Centenario

“The Bauhaus was indeed a platform where all disciplines and possibilities could collide, a time and space for creative openness. The Bauhaus Block is the intent to intersect two distinct platforms such as the school’s and that of WordPress.”

Yes, that’s what the block does. No, it doesn’t do anything else. As frivolous as it may seem, I think these sorts of things are very valuable, because they help break the walls between design communities. The entire foundation of my design career was web community-based. When I was working in DC, I was part of this AIGA mentorship progrram, where I met Michael Bierut–and I didn’t know who he was. Or why he couldn’t shut up about this Massimo Vignelli guy. Then when I moved out to Austin and started working at IBM, got to study Paul Rand’s work for the first time, and things started to click in a way that no web design trends or even standards ever did. I didn’t realize how much of a Swiss poser I was because I didn’t even know what Swiss was. (I am no longer an active parishioner of Saint Helvetica).

The studio had hired people with a formal background to revive IBM’s design heritage, and I learned a lot from them. But it was no us-vs-them culture. Designing for the browser did not come naturally to a lot of them, and they didn’t know the web history and context around the way a lot of things were built, to so they were able to learn from me, too.

The first thing that came into my mind when I saw this block was the Mexican Centenario. Like the coin, the block is a commemorative experiment and celebration.

Centenarios mark something historic and feature the work of a significant artist or designer. They are made out of solid gold, but their value is limited to a few bucks. To use the coin as money would be missing the point.

The Bauhaus turned 100 years old this year. So go get a copy of the block, hold onto it, and just appreciate it, damnit.

Version 33

Back in the early aughts when I unknowingly started my web design career as part of a blog ring, every layout you designed for your blog represented a new version of your site.

Several of us Automatticians are dogfooding Twenty Twenty, the default theme for WordPress 5.3, as we approach the Gutenberg Block Editor’s first birthday (smash cake, anyone?). Twenty Twenty includes full support for the Block Editor, as well as functionality that narrows the gap between form and function. That’s all to say that it represents an exciting evolution for WordPress themes and the WordPress project altogether.

Since my design focus is on the underlying architecture of the end-to-end WordPress.com experience, it made sense to use it for my own blog and see how I can manipulate it. So far, it feels like being in a country where people speak a different language, but it’s close enough to one I speak. To me, this is one of the more exciting forms of awkward.