An animation of an old Mac screen with the words 'hi' flickering in many different fonts

Allo! I’m Robin, a designer and writer from the UK but now I live in San Francisco.

A noteboard with several letters pinned to it

This is where I experiment with storytelling and browsers, rant about typography, and work in public.

A house, a home, a tree in the background

There’s many ways to think of a personal website but to explain how I see this place we have to go back…

A tiny Mac screen

…way back to 1987.

Windows on a computer overlapping one another

In the summer of that year, a proto-internet emerged called HyperCard. (Yes, this is how I greet people at parties).

The old HyperCard interface showing an app about endangered animals. A big zebra looks off to the right.

It was designed to help folks write apps—or “stacks” as they called them—and it was way ahead of its time. With HyperCard you could bundle stories and games together, or even learn how to program from scratch. It was a beautiful mess.

Computer interface elements bumping into one another in a big white space

I’ve always loved that word—stacks!—and it’s perfect to describe this website of mine: bundles of disorganized and chaotic gatherings of pure, raw stuff. It’s all so messy! And embarrassing! Don’t look over there!

An illustration of how HyperCard stacks connect and link to one another

Sure, my website is just a website about websites but if you look closely there’s a few topics in the stack that keep returning.

A laserprinter from the 1980s

First: reading, writing, and publishing—the shape of text on screens.

A series of books overlapping with the title 'Fonts' set in a serif font on the cover

Second: graphic design and web typography that’s all tuned in, with every flourish and detail cared for.

A bicycle for the mind

Third: figuring out how to organize folks to make punk rock software (if there is such a thing).

A calendar showing the year 1995 at the top

I’ll admit I’ve drunk the cyberpunk koolaid of 1995 and 1987 and every year in-between where networked computers were seen as an adventure. And so I still believe that websites can be as beautiful or, sometimes, even more beautiful than a handmade book.

A pixelated woman smiles in a tiny television

Just in their own way.

Wonky windows and user interface elements fly all over the place

My excitement here might sound unhinged since websites in 2024 often feel like a burden we have to endure. When we boot up a browser and dial in a URL, how often do we brace ourselves for impact?

A business card reads: 'Please wait. This business card is loading.'

It feels like we’ve collectively given up on the hope of making a new kind of graphic design or a new kind of literature along the way. Websites are boring now. The frontier has been seized. We’re too late.

'Nah, mate' in the center of a speech bubble
An illustration of several planets, from smallest to largest

I believe (perhaps naively!) that we haven’t figured out everything that a website can be just yet. The constraints, the screens, the responsiveness! Where does all that lead?

A retro illustration of a book

I reckon we haven’t figured out the web in the same way that great book designers haven’t figured out all the things a book can be yet, 500 hundred years after the reinvention of movable type.

A collection of folders

So everything about my work makes that argument in varying degrees of loudness: websites can and should aspire to be so much more than they are today.

And that’s what my website—my stack—aspires to be, too.

A stack of tiny cards