly on the wall and witnessing The Beatles’ creative process. Here’s a taste: The Beatles […]

  23. 21 Jan, 2022

    Atomic Design and Storybook

    I had the honor to be the first guest on Storybook‘s new Storytime show with the great Michael Chan (aka @chantastic). We talked about the history of atomic design and the rise of the modern JS landscape, how directly-consumable UI […]

  24. 05 Jan, 2022

    Quick Tip: Peacock VS Code extension

    As a consultant who works in many client codebases, I love the Peacock VS Code extension because I can apply my clients’ brand colors to the editor UI. It really keeps my head screwed on straight since I’m often working […]

  25. 03 Jan, 2022


    There’s no doubt about it: 2021 was unquestionably better than the nightmare that was 2020. Of course, we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic that continues to throw a wrench into any attempt at living a normal life, […]

  26. 15 Nov, 2021

    Design Systems are for user interfaces

    We often talk about design systems as singular entities. “The design system saves time and increases quality.” “Oh, the design system provides that.” “Update to the latest version of the design system.” The reality is that a design system is […]

  27. 26 Oct, 2021

    Project Healthy Minds’ Guide for Healthy Minds

    Back in March, I shared that I started volunteering with an organization called Project Healthy Minds. PHM’s mission is three-fold: End the stigma around mental illness Get people access to mental health care Make mental health care an integral part […]

  28. 20 Oct, 2021

    “Dark Mode” vs “Inverted”

    One thing we run into a fair amount in our design system work is the need to clarify the difference between “dark mode” and “components rendered on a dark background”. What is actual dark mode? prefers-color-scheme is a CSS media […]

  29. 13 Sep, 2021

    BDConf & Mobilewood: 10-years later

    Subtitle: How a Wisconsin-based wastewater management magazine forever changed the trajectory of my life. In early 2010, I was hired as a “mobile web developer” at R/GA at a time when the iPhone 3GS was brand new, Android was still […]

  30. 02 Apr, 2021

    Roll-Your-Own vs Third-Party Design System Reference Website

    A design system’s reference website (such as,, and a slew of others) serves as the center of gravity for the design system. It rounds up all the design system’s ingredients and serves a watering hole for different disciplines, […]