Heroes of the Web
4 November 2004
But there's some people that slip under the radar; whose hands go unnoticed in their manipulation of the World Wide Web. They mightn't have made as big a splash as the names you can read in the sidebar of every web design weblog – in fact, they might have disappeared without a trace – but their actions still echo through the routers and cables of the World Wide Web.
The person I'd like to nominate as my hero of the Web is that pixelacious pattern perfecto: squidfingers. You're probably familiar with Travis Beckham's work, namely his gallery of free-to-the-masses pixel patterns, but if the name doesn't ring a bell then you've probably been unconsciously affected by him when you visited this site, or this site, or this site, or this site, or this site, or this, this, this, this, and this.
I don't think Travis can lay claim to creating the first ever pixelated pattern, but the arsenal of eye catching backgrounds which he presents and allows anyone to use willy nilly is mind boggling. The accessibility and quality which he has brought to pixel patterns has played no small part in establishing their foothold in the current state of web design, whether it be the brief taste of his patterns in the sites above, or the inspiration that his minute meanderings give to other digital decorators.
Because of squidfingers and others such as K10K, the background tile has made a strong comeback in web design over the past 2 years and is now an integral design element on a vast number of sites – adding just the right amount of visual complexity to the 800-by-600-constrained vistas of our widescreen monitors. The aliased beauty of these patterns has also complemented a stream of design that prides itself on pixel perfection, be it through isometric artwork or through smoothly refined interfaces.
Travis Beckham, I salute you and your uber-hip pixel pushing.
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