I’m very grateful to be living in this country called Canada, now celebrating its 150th birthday.

In my over twelve years of living here, I have found that the country’s kindness and warmth abounds and that, despite the generally freaking cold geographical climate, its friendliness gets expressed in many different and distinct ways. Mostly it’s in the conversations, populated with a lot of sorries, sureness, and substance. This friendliness is also embedded in the visual culture and history of the country, the shapes and symbols that together express the physical and psychic landscape we experience today.

While these lands have been inhabited by numerous peoples over thousands of years, Canada’s 150th makes it a relative baby among the nations of the world. In honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary, I thought I would share some personal and professional reflections on three important visual Canadian milestones.

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Happy Desk

The life of a web developer can be seen in two very different lights: If your glass is always half full like mine is, you spend your days breathing new life into static designs—making them usable, flexible, and accessible to the widest possible audience, and being as creative as possible within a project’s constraints. If you work at a great company like Manoverboard, the static designs you’re tasked with awakening are already great design, which means your end results are great too. Awesome in, awesome out.

If however your glass is always half empty, your days are spent stuck inside all day hunched over a keyboard with your eyes glued to monitors, coding pages and pages of nonsense, constantly troubleshooting and fixing things as you go. If you’re a half empty kind of person, don’t despair! Putting a little bit of effort into making your environment as pleasant as possible can go a long way. Read more…

For the past 6.5+ years I have been an integral part of the Manoverboard team. As Manoverboard’s longest running employee, I’m in a unique position to share some insights about this great company—how it evolved, and how it eventually grew to become the first B Corporation in Manitoba.

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Fightin' Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, widely credited with inventing the web in 1991, recently received the Turing Award. The prize is basically a Nobel for nerds—and it includes a $1 million in funds courtesy of our friends at Google.

The early and sometimes goofy web that Sir Berners-Lee created is now a sophisticated, trusted and (sometimes hostile) reserve of information, ideas, and communities. We are blessed to have this wealth of collected information and connectivity and owe much to Berners-Lee and those early assemblers of markup and extensive system planning. As many programmers will attest, code is debt; behind the entirety of the web are countless hours of design and technical thinking and development that cannot and will not ever be repaid.

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The Little Things

drew-post

I’m learning that what sets designers apart is their attention to visual details. I remember the first time I noticed bad kerning between letters. Once the uneven spacing stood out to me, I could never read that word the same way. As a student studying design, I’m learning the importance of these details. I see that it takes a trained eye to pick up on the little things.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending the past three weeks learning from, and working with the Manoverboard team. I’ve observed their attention to detail and ability to pick up on discrepancies instinctively, and as a result I’m learning to become more attuned to noticing these details myself.

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