Jason Zimdars

Product designer at 37signals working on Basecamp, HEY, and ONCE since 2009. Illustrator of It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work and the Prince Martin Epic series. You can find me on X, Instagram, LinkedIn and at jasonzimdars.com.

Pinned post from February 23, 2021

The first step is to start

Many people ask me, “How can I get started in web design?” or, “What skills do I need to start making web applications?” While it would be easy to recommend stacks of books, and dozens of articles with 55 tips for being 115% better than the next guy, the truth is that you don’t need learn anything new in order to begin. The most import...
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Pinned post from March 31, 2021

A love letter to the Kindle

In an age when Amazon is swallowing up the world and facing backlash (on a number of fronts) the humble Kindle increasingly stands out. Don’t get me wrong, Kindle's closed format and Amazon's antagonistic actions toward competitors and libraries are despicable, but I'd like to put that aside and focus on the hardware for now. You see, ...
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July 20, 2024

Prescient or evergreen?

Romano Guardini writing in 1956: “When traffic moves more swiftly, smoothly, will people really gain time? They would, if improved transportation meant more rest and leisure. But does it? Aren't people more rushed than ever? Don't they actually stuff more and more into the time they save by getting places faster? And when man does have...
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July 10, 2024

Decisions are hard

Ask anyone early in their career and they'll certainly agree that, "things would be better around here if I was in charge and called all the shots". But seasoned managers know better. Making decisions can be a huge burden—exhausting, isolating, anxiety-inducing. Who hasn't longed to go back to the days when someone else told you what t...
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July 8, 2024

Tools for builders

A few years back I made the acquaintance of a couple of local blacksmiths who were kind of enough to teach me the basics of forging over the course of several months. There were a number of things that attracted me to forging metal. The physicality for one. The heat, the feel of the metal under a hammer, and the fascinating glow of ste...
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June 14, 2024

Fasting is a super power

I've had a long relationship with the practice of fasting—especially intermittent fasting—but at the start of 2024 I decided to try something new: two 24-hour fasts every week on Wednesdays and Fridays. Nearing the halfway point of the year I'm happy to report that the results have been great. Let's take a look. Before we go on, don't ...
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April 4, 2024

Modern CSS patterns and techniques in Campfire

Recently, customers who have purchased a copy of ONCE/Campfire were invited to participate in a live walk through the app's CSS code. Campfire was built with plain CSS, fully #nobuild without compiling or pre-processing, and uses the latest web platform features available in evergreen browsers—CSS nesting, :has(), :is(), and :where(); ...
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August 28, 2021

Prince Martin and the Pirates is here!

The sixth book in the Prince Martin Epic series is now available at Amazon.com and Princemartin.com. We're really proud of this one—it's the longest book yet and has some of my favorite illustrations in the entire series! My friend Brandon Hale and I have been creating and self-publishing these books since 2017. They're written by Bran...
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August 13, 2021

Behind the scenes: Prince Martin and the Pirates

We're just putting the wraps on the sixth title in the Prince Martin Epic series so I thought it might be fun to share some art from the new book. Even more fun, the images below peel back the curtain, so to speak, and reveal some of the layers of sketches and line art that are done before the final color image. Prince Martin and the P...
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March 11, 2021

Re: Stuck? Do something.

It's interesting to me that this gets more difficult as I age. I remember distinctly as a teen that I chose to write and draw in pen rather than pencil. Yeah, it was somewhat obstinate of me but I thought of it as an act of discipline that would improve my work, forcing me to consider every word and line before committing it to paper. ...
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March 8, 2021

Character design

This weekend I made some progress on the character design for the villain in our upcoming book, Prince Martin and the Pirates. Going from nothing to something is the most difficult work as an illustrator—as any creator. But it's also the most rewarding, when that new character comes to life, and looks back at you. I'm really happy with...
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February 23, 2021

Why I work remotely (hint: it has nothing to do with productivity)

These are some of the things I can do because I’m fortunate to work for a company that lets me work from anywhere: • Hug my kids and feed them breakfast before they leave for school in the morning. • Greet and make a snack for them when they get home; hear all about their day. • Work from my favorite coffee shop. • Spend a week with th...
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