Random white images

More than 629 days ago I created a site called One Nothing A Day for an ex-colleague of mine who went freelancing; the thing I remember most vividly about freelancing is the fact that you can do nothing for long periods of time. I loved that. Hence this site. Every day it generates the word nothing, set in a randomish font and displayed in a randomish color. The font and the color are based on the date and the time. I was discussing this site with another colleague of mine, Maarten P. Kappert — the mastermind behind the first version of Minimalissimo, which was absolutely brilliant.

Minimalism

Maarten is an aesthetic minimalist, and we always joke about everything that’s not white. I even copied every post from his blog for a while, replacing his comments with criticism on everything that’s not white in the picture. We’ve been playing with the idea of extreme minimalism for a while now, so you may understand that we both considered the One Nothing A Day site to be inaccurate, to say the least. So we created a new blog.

Amor vacui

On this blog we wanted to publish white images. We tried search engines, and sites like Flickr, to find these images for us, but alas, there was no way to make sure that all these images were solid #FFFFFF. So I created the whole thing myself. Every night around midnight a cronjob is fired that generates a new, white image. Its dimensions are based on the last four numbers of the Unix epoch time, which will probably result in a unique image every day. In order to not distract the viewer, the images are displayed on a white background with — carefully measured — enough white-space between them. In a few years this will be a very very long page.

The details

A while ago on Twitter I asked people when they think a site is finished. Most people said never, which is often true, but Peter Gasston said that a site is finished when all supporting elements are in place; 404 page, icons, metadata, page titles. So we added a page title. I created a 404 — not suitable for people who are afraid of non-white. I added an enormous list of white icons of different sizes so you can all bookmark the site to the homescreen of your particular device. It will look wonderful. I even made sure that the code looks nice if you view the source, with plenty of white-space, so even nerds will be happy. In the source you might have seen that the images are perfectly accessible to everybody, even to people who can’t see them. The alt text neatly explains that it’s a white image of certain dimensions.

Follow nothing

Of course you can stay updated. The site has its own RSS feed, and all images are also posted on Twitter and Flickr. They should all get updated somewhere in the middle of the night, when it’s dark; when true minimalists need their dose of white images the most.

I had a wonderful day yesterday designing this whole site together with Maarten, with all these tiny details, with all the things in place. I finally created a true site about nothing. I created a website that looks white.