Making the invisible visible
Remembering Hillman Curtis.
Some deaths take your breath away. They surprise you with the intensity of emotion they have the capacity to provoke. The recent death of Hillman Curtis did just that to me.
I’d lost track of Hillman’s career in recent years other than knowing he was primarily working in film, rather than web where I first encountered his work. His book, Making the Invisible Visible, came at a time in the early 2000’s when there were still very few places to learn and understand our craft. It legitimised what we do, contextualised it, gave it rigour and discipline. It captured my imagination and the imagination of many, many others, changing how I thought about the web and my grounding in design. Jeffrey Veen’s ‘The Art and Science of Web Design’, and Zeldman’s ‘Designing With Web Standards’ were similarly influential. Curtis, then, like the two Jeffreys, represented the pinnacle of what it meant to be a designer.
For Curtis to be dead at the age of just 51 from cancer is a tragic loss. Hillman Curtis was an amazing designer, writer, filmmaker. This short film really choked me up today. It’s beyond moving.
You were amazing Hillman Curtis.