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Why Whiskey and Aspirin?

Whiskey and Aspirin is a website about design, and although nobody asked for it, the site contains my thoughts, notes, and work on the subject. In the Joseph Mitchell quote above I was lucky enough to find a word pairing that suggests much that is vital about design—even more importantly, I discovered an available URL.

So what do “whiskey” and “aspirin” suggest about design? Please bear with the explantion that follows, or, better yet, just check out the chart at right.

Complimentary Opposites

Whiskey is art and aspirin is science, and good design demands the grace of both. Whiskey is romance and aspirin is prudence, and good design, like a sound marriage, profits from each. Whiskey is problem and aspirin is solution, and the practice of good design should reduce to nothing more.

Set a whiskey bottle and aspirin bottle side-by-side and you'll juxtapose the fraternal twins of serif and sans serif and the yin-yang of elegance and austerity. Look inside those bottles and you'll discover the contents embody many of the complimentary but opposite formal qualities designers must negotiate—dark and light, liquid and static, opaque and solid, big and small.

Most importantly, whiskey and aspirin represent both the good and the bad and the bad and the good. In design, knowing the difference is essential.

About Me

I'm currently the Director of Product Development at and live in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, a neighborhood I settled in after prolonged stops in San Francisco and Chicago.

In past lives I was an English major, an avowed vegan, a conference room rental assistant, and a cartoonist and occasional writer for the Chicago Reader.

Few things bother me more than rudeness and bad typography. We should all be polite and stop hitting the space bar twice after periods.

About This Website

Inspired by Jeffrey Zeldman's Designing with Web Standards, I coded this site in valid XHTML and CSS whenever possible. Also, I made a good faith (if not always rigorous) effort to follow the web usability principles outlined by Jakob Nielsen in his book Designing Web Usability.