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millsfield screenshots (2018)

It was the practice when I worked at Stamen to create a stand-alone weblog for every project we did. This is where we would post ideas and updates for clients throughout the length of a contract. We posted a lot of screenshots and over time these websites became increasingly valuable to the studio itself. They allowed us to see the evolution of our thinking as well as otherwise good ideas that didn't fit the needs of a project.

It's a habit I have taken with me ever since. When I was working at the Cooper Hewitt and then later at Mapzen we kept screenshots in Git repositories. Sometimes we made those repositories public as we did with the Who's On First project.

Since starting to work at SFO Museum I've been diligently keeping screenshots of the Mills Field project as it evolves. At the beginning of this year I sent last year's screenshots off to be printed and yesterday a 704 page book arrived in the mail. The entire whosonfirst-screenshots book for the three years between 2015 and 2017 was only 500 pages.

I wish I had done this for every project, ever. Live and learn. The books themselves are made with a little tool written in Go called picturebook. At its simplest you run picturebook by pointing it at a folder full of images and a PDF file pops out on the other end. For example, this is what happens when I run the command ./bin/picturebook ~/weblog/2019/01/30/something/images

picturebook is a mornings-and-weekends project so the documentation is limited. It is only one of many possible ways to do the same thing. It's also the place where I've been experimenting with purpose-fit books for specific things like Cooper Hewitt visit (and shoebox) exports as well as the or this... drawings, something I'll write about more in another blog post.