The idea of owning your content is something that has stuck with me since I heard the phrase a few years ago. It’s part of the same cliche family as “if the app is free, you’re the product”, but as someone who works in a visual medium, owning my content is pretty important.
I’ve been putting all of these one-off illustrations out there on Instagram, but what if Instagram is gone tomorrow? Or, more likely, what if the feed becomes just a feed of reels instead of pictures? I make static images and I have zero interest in recording videos everyday. But I don’t want to lose all my art just because I can’t control the business decisions Instagram makes.
So! I put together an illustration archive mini site: Mal Draws Hashtags.
It’s a static site, rather then a WordPress site. I’m not going to update it that often so using Codekit’s build processes was a perfect solution. At Rocketkoi we use Codekit for local development, so I’m really familiar with it and their .kit language allowed me create a few includes so things like navigation are global.
I used system fonts, rather then a specific font being served via Adobe Fonts or Google, to help with page load. Pairing a monospace font with the system sans reflects the idea that this is a digital archive. Plus I really like monospace fonts and I never get to use them on client work.
The illustrations are grouped by the hashtag associated with them (hence the name, because I am clever) and end up looking pretty cool in a classic grid layout. The overlay UI on a project page is PhotoSwipe. I chose it because 1) I’m not going to build my own overlay and 2) it has a great URL changing feature so you can directly link to images.
It loads a little slowly, so I need to work on that, but it’s great to see all the pieces in one place. It’s a lot of work that I now have a permanent home for.