Writing

Writing is essential to my day-to-day practice and creative projects. I've authored several tech books and written for many online and print publications.

Selected book covers
Book spread and Ulysses software
Simon Collison spills the beans on applying CSS to your web pages in this superb book. Thanks to his engaging style, CSS has never seemed so inviting, and the nuggets of coding info here make it an essential addition to your web design library.
— Net magazine review of Beginning CSS

For profession and pleasure

Writing has been a valuable skill throughout my career: words are a vital aspect of user interface and experience design; the right tone sharpens documentation; persuasive and thoughtful language assists the advocacy of best practice.

I enjoy writing about pretty much anything. I've authored bestselling books about CSS, I've written forewords and essays, and I blog extensively about art and music. I write almost daily and start each day with free-writing exercise to keep sharp.

Commissioned writing

Numerous print and web tech magazines have commissioned me to write, including A List Apart, 24 Ways and Net magazine. I've also written several book forewords. Below, I've shared a couple of favourite passages and linked to further examples.

Articles

The sheets held no written words, just lines, shapes, forms, colours. Initially, this almost frenetic scribbling appeared idiosyncratic, erratic, perhaps even arrogant. As proven by the eloquent explanation as we reconvened, it was structured, considered, and methodical. The entire room seemed in awe. To watch someone on top of their game is thrilling.Maturity and the Weight of Learning

Preface and forewords

The designers featured in this beautiful book understand the limitations and possibilities of the web right now. Their work is a song where compliance and innovation are harmonious; a dance where accessibility and beauty are partners; a relationship where careful planning and arbitrary brilliance are bedfellows.Foreword for Awwwards Best 365 Websites

Books

Apress and Friends of ED published my writing during the height of web standards advocacy in the noughties. The best-known of those books is probably CSS Mastery, co-authored with Andy Budd and Cameron Moll.

In 2006, Apress published Beginning CSS Web Development, my first book as a solo author. Reviews settled at 4.3/5 on Amazon with 65% five-star reviews.

This chapter invites both the table and the definition list to stay behind after school and explain themselves. It can be argued that the bad wrap isn’t their fault at all — they’ve just been hanging around with the wrong web designers.Beginning CSS Web Development

Recent writing

I particularly enjoy writing about personal experience, travel and popular culture. Below, I've highlighted a few passages where my intentions and my words got on well with each other.

His societal ideas are persuasive at a time when people feel ignored, and it's crucial we describe a future in which we want to live. We need democratised spaces for safe debate and imagination, and culture can facilitate that. I particularly love that his most successful work plays with reality but does not seek to deceive. There's much to distrust in our world right now, but Eliasson's art is fundamentally truthful: we witness the illusion, but we also see how it's done.Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life
The expansive views from the hard-won summit deserved my full attention, but cognitively I was elsewhere; present in multiple locations by way of a weak but welcome signal.Existing in four dimensions
Something is unsettling about them, a sort of otherworldliness. To look at the group is to know how they sound, and they sound like Manchester; they sound like the buildings. And those buildings and everything of that city, in turn, represents them. Their story is, according to Factory boss Tony Wilson, "the story of the rebuilding of a city that begins with them... cultural, intellectual, academic, aesthetic". They are the conclusion and the foreword, and they are hard to point at directly.This searing light...
There’s a lot of focus on songwriting and the violence and humour in his songs, but the conversation is most potent when it contemplates grief. The air is thick with our collective knowledge of Arthur’s tragic death, his son’s absence ever present. The conversation sometimes circles the subject, and occasionally takes an intoxicating plunge.Conversations with Nick Cave

Some more of my favourite posts from the last couple of years:

Future projects

I have, for some years, been tinkering with several ideas for writing projects. I'm exploring the idea of collected stories around art and emotions, place and self. I've made efforts to write better fiction, character and dialogue, and I'm hoping to identify a project for further work and possible publication.