/** * @article Magic Numbers and Basic Math * * @since May 9, 2010 * @package About this site * * @tags meta-posts, * nerdliness * */
I put a lot of thought into the design of this site. Of course, I’m going to keep making changes, but this is what I’ve done so far. “Golden Apples” of course, is a reference to the classics. Eris’s apples of discord, Aphrodite’s apples of love, and the three Graces’ apples of immortality. All in their turn aspects of the sun.
But mythology aside, here are some mathematical thoughts:
Seven Column Grid
One of the things I love about math-rock bands is how they throw in a couple songs in some ridiculous time signature like 7/4 or 13/8, just for the heads. You watch the scene kids getting all confused and turned around trying to tap their feet along with the music, but they just can’t find the beat. I wanted to work on a grid so complicated it had about the same effect. The underlying system here is seven columns, 140 pixels each, with a three pixel gutter between them. Of course each column is padded internally with 6 or 12 pixels space, depending on the content size. Show/hide the grid.
There’s a lot of talk about the Golden Mean in design, sometimes to the point of obsession. I’m not using it consciously anywhere here, but looking back over the design it ended up working its way into a couple of places. My main text column spans 4 out of 7 grid column widths: when you add in the padding around the text that’s a ratio of 1.73. And the leading used in body text is defined at 1.55. Maybe there is something to this.
This is the album I had playing over and over while calculating all these figures: Hoover’s “Lurid Traversal of Route 7″. The sound quality in this live recording from the 2005 reunion show doesn’t really suggest how awesome the original album is, but it gives a sense of the feeling. Try counting the beats. (I think its basically a 9-beat riff, but I swear there’s a few extra pauses thrown in here and there.) I remember watching some of their shows in DC and Baltimore in the early 90′s, when the sound was so loud you couldn’t separate any of the instruments out from each other and the beat was so complex you had to concentrate just to follow. It has something of the energy of dub reggae, but its all chopped up so much, alternately drawn out and slowed down, that the feeling is completely different. A bit inspiring and exhausting at the same time to listen to.
So anyways, thats what I’m trying to do. Overwhelm and inspire.