Harry Cresswell

#177 - Less is more

Hey everyone,

Welcome to issue #177, it’s been a while, I know!

The past few months my focus has been occupied by a move from Germany back to the UK. With the pandemic and Brexit, it seems like a good time to simplify our lives and be in one place for a while.

On that note, I want to return to this email with the theme Less is more. Packing up for the move forced us to consider the importance of the things we own. We no longer have space for it all, so we had a big clear out of possessions that no longer serve us. It felt great to get rid of so much stuff.

I want to carry a similar mindset into life online, because so often I feel overwhelmed or distracted by all this stuff. Browser tabs, apps, bookmarks, feeds, tasks, the list goes on.

With less stuff competing for my attention I feel less stressed. It’s easier to focus, and I find I create my best work.

Thought provoking #

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” - Socrates

Dan Eden on how the rise of remote work and the constant need to communicate is costing us valuable thinking time. Thinking Is Work, so it’s important to get away from the screen, limit distractions and give your brain the time it needs to process information. After all, knowledge is often the primary capital.

“Digital has become too much about the creation and collection of content and data. We are flooding the present with so much content that we are diminishing our critical abilities to think, plan and design for the long term.” Gerry McGovern in Do not track.

Consume less, create more. TJCX on learning to write instead of submitting to the perils of modern technology.

Design and Code #

I Used The Web For A Day On A 50 MB Budget. Data can be prohibitively expensive, especially in developing countries. Chris Ashton puts himself in the shoes of someone on a tight data budget and offers practical tips for reducing a websites’ data footprint.

“The best coders in the world only know a small fraction of everything there is to know about coding.” A twitter thread from Jen Simmons.

The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML. Terence Eden tells a great story to remind us that not everyone has a big monitor and a broadband connection. And how simple technology often proves to be the most accessible.

Optimizing Web Vitals using Lighthouse. Finding opportunities to improve user-experience with Chrome’s web tooling.

Things by me #

Instagram on Hugo websites. Learn how to build a lightweight, GDPR compliant Instagram feed in under 5 minutes, using Hugo and Profile Page Images Loader.

Typography #

All you need is 5 fonts. Mataj Latin uses 5 fonts, a decision inspired by Massimo Vignelli 5 font philosophy. Choose your own 5 fonts and learn how working with constraints often makes you more productive.

Something to watch #

Tidying up with Marie Kondo. I’m not sure I’ll be watching the entire season, but one or two episodes is enough to get some great tips for organising your things.

This month I want to leave you with a question to consider.

What can you let go of to simplify your life, be more productive and feel less stressed?

Monthly Newsletter

Once a month I curate a newletter for designers and developers interested in CSS, Jamstack and keeping it simple. Check out past issues to get an idea.