Moreover, Boxes and Arrows sports an impressive range of articles for beginners to experts, written by some of the best minds in Design todayboth known and unknown. When I read the succinctly written introduction to key first principals like Visible Narratives, or learn about an advanced technique never-before shared, like free listing, I get a frisson of joy. (And that’s just last month!)
Sometimes lately in our profession, it seems like we are treading water, reinventing the wheel, going in circles—whoops, there I go. Boxes and Arrows seems to be apart from that (except for an occasional passionate thread in the discussion page). Paula Thornton, interaction design strategist, referred to us as “the community’s water cooler,” where designers gather to discuss what works for them. I believe these discussions are key to our profession’s survival and advancement. In the late nineties, we kept every innovation secret, as if the way we did a wireframe was the key to our companies survival…yet all it resulted in was thrashing—and the secrets eventually got out as people changed companies and shared what they knew with their new groups.
Boxes and Arrows was formed to break that code of silence, “dedicated to discussing, improving and promoting the work of this community, through the sharing of exemplary technique, innovation and informed opinion.” I think we’re making some progress.
Some fun facts about B&A
- It was originally designed to be a magazine for Information Architecture. I’m glad it’s not just IA.
- Yes, it was started after a three-dollar bottle of pinot grigio was consumed in the sun.
- I was going to be happy if it lasted six months.
- During pre-launch, the staff fought passionately over the definitions of IA, Design and many other topics. Yep, we do it too.
- Gabe Zentall of Carbon IQ designed our lovely site, and yes, we fought bitterly, changed our minds and vacillated until he was driven to distraction. Yep we did that as well.
- Hacking Movabletype to use as our CMS was not necessarily the wisest course of action for us, but it seems to be working out. There is a market out there for a CMS for small magazines, I swear…
- “Publisher” at B&A means you pay the ISP, debug Movabletype every so often and occasionally send hysterical email.
- “Technologist” means answering a percentage of those hysterical emails. Thanks Jay and Josh.
- “Editor” means you do almost everything else. The editors of B&A are Boxes and Arrows. Many folks don’t realize what editing does for writing, but let me tell you the reason B&A is more coherent than a collection of blogs is because of these hard working folks.
So, much love to the current editorial staff: Christy, Liz, Lara, Brenda, Ryan, and the queen bee visionary, heroine of a Chief Editor who makes this rag come out twice a month, Erin Malone. If you love this magazine, send them a thank you. They do it for free in their precious off hours.
Also special love to the midwife editor, George Olsen, without whom we probably wouldn’t have gone live in the first place.
Writing is painful, sharing your knowledge risky, yet you put yourself out there and I am grateful. You make me look forward to Tuesdays.
p.s. B&A is having a gathering at the IA summit after the events on Saturday (we’ll put up a flyer with the exact details). Meet us in the bar, chat with other readers, authors, the editors and, of course, myself. See you there!