To find the colors again

Our new site introduces Uncommon in a slow, unique way. There is also an About page that gives a little more background on the idea and the people working to bring it to life, and a few other fun elements.

We started with a few straightforward ideas for the homepage and welcome experience, many similar to other fine sites. One weekend, though, Marius went skiing and on the slopes of Norway and had a clever idea. Hours later, the first sketches of what you see now were posted in Basecamp. It was clear he was on to something truly uncommon.

We iterated on the design and flow repeatedly, revisiting Robin Sloan's Fish essay for inspiration. Brad and I sketched ideas at lunch like we were storyboarding a movie. He took the lead on developing the experience, even creating an open source library called Magicio: the well-timed revealer.

The text required a poetic touch and Lisa wrote the perfect words. BJ's warm illustrations, familiar to Uncommon founders, found a new home. Icon and stamp requests arrived in etherbrian's inbox repeatedly and soon after, Basecamp would light up with inspired efforts. The rest of the site is a testament to how much Marius and Brad bring to their craft.

This is just the beginning, of course. We can't wait until founding members can add favorite things to the site and new people start joining them. We hope this peek into what's to come makes you smile, too.


Last week's dispatch asked, Which living author would you most like to meet?

Grant chose Paul Farmer.  "I'd ask how I could help him."

Asad chose Fernando Pessoa "because of the many worlds he created and nurtured and lived in."

Layne chose Paul Auster. "I admire his ability to invent stories that, even when inexplicably bizarre, still allow the reader to connect with the emotions, contradictions and humanity of the characters. If I had a chance to meet him, I would take him to my favorite bar and buy him a drink, hoping to spend a couple hours getting to know the person who has written some of my favorite stories."

Joel chose Michael Lewis.

Brad chose Neil deGrasse Tyson. "He has authored several books on the Universe and astrophysics for the lay person, including “Death by Black Hole”, and I think he's just great. His presence and eloquence are magnetic, even addictive. The amount of intellect, humility, humor and tact he deploys with ease are truly exceptional. He also happens to be somewhat of an oenophile and I trust we would have much to discuss and share about wines as well as the stars."

Adam chose George R.R. Martin, because he wrote this: "The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake. We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La. They can keep their heaven. When I die, I'd sooner go to middle Earth.”

Uncommon reads

"As every aspect of our daily lives has become hyperconnected, some people on the cutting edge of tech are trying their best to push it back a few feet." — Even the Tech Elites Leave Gadgets Behind by Nick Bilton

"Although Thirion has composed Faraway’s sounds, devised its gameplay, conceptualized its visuals, and programmed it all into existence, stopping there actually cheapens the scope of his ambition. He seems to view Faraway as an instrument as much as he does a game; every interaction, sound effect, and graphical flourish forms a note in a holistic chord that players experience from moment to moment." — Faraway: The Making of a Universe by Rob Dubbin

Your turn

What was the first website you loved?