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First impressions

While evaluating some of my students first comprehensive attempts at online journalism, I got lost in links.

That hasn’t happened to me in a long time.

I had just opened Nadav Savio’s lengthy piece on Web typography (I think it’s the meme du jour), but quickly went into his blog antenna which lead me to, among other places, a Mark Bernstein piece and Eric Eaton’s Deliberate Design.

At his site, I found something that had inspired an unsuccessful hunt through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine a few weeks ago: screen captures of, and commentary on, five years of his designs for a variety of HotWired’s properties.

While wandering through the pages, I was struck by how much Eaton’s work had influenced me (there was even a version of done à la Wired News, circa 1996-7).

Even after five years, my design sensibilities reflect many of the conventions used in his work at Wired News especially. Although now popularized by Jeffery Zeldman, it was Wired News and Webmonkey looks that encouraged my ruled, low-graphic, text-positive bent.

Looking through Eaton’s portfolio was a clear reminder that—like everything else—your first experiences with something new are your most influential experiences.