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I'm Jeff Couturier — a designer, developer and illustrator in Chicago. I also make comics, listen to punk rock and like to fall down mountains on a snowboard. I write about those things (and others) here.

Comic Work: Our Fair City

There is a truly amazing sci-fi radio drama out there called Our Fair City. They've done five full seasons of podcasts and are in the process of finishing the 6th season. It's one of my favorite things to listen to, right next to Jack Flanders and the Fourth Tower of Inverness.

Anyway, the kind folks responsible for making Our Fair City asked me to contribute to the 4th OFC comics anthology. It was like asking me if I wanted a million dollars, and I couldn't say "holy shit yes!" fast enough.

I've just finishd a 6 page story that will be published in January, when Season 6 drops. If you're familiar with the show, it's about Dr. West—but I don't want so spoil it. Here is a little preview of page 1.

Click the image to embiggen to a readable size.

You can also listen to when Sean, Bleu and I interviewed the creators of Our Fair City on our Universal Geek Podcast.

Paranoia, or good health

Getting my first flu shot today. It probably isn't an elaborate scheme to digitally tag the populace. Probably.

Or maybe it's government's own version of toxoplasma gondii. If, after the shot, I suddenly love politicians just put me down. Triple tap.

Rosetta & Philae

These are so good. It's great to see this as a modern, true, fairy tale. Watch these in full-screen, they're worth it.

Here's part 2:

And part 3:

Books

Fun stuff that was just delivered. It's like my very own designer's care package:

Paul Rand's book was out of print since the 70's and was just brought back, so I'm excited to dig in to that. The other books were all highly recommended by a designer friend, and I had some leftover Amazon credit to burn.

Looking forward to testing the new lens too. I have a Pentax K-50 DSLR that I love. But the kit lens that came with it feels a little slow, and it doesn't like anything other than strong, natural light. Hopefully this new 50mm will do better.

Design Perfectionism

A question was recently asked on Tavern: "Why isn't pixel perfection dead?"

Perfectionism in design is something I think (and soapbox) about often, so I answered. That answer was voted up as the top answer, so maybe it's worth sharing here.

Is pixel perfection dead?

Maybe not "pixel perfection", but that's not to say that perfection itself is "dead." Nor should it be.

Unfortunately the opposition to "pixel perfection" has also come to mean, incorrectly, that things we build don't need to look as good as their designs. The development process should work like a fabricator, not a meat grinder. And as designers, we have an obligation to know and work within the limitations of the browser or native platform we're designing for. If we do that then there is no excuse, other than lack of skill or sheer laziness, for building things that are less then perfect. Do the pixels themselves need to land within 1px of where they are in that Photoshop mockup? Of course not. But the build shouldn't be half-assed either. If a developer shows me a "finished" build that is missing all sorts of details, I won't accept some line about pixel perfection being dead. I tell them to go that last mile, and that "90% done" is not actually "done".

So is pixel perfection an outdated concept? Probably. Just don't use, or accept it being used, as a crutch for skipping details and cutting corners.

To expand on that, this applies to designers as well, not just developers:

I've seen it ("it" meaning, the use of "pixel perfection is dead" as an excuse to cut corners) from designers as well. When I see designers do it, it's often in the form of unfinished/unpolished designs. That is sometimes a design with shoddy alignments—two containers that are supposed to be of equal height that have been just eyballed and don't look right. Or type that has been slapped on the design rather than placed with care. In that scenario, the excuse is usually that these shortfalls will "be fixed during build." Sometimes they are, sometimes they are not. When designing something from which developers will need to extract image assets (like a web page or native app), that sloppiness just makes more work for everyone.

There are certainly times when a less than polished design is okay. It's not always okay, and the thing I try to teach designers (and developers too) is that precision and details matter. To do it right the first time, every time.

Nightcrawler

Last night's sketch: Nightcrawler in mid-BAMF

Looking at this a day later, I think his pose is a little too chill. He's in mid-transit through another dimension and should be in more of an action pose. I suppose this time he was just sitting on the couch and decided to teleport into the bathroom.

 
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