September 8, 2008

Walking the Guideline

Since its inception in May 2000, The FWA has continued to exceed expectations on the Internet by generating a groundswell of excitement for the best that the interactive community has to offer, and continually bring us inspiration per diem.

Rob Ford, the patriarch of the most visited destination in the interactive community, has now compiled a book based on the success of his website.

The title of this new book is none other than “Guidelines for Online Success."

Before I even opened the book I spent a good amount of time examining the design.

Taschen has always been a champion for not just great content but also beautifully designed books for the very community that contributes to them.

“Guidelines” is no different.

From the choice of color to the tabbed chapters and the glossy finish, this book had already impressed me as a true embodiment of what it was created for; to be a showcase for the most successful websites on the Internet.

When I first heard about the book before its release, I was a bit apprehensive about how overwhelming an endeavor it might be to undertake a project of this magnitude.

How could anyone capture the best of the web when the web is constantly out doing itself on a second by second basis?

The very impetus of The FWA is to serve as a testament of the daily evolution of this creative network we all contribute to each and every day.

As I began to examine through each page and peruse the various projects and personalities that made up this festschrift, I was immediately impressed by the selection of projects that captured a slice of time that served as a period in which the industry grew leaps and bounds.

This phase will forever be defined as a foundation of the many incarnations that the web will embody tomorrow and well into the future.

The book opens with a quote from none other than Albert Schweitzer, a man who nourished hope in a mankind that was even more profoundly aware of its position in the Universe.

“Success is not the key to happiness.
Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing,
you will be successful.”

What an apropos way to start off a book about an industry where happiness is often disguised with the sweat and tears of the toil that make up the sites in this book.

An industry that is still too new to have a defined set of process and rules; its bible being written at this very moment.

This quote is directed towards an industry and a group of professionals who are also profoundly aware of its new position in the universe.

Within the second paragraph of his introduction, Rob so graciously steps aside in order to spotlight the trove of talent he has collected.

By the time the ink dried at the printer, just as many websites have been launched that make the sites in the book look ancient. But perhaps that can also serve as a tribute to the veracious appetite the web has for creativity.

Surely Rob knew as he was compiling the sites showcased that they would all quickly be replaced by newer incarnations. Personally, knowing Rob, I am positive that his intentions were indeed to try and capture a slice of time where the projects would profoundly influence the culture of the web.

"Guidelines for Online Success" opens with an eloquent greeting by none other than industry darling and CEO of Big Spaceship, Michael Lebowitz, who introduces us to interface and design.

As a producer in this industry, this chapter resonated deeply with me as a clear and concise documentation of exactly what is important when formulating a successful interface and approach to design.

The second chapter covers marketing and communications. Martin Hughes and Jordan Stone of WEFAIL knocked me off my feet with their hilarious introduction to this section.

They pulled no punches in truly telling the story of the typical project drama.

Staying true to the WEFAIL style of web development, Hughes and Stone crafted a wonderfully written introduction that embodies the collective consciousness of the industry. Using their brand of humor, they eloquently set the stage for this very important chapter.

Each section following features one heavyweight after another, outlining for us the most valuable advice in the industry; how to achieve true success.

Each page is wonderfully strewn with powerful images of websites that have burned themselves into our minds as models of perfection, which all hold us responsible for outdoing at the onset of any new project.

The last chapter was introduced by none other than Freedom + Partners CEO and former Firstborn co-founder Mark Ferdman.

Mark ends off this book with a journey through the history of commerce from its very inception until its new cutting edge.

Just when you thought you knew it all, Lars Bastholm of AKQA then delivers an Afterword seeded with some of the most valuable advice you will find anywhere.

Lars’s ultimate conclusion is that in order to be successful online one must not only adhere to the tenets laid out by each of the super friends who contributed to this amazing book, but that one must also have a passion and be firmly integrated and active in the online community.

I want to thank Rob for this wonderful volume that will forever stand the test of time. It is a complete contradiction to the ever-changing nature of the web and in that lays its beauty and profound essence by capturing the very foundation of what makes a successful website.

I suggest you all go out NOW and buy this must have book edited by Rob Ford and Julius Wiedemann.

Get it online here.


Tim Nolan said...

The design of the book it timeless and top shelf.

Daniel Schutzsmith said...

nice....thanks for the heads up!