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

Attn: John Warnock
c/o Adobe Systems
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110


I am writing this to you because of all the people on the planet, you are quite literally the only person I know of who could make what I am about to ask for a reality. But before I get to my request, let me please start with a few words of thanks.

I hope I speak for all designers when I say that without question, your contributions to the world of design through the technology of PostScript and the subsequent business you built in Adobe Systems, has quite simply changed the face of design. You’ve made the life of designers everywhere on the planet more fulfilling and have given us the tools and technology to progress our craft. Through Adobe, you’ve given us the gift of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, and countless many other creative applications that have become the core tools for our profession.

On a personal note, I’ve been privileged to have had the dream job early in my career at the company you built. That opportunity provided me the room to grow in my craft in ways that I never could have imagined before going in. Adobe is in my blood.

I will never forget the processes and methods in which we worked to create software, the care we took to provide the best tools we knew how to make, the collaboration amongst some of the smartest engineers, product managers, business executives and designers around. All of that creative energy ultimately is a direct result of the culture and company you built.

I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to work on the creative products that have shaped a generation of designers. I would never have had that opportunity without you. I never had the chance to thank you personally for it and never quite understood just how important it was to me until recently. I’d like to thank you now.

Given everything that you have done, everything that you have contributed to the world of design at large, I’m hoping there’s still one more thing you’ll be willing to do. I’m hoping you’ll be willing to help the design community fix the world of typography on the Internet.

As all designers are taught by their mentors, Design is communication.

In that vein, I’m hoping you’ll agree with me that since typography plays a critical role in the designer’s ability to communicate, it is of the upmost importance that communication on the Internet not be relegated to the likes of Arial for future generations to come.

I know there are many issues involved to solve the typography problem on the web. Having been involved in the conversations at Adobe about these issues, I know this more intimately than I care to. And while there are difficult technology and political hurdles, I don’t think that means there isn’t one small gesture that could go a long way towards to helping to solve the problem.

So let me finally make my request:

Please consider releasing eight to twelve core fonts into the public domain. The amount of revenue lost from a small core set of fonts surely can’t have a significant impact on Adobe’s bottom line. And the gesture of releasing such a set into the public domain would have many positive ripple effects for years to come.

I’m sure many designers have a different list of what those eight might be. I know my list would include the likes of Adobe Caslon Pro, Adobe Jenson Pro, Franklin Gothic, Frutiger, Futura, Gill Sans, Helvetica Neue, Univers and your new namesake, Warnock Pro. I know other designers would have a slightly different list. I’m not sure what is the best way to determine a list of core fonts, but I know I’d be happy if you sat down with the typographers from Adobe and made the decision amongst yourselves which fonts would be deserving of becoming part of the core set for the next millennium. I’m sure I’d agree with whatever Robert Slimbach and the other typographers at Adobe would choose for such a set.

By releasing a few core fonts into the public domain, the next step would be get both Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer to include these fonts in the Mac and Windows operating systems, including them into their next system updates. If the fonts are public, I don’t see how they could refuse to do so.

While creating a set of core public domain fonts does not solve the problem of digital rights management inherent in distributing font technology across the web, it goes a long way towards providing designers the tools they need to fulfill the promise of communication on the Internet.

Given the importance of the Internet in our everyday lives, this would have a significant impact. That impact cannot be underestimated.

I am asking every designer I know to send you a similar letter as the one I’m sending to you right now, whether they do so in printed form or with their own blog. I’m hoping they too will thank you first for what you have given them and then make the case for releasing a core set of fonts into the public domain. I’m hoping that they will ask their fellow designers to do the same and create a grassroots movement to get this core set of fonts released, for all to use, for all to cherish.

The Internet is indeed the modern day printing press. In that regard, the quality of our communication is now being restricted partly by the quality of the default set of fonts available on Mac OS and Windows operating systems. For someone like yourself who adores and appreciates the importance typography plays in our daily lives, I’m hoping you’ll find some way to make this small act of charity a reality so designers everywhere can have a better chance to deliver on the promise of the Internet as the modern communication medium.

I’m hoping you’ll make it happen because I think you’re the only person who could.



Andrei Michael Herasimchuk

Attn: Mr. Bruce Chizen
Adobe Systems
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110

Attn: Mr. Steve Jobs
Apple Computer
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014

Attn: Mr. Steve Ballmer
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399



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