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21st of Apr. 2010

My Friend Yaron Schoen

By Trent Walton


Related links that inspired or helped me create this article.

For SXSW Interactive 2010, one of my main objectives was to pair faces with feeds, Dribbble and Twitter streams I follow during the week. Having recently discovered his blog, I was particularly interested in meeting Yaron Schoen. His pixel-perfect attention to detail inspired that ideal balance of admiration and design-envy. Have you seen his Happy New Year post or that starry night NyQuil layout? The engaging & mood-enhancing design each post is wrapped in always seem to set the perfect tone for the content within. Little did I know, a 20 minute, 2 1/2 block walk to dinner with my new acquaintance would escalate to a full-fledged labor of love side project before the fish tacos made it to the table.

5:10 PM

Hallway outside of 3:30 Panel, Austin Convention Center
A large group gathered to make the 2.5 block walk to the Iron Cactus for Dinner. Yaron and I start talking to about the interwebs.

5:13 PM

Exiting main lobby of Austin Convention Center
I let Yaron know about my initial encounter with his site & how much I liked his work. This immediately spurred a discussion where we began picking apart each other’s sites, citing all the things we wish we’d thought of.

5:16 PM

East 3rd & Trinity
Yaron looks at me and says, “You know, you should write & design a post on my site.” I love the idea and offer a swap.

5:20 PM

Trekking down Trinity towards 7th Street
We talk about how much fun this is going to be & decide that we think other designers might like to do the same. I suggest that we build a site encouraging designers to share space. Yaron immediately pulls out his iphone and pulls up WHOIS to search for a domain.


Waiting for a table at the Iron Cactus
After a few unsuccessful / unavailable domain availability checks, we decided to register Design-Swap.com and thus, our side project was born.

5:30 PM

Sitting on the balcony at Iron Cactus
Yaron and I toast the new project & friendship over a couple of gin & tonics.

Even as I sit here now, recalling these events, I am amazed how quickly both our friendship and the DesignSwap project materialized out of that one tiny piece of common ground—a love for web design.  From the beginning, I thought that the best part of our collaboration would be the actual articles & design we traded as a final product.  After all, I don’t take lightly the privilege of adding content to a site this great.  I’ve learned over the past month that, while I find the work itself a joy, the most enjoyable part has been the DesignSwap process.  Getting on Skype with Yaron to handle the business of the swap (ironing out specs, etc.) quickly evolved into us joking around, sharing screen shot progress and catching up on life in general.  In addition to facilitating the trade of CSS & psds, DesignSwap has facilitated a friendship. 

Comments (9)

So what do you think? The world wants to know!

April 21, 2010

Relating by common issues like having bowl cuts as kids is a good starting point.

Design swap is a great concept, great work!

April 21, 2010

This is a great idea! It seems more and more web designers are building a more elastic design to their blogs in an effort to try new things, experiment and stretch themselves. Working within someone else’s framework would be yet another way to throw something different into the mix and keep the challenge fresh!

I’m in!

Geert Melotte
April 22, 2010

Great concept, great designs, great execution, absolutely love it.
This absolutely encourages me to finish my personal blog and just have fun.

Thnx guys

Trent Walton
April 22, 2010

@Tim:  good call…  “My bowl cut and me” would make a great flickr group!

Really glad you all enjoy the idea!  Viva la Swap!

April 29, 2010

Really, really good concept…
You are amazing designers guys :)

Tinus Guichelaar
May 05, 2010

Great idea guys, I’ll be following this closely!

Ali Zulqarnain
May 09, 2010

Its a really great idea. Waiting for the next swap. Are there any specific dates for the swaps?

May 25, 2010

I suppose Dutch websites can’t be submitted?

June 02, 2010

Great you get along straight away :-)