On the Subject of Me
I’m a multidisciplinary design and product leader living in sunny Philadelphia, PA.
I’m Design Director at Slate and recently lead a company-wide brand and site overhaul. I'm co-founder and Creative Director of A Book Apart, a boutique publisher of design and UX books with a library of 34 titles and growing—including my own, On Web Typography, and industry-defining titles like Responsive Web Design and Mobile First.
Over the past 18 years I’ve worked at design and web agencies, startups—including two of my own, news and media publishers, and spoken at dozens of conferences to thousands of people around the world.
Previously, I served as Vice President of AIGA/NY, Executive Design Director at Vox Media, faculty at the MFA Interaction Design program at SVA, and Creative Director for A List Apart, , and Happy Cog. I’ve worked for clients such as AIGA, The Chicago Tribune, Housing Works, PBS, The United Nations, and WordPress.
I have a deep love of learning, teaching, and fostering community around design.
About This Site
This site represents an experiment in art direction online. Rather than allowing what I write to flow from a content management system into the same page layout every time, I’ve created a system for fast design direction based on the needs of the content. Because it’s an experiment, sometimes a page might be a total disaster, or might not work in your browser. Please accept my apologies. This experiment isn't meant to shatter new depths of graphic design, but to find the voice in the visuals so that they can become an equal partner in the story being told.
The site is created with the best flavors of HTML and CSS, and uses ExpressionEngine for publishing. The body typeface is Chaparral by Carol Twombly, and Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson and FacitWeb by Tim Ahrens are used for subheads and supplementary copy. All fonts are served through the magic of Typekit.
My design sensibilities are heavily inspired by traditional print design and a passion for typography. I can sometimes be found speaking at conferences like An Event Apart, South By Southwest, @media, and Webstock.
I take an abundance of photographs, most often with a Nikon D90, but also employ a Panasonic Lumix GF1, a Polaroid SX-70, and a Holga 120 when it strikes my fancy. And yes, my full last name is “Santa Maria”.
- About Face, Typekit Blog, ongoing
- Advanced Web Typography, HOW Magazine, Jul 2010
- On Web Typography, A List Apart Magazine, Nov 2009
- Making Modular Layout Systems, 24ways, Dec 2008
- Type: The Secret History of Letters, Field-Tested Books, 2008
- Becoming a Digital Designer, Contributor, 2007
- Cheating Color, 24ways, Dec 2006
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Field-Tested Books, 2006
- Who Owns Your Portfolio?, Design In-Flight, April 2005
- Fighting Off Design Stagnation, Design In-Flight, Jan 2005
- Cure for the Common Font, SxSW Interactive 2011
- Big Web Show, Episode 30 Dec 2010
- Dialogue, by Steve Heller, Print Magazine, Aug 2010
- My Favorite Fonts, FontShop Spotlight, Jun 2010
- Humble Pied, Feb 2010
- 8 Faces Magazine, Issue 1, 2010
- Read Between the Leading, #15, May 2009
- SVA IxD Dot Dot Dot Lectures, Apr 2009
- .net Magazine profile, Sep 2008
- CreativeXpert Podcast, #24, Jul 2008