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One of these days, I’ll get the new Design by Fire refresh live. Until then, this is the placeholder article.

If you are looking to find me on the web, here are a few quick links:

My run as the Desktop columnist for Print Magazine ended in 2010. It was great while it lasted. You can always find my past articles at Print’s website or better yet, go buy the magazine since it’s one of the few design publications that’s worth paying a subscription for in my humble opinion.

My most recent articles:

While I’m proud of the final results, I can’t take all of of the credit. I loved having editors and can’t sing the praise enough of mine, Caitlin Dover and James Gaddy. They took my words and thoughts and made me sound a thousand times smarter than I actually am.

Outside of that, here’s a quick list of what I think is still worth reading here at Design by Fire.

I have a lot of material I’d like to add to this sitting on my hard drive, but building a design company took more effort and free time than I ever imagined. Involution Studios is still going strong.

I also get a lot of questions about design education material, books and recommendations via private email. I figure I’d at least post my book recommendation to let folks see it.

This list represents what I consider the most useful and inspirational books on all manner of things Design. It covers a large gamut, from photography to illustration to art direction to type to color to fashion to fiction and back to interface design. There’s philosophical books on big “D” design here alongside with pragmatic books for every day work. I can guarantee that everything on this list is useful in the design of technology products in some way. If you grab anything off this list, you can’t go wrong.

There are a few books missing from my shelves these days that are not pictured. They are appended at the bottom. There are plenty more of course. Books marked with asterisks (*) are especially important in my opinion.

I hope you find these books as useful as I have.

My Bookshelf:

A simple reminder to always look for innovative, bright ideas.

Random artifacts for various design inspiration. Old maps, advertisements, brochures.

Type Selector by Michael Wörgötter

Secret Sense of Japanese Magazine Design
Art Director Confesses: I Sold Sex! Drugs & Rock ‘N’ Roll by Mike Salisbury

Process: A Tomato Project

Area 2: 100 Graphic Designers, 10 Curators, 10 Design Classics

Illusive 2: Contemporary Illustration and Its Context

PRINT Magazine, Desktop Columns by Andrei Herasimchuk. See the links at top.

Helvetica, Homage to a Typeface, by Lars Müller
Pictoplasma, Characters in Motion

Designer’s Guide to Color

Thoughts on Interaction Design, by Jon Kolko

Chip Kidd, Book One
The Cheese Monkeys, by Chip Kidd

The Elements of Friendly Software Design, by Paul Heckel *
The New Typography, by Jan Tschichold *
Interaction of Color, by Josef Albers *
The Laws of Simplicity, by John Maeda *
Discovering Design, by Richard Buchanan and Victor Margolin

Paul Rand, Modernist Design, edited by Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo
The Elements of Typographic Style, by Robert Bringhurst *

Making the Web Work, by Bob Baxley
Designing Visual Interfaces, by Kevin Mullet and Darrell Sano
The Essential Guide to User Interface Design, by Wilbert Galitz

The Idea of Design, by Richard Buchanan and Victor Margolin
Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds

Chip Kidd, by Véronique Vienne
Designing for People, by Henry Dreyfuss *

The Sandman, Endless Nights, by Neil Gaiman
Alphabets, Wim Crouwel

MTIV: Process, Inspriation and Practice for the New Media Designer, by Hillman Curtis
Basic Typography: Design with Letters, by Ruedi Rüegg

Dick Bruna, Boekomslagen, by Bert Jansen

Collage with Photoshop, by Russell Sparkman

Designed by Peter Saville, by Peter Saville

A Designer’s Art, by Paul Rand *
Thoughts on Design, by Paul Rand *

Word and Image: Posters from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, Edited By Mildred Constantine *

The Graphic Language of Neville Brody, by Jon Wozencroft

Paul Rand, by Steven Heller

Profile: Pentagram Design

Envisioning Information, by Edward Tufte *
Letterpress, The Allure of the Handmade, by David Jury
Tanaka Ikko, Graphic Master, by Gian Carlo Calza

Milton Glaser, Graphic Design, by Milton Glaser

D-Zone, Tztom Toda Editorial Design 1975-1999

Anything from Rosenfeld Media

Phred. The original sculpture used in the packaging design for Specular Collage from 1993, the first product I did the full interface design and product definition for on my own. Obviously, a sentimental artifact for me. This sculpture was created by Stephen Mockensturm, now of Madhouse in Toledo, OH. One of the best creative agencies out there.

