Meet the One – Chris Coyier

by in Articles, Interviews
Chris Coyier

Introducing Chris Coyier

Today I have the privilege to bring you my interview with Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks, and to say "Introducing Chris Coyier" is kind of an understatement, simply because this "mild-mannered web designer" is renowned for his teachings of web design "tricks", and for his creations that inspired both the savvy and beginner among web designers and developers.

The Interview…

Q1. You are the "One" on SingleFunction this week, so, who are you really?

I feel like I should be ripping of my mask and revealing my true self to the world. Haha! I fooled you all, I am really…. Nope. I’m just Chris. Mild-mannered web designer.

Q2. What made you start web development/design in the first place?

It was just a natural progression for me. I’ve been a bit of a computer nerd since I was a kid, but I also really enjoyed art. I started going to college for Computer Science but I just wasn’t loving it. I ultimately switched to Art. And now, I do both!

Q3. What inspires you?

Mostly other amazing websites. That, and dreaming of early retirement and financial security.

Q4. What’s a typical day for you?

Very chill, just how I like it. I work from home, so my daily commute is just down the stairs to my computer. I spend the days working for the design company I work for, and my evening working on my other projects.

Q5. How does your "Command Center" look like?

Old photo, but it hasn’t changed much:

Chris Coyier Command Center

Q6. What operating system do you use?

I’m a mac fanboy. I don’t shove it down peoples throats, but I definitely think it’s the way to go. Once in a blue moon to I ever have any trouble with my computer. And even then it’s usually no big deal. The interface looks good, it feels good, it gets done what I need to get done, and doesn’t get in my way.

Q7. What’s the programming language you are most comfortable with?

I’m mostly an HTML/CSS/jQuery kinda guy. I know some PHP, and have written some small applications in it, but it’s certainly not my fortay. When stuff like security starts becoming a factor, I run and hide. I’ve worked on a number of apps in Ruby on Rails with Richard, so I’m comfortable designing in that enviornment, but definitely not coding in it.

Q8. What’s your favorite tool/IDE?



Q9. How do you start a new project?

Information gathering is the first step. Figuring out as much detail as you can about the goals of the project, so you can make sure to have those in mind before you start pushing pixels.

Q10. What’s your design philosophy?

I guess I don’t really have one? Maybe I should. Maybe I should make one up right now:
Design good.

Q11. What was your first website?

I’m sure it was for a college class. I was in a bluegrass band in college afterwards for years, I think one of my first personal projects was creating a website for that, which (of course) went through many iterations over the years. You can’t see it though, it’s long gone (that’s probably a good thing).

Chris Coyier MSB

Q12. What’s your favorite creation?

Chris has answered this together with the next question

Q13. What’s hot now and you would like to let everyone know about?

These questions I can answer together. I’ve really really enjoyed working on the web app Are My Sites Up. It’s a dead-simple service for notifying you if any of your sites go down. It is quite the complicated beast on the back-end, so it was a great challenge, and continues to be a great challenge, to design for the site ensuring it’s as simple and easy to use as it possibly can be, while working well and offering many features.

Q14. What’s next?

Oh, we’ll just have to see. Keeping chugging away on my current projects for sure. There is also a book I’m tinkering around with, no details yet though.

Q15. Being the One, what’s the one advice you would give to the wannabes out there?

Work hard. Being good at anything takes loads of time and effort. I also love this quote: - Pablo