In February this year I launched the Better Web Type course. A few lessons about typography that would help designers and developers learn what typography is and how it can be done well on the web.
I created the course because I felt there was no concise way to learn the skills required to make typography an integral part of a web design process. The gap between designers and developers is still there and I haven’t seen many projects that are trying to address that. Better Web Type at its core is exactly that—it starts off explaining typography, how it works, why web developers need to learn about it and then shows them how.
I never really expected to make money from the project and I also never expected that it would grow as it did. So far, it has helped more than 15,000 designers and developers understand web typography and—what’s more important—enabled them to work together better.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the biggest fans and supporters of my work—Harry—sent me an email after he purchased my book for the second time, this time in the newly released paperback format (Harry if you’re reading, cheers!). He told me how much my work has helped him improve his and sent me a design he was working on. He got everything right: the contrast, the whitespace, the typefaces, the scale, the horizontal rhythm, the vertical rhythm, the punctuation… everything! It was a textbook execution of all the stuff I wrote about in the Better Web Type book.
There are two magic moments that happen in the process of starting your own business:
- when you sell your product for the first time and
- when you realise how helpful it is to the people who buy it.
The example I described above was clearly the second of the two. But unlike the first one, the second one can be a repeating event. I keep getting positive emails from people I helped so far. Sometimes people even send me physical mail like postcards, which I find pretty cool. 😝
Here’s my secret: yes, it’s really cool when someone buys the book and I earn a couple of dollars because of that. It helps me cover the costs of running this project plus a little something extra on top—something I can put in my savings. I still get excited every time someone buys the book, just like the first time it happened. But I get even more excited when I receive an email like the one mentioned above. It makes me happy to a point where it brings a tear to my eye. And with every such email I receive, with contrast to the book sale moment, this feeling gets amplified. I feel better about my work when I see how helpful it is to other people. And this is what it’s all about. It’s not the what or how, it’s the why. And my why is simple—help designers and developers understand typography and help them work together better. That’s it. It really is as simple as that.
If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you take a look at the Start With Why by Simon Sinek.
Because I never expected it to grow as much as it did, I also didn’t expect there would eventually be costs to cover.
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