It's not that I'm trying to prove that I knew he was cool before anyone else. It's more that I'm trying to prove to myself that I have good taste, and that it was worth it to remember his name.
You see, that original venue was the ill-fated 1000 Markets. You've probably heard of Etsy; 1000 Markets was the same idea, except, well, beautiful. Selling one's wares involved a few hurdles (the site was curated; your product photos had to look good, or you wouldn't be accepted), which ensured that any page on the site looked clean and professional. I loved the way my products looked on 1KM. I loved the way everyone's products looked on 1KM. It became the shop I sent people to, because that's how I wanted them to see my products for the first time.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, and 1KM URLs now bounce to Bonanza. Double-unfortunately, Bonanza is ugly (I actually just poked around after typing that, to see if their site design had improved at all. I thought for a few moments that I was wrong, and they had improved—it didn't look so bad! But then I found the mother of all reasons never to sell my wares there: all-caps extra-large comic sans. In three different colors. Granted, it was an individual seller's shop policies, but it shouldn't even be an option. I didn't go hunting for it; it was the first item I clicked on).
But, back to my impeccable taste. So, Frank Chimera had a shop on 1KM, and I found his art and loved it, and blogged about it in 2009. What I didn't know (until I don't know, today maybe?) was that Frank was also responsible for the beautiful site design of 1000 Markets. Chimero said, "Artisanal selling is the only model of selling things where there's delight on both sides: delight in making, and then delight in consuming. It's a transfer of delight."
It turns out, delight is a bit of a specialty for Frank Chimero. You may have noticed that everything in this post that can be a link is a link, except for Frank's name. That's because I'm making you wait for the delight. His newly launched website, and this other thing of his I found, are absolutely delightful. You need to see them. I promise they're worth the wait.
As far as I can tell, this personal / professional landing page doesn't even exist anymore—at least not in this form. Then, posted a week later, but it's possible I saw them the same day, was this mention of Frank's newly redone website on Swiss Miss.
So take a few minutes for the delight. Scroll down. Slowly. Maybe a few times. Then come back here, because I'm not done showing you the awesome yet. http://FrankChimero.com
Are you back? Are you impressed by that delightful scrolley business? OK, now go here: Frank Chimero's Lost World's Fair: Atlantis. Scrolling all the way to the bottom of a ridiculously long web page has never been so delightful!
There are many interviews with this design master out there, and all of them leave you wanting to be a designer if you're not one already, or to be a better designer if you are. He just wrote a book: The Shape of Design, if you want to delve deeper. This talk he did at the Build Conference is pretty good, too, though I think his audience is a bit of a dud: they don't laugh at his jokes!
One more thing I found impressive, though not at all surprising: almost all of the websites I could find that feature an interview with Frank, or his art, design, or ideas, itself is an example of great design. It's reassuring to see that the people who praise Frank Chimero the most actually know what they're talking about. They recognize great design because they strive to create it themselves.
Below are some of my favorite well-designed sites talking about Frank Chimero:
Oh, also The Mavenist is pretty awesome. Frank explains what it is here, using my all-time favorite exchange from The West Wing as an analogy. Can this fool get any better? Oh, wait, he's a Portland boy, so—yes, yes he can.