Libretto, by Paolo Roversi
JAM: Tokyo-London
kaoshsawrinsespin, by Tolleson Design

Uelsmann: Process and Perception, by Jerry Uelsmann
Hong Kong Yesterday, by Fang Ho
Seeing Fashion by Melvin Sokolsky
En Passant, by Dennis Manarchy
The Apparitions, by RJ Muna
Japan, by Michael Kenna

Golden Gate, by Richard Misrach
California One, The Pacific Coast Highway, by Stephen Wilkes
Searchings, by Barbara Bordnick
Acid Bloom, by Ninagawa Mika
Gifts of the Street, by Sam Smidt

Not shown in photo:
Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design, by Jennifer Tidwell *
From Lascaux to Brooklyn, by Paul Rand *
Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type, by Kimberly Elam *



Standards rant

Repeat after me Separator Standards do not block, impede or otherwise hinder innovation. Businessmen, engineers or product managers who only care about how they want to implement technology or only care about their own bottom line are the ones doing the real damage in the larger economic picture.

Design by Fire strives to be as standards compliant as humanly possible in spite of the fact that those in charge of developing the technology, the browsers and the operating systems can't seem to to code to the W3C specification with 100% compliance.

However, even though I'm a firm believer in standards, I'm beyond sick and tired of trying to figure out what works and what does not work according to the W3C specification. So while I make every attempt to do the right thing, occasionally I'll just do what I have to get the thing working. In other words, if you run any Design by Fire URI through a code validator and find invalid markup or css, please don't bother sending me an email.

With that little rant out of the way, here are some good articles about the benefits of web standards.

And of course, there's Zeldman's Designing with Web Standards, which is easily one of the best reads from both a practical and technical point of view on the subject.

All of these sources discuss simplification of code, rapid development, smaller file sizes, faster download times, better accessibility for a larger set of users, easier code maintenance and platform scalability - all benefits of standards at a technological level. There's also some ROI discussion on using standards.

Really Simple Syndication is still a pain in the ass

Here's the RSS feed.

RSS Feed
Design by Fire RSS Feed

You should know the drill by now.

Andrei Michael Herasimchuk

Updated 2010 Separator The quick and dirty summary is that I am largely considered one of the first official interface designers hired by Adobe Systems. That is, the first one hired to do nothing but interface design across the professional product line. I worked personally on the interfaces for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign.


One of these days, I'll convince Adobe's legal eagles to let me write a book about all that I have been through while working on those products. I just doubt they'll agree to it in my lifetime. Until, then you'll have to be satisfied with the History of Photoshop, an article written by a long-time friend of mine, Jeff Schewe.


Director, Design Team bullet Twitter
March 2011 - Present

Sr. Director of Product Design
Applications bullet Yahoo!
September 2009 - March 2011

Chief Design Officer, Co-Founder bullet Involution Studios
July 2004 - September 2009

Project Lead, Adobe Lightroom bullet Adobe Systems
December 2002 - June 2004

Director, User Interface bullet ePeople
April 2001 - December 2002

Director, User Interface bullet Impresse
January 2000 - April 2001

Director, User Interface bullet Mambo.com
August 1999 - January 2000

Senior User Interface Designer bullet Adobe Systems
August 1995 - July 1999

Co-Founding Member, Director bullet Specular Int'l
June 1990 - August 1995


Having the opportunity to work on Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom has given me a chance to explore photography in way I would not have had access to otherwise. You can find samples of all my personal work on this web site, and unless otherwise noted, everything here is photographed by me.

For a short period of time, I was exploring a screenwriting career. I had a script optioned by Hyde Park Entertainment (a division of MGM), a studio that has since gone under. I even had an agent in Beverly Hills for a short period of time.

I enjoy playing poker on the side and find the game infinitely fascinating. I have made the final table in a few bigger tournaments. One at The Hall of Fame Poker Classic and the other at the Bay 101 Open, but no World Series of Poker bracelet for me yet. I have had the opportunity to play against some world-class poker professionals and have gotten crushed by them.

In my off time I play bass guitar and far too many video games.

Publications and Awards

Industry Awards bullet 1995-2000
Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign have won far too many awards than is possible to list here.

The History of Photoshop bullet February 2000
An article written by Jeff Schewe for Photo Electronic Imaging Magazine. This covers the history and development of Photoshop. A copy of this article can be found here in PDF format. You can also find another copy on Jeff's web site, Schewe Photography.

Design Graphics, Cover Story bullet June 1999, Issue 46
This article covered the work I did on the redesign of the professional product line while at Adobe.

Collage with Photoshop bullet 1994
This book features 14 digital artists using Photoshop and Specular Collage. I'm only mentioned in the prologue, but the book was created to promote Collage and what digital artists were doing with it at the time. I'm still fairly proud about the book and the work produced inside of it.


Amherst College bullet 1989 to 1990
Left Amherst College to start Specular Int'l

The Hill School bullet 1984 to 1988
College preperatory school.


andrei@designbyfire.com bullet To avoid getting tagged by my spam filter, be sure to create a meaningful subject line.

Colophon and other details

Design by Fire v4.0 Separator A quick overview of the design and implementation of DxF for those who care about such details.

Browser Support

If you are viewing Design by Fire in either Firefox or Safari, congratulations! You are experiencing Design by Fire in the manner it was intended. If you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 or less, you have my sympathies as you are getting a version slightly less dynamic. The reason for that is due to Microsoft's lack of support for the CSS property "position: fixed;" plus a few other things.

Get Firefox

Bottom line, Internet Explorer promises to fix these things in version 7, so in the meantime you can either download the beta for IE7 or switch to Firefox.


If you have purchased the Adobe Creative Suite, you should have Helvetica Neue installed in your font library. If so, then you are reading Design by Fire as it was intended to be read. For everyone else, you are either seeing Lucida Grande or Arial.


Clearly, Helvetica Neue is far superior.

As for the logotype of Design by Fire, it's set using the classic Bodoni typeface, complete with ligature for that extra flourish.

Content Management System

This version of Design by Fire is managed using WordPress. So long MovableType.

Copyright Information

Design by Fire is ©copyright by Andrei Michael Herasimchuk. All rights reserved.

You may not use any material, articles, logos, essays, technical illustrations, photos or any content from this site without expressed written permission.

Design articles

This page intentionally left blank Bullet Oct 31st, 2008

Keeping up with the Joneses Bullet Aug 16th, 2007

Introducing Spivot Bullet Mar 5th, 2007

The unfortunate death of Helvetica Bullet Oct 23rd, 2006

An Open letter to John Warnock Bullet Aug 28th, 2006

Convenient Lessons from An Inconvenient Truth Bullet Aug 2nd, 2006

The kids aren’t alright Bullet Jul 17th, 2006

The Culture of Fugly Bullet Jun 25th, 2006

Please make me think! Are high-tech usability priorities backwards? Bullet Oct 10th, 2004

Rebranding the World Wide Web Consortium Bullet Sep 30th, 2004

You say toe – may – toe, I say [expletive] that Bullet Aug 17th, 2004

Gurus v. Bloggers, Round 2 Bullet Jun 20th, 2004

Design Eye for the Usability Guy Bullet May 18th, 2004

Et tu, Brute? Bullet May 6th, 2004

I would RTFM if there was an FM to FR Bullet Apr 30th, 2004

The Art Center Design Conference, Part III Bullet Apr 27th, 2004

Gurus v. Bloggers, Round 1 Bullet Apr 9th, 2004

The Art Center Design Conference, Part II Bullet Mar 31st, 2004

The Art Center Design Conference, Part I Bullet Mar 29th, 2004

Redesigning Google’s search results page Bullet Jan 25th, 2004

Lifestyle articles

Welcome to the new school, same as the old school. Bullet Jun 19th, 2006

Bubble Boy at the Bay 101 Shooting Star Bullet Mar 1st, 2004

Beginner’s Tips for Poker Bullet Jan 31st, 2004

Crucial mistakes against Scotty Nguyen Bullet Dec 10th, 2003

Photography articles

Santorini in black and white Bullet Jun 17th, 2004

Santorini in red Bullet Jun 9th, 2004

Santorini in blue Bullet Jun 8th, 2004

The Art Center Design Conference, Part III Bullet Apr 27th, 2004

The Art Center Design Conference, Part II Bullet Mar 31st, 2004

The Art Center Design Conference, Part I Bullet Mar 29th, 2004

Party like it’s 1999 Bullet Jan 10th, 2004

An Oakland Rave Bullet Jan 10th, 2004

Random favorites from the shoebox Bullet Jan 10th, 2004

Portraits of Donna and Alexa Bullet Jan 10th, 2004

Politics archive

How terrorism works Bullet Sep 10th, 2004