This article was written in 2017. It might or it might not be outdated. And it could be that the layout breaks. If that’s the case please let me know.

An Atlas of makers

I created an atlas of people who make things. This was an assignment for my masters study. Well, the assignment was to make an atlas. I chose to make one about makers. The idea was that if I understand how and why people make things, that I better understand how to talk to them. What tone of voice I need to use when I want to educate them. To be honest, this atlas didn’t really teach me about tone of voice, so in that way I failed. It did turn out to be a wonderful little website though.

It turned out to be much more personal and intimate than I thought. I assumed that the portraits would result in more neutral observations. Observations like people use their hands for making, or musicians really value their ears. But it turned out that some results were surprising (the musicians I spoke to don’t care about their ears) and much more personal.

Maybe this atlas is of little direct use for my study. But I’m sure some interesting things will come out of it.

Technically it was very interesting

From a technical, and a design point of view I’m pretty happy with it. I used new CSS techniques I hadn’t used before, like CSS Grid layout, SVG’s with clippath, in combination with things I have used before, but are not used enough elsewhere like HSL colour, blend-modes and randomness.

The design

The final product needed to be a book. While I do like books, I prefer websites because blind people can read them as well — if they’re well designed. So I decided to use a 3d printer to print braille strips with a short URL on them, and glue these onto every page. This turned out to be much harder that I thought. And the final result was, well, how do I say this? It was ugly. The strips were much thicker than I thought. They were not as elastic as I hoped. They were not transparent. The glue made the paper all bubbly. But they were usable, and it resulted in the idea to use pieces of tape as a visual language, which I think looks quite nice. And which a nice technical challenge.

I used the incredible Nara font, both Nara Serif and Nara Sans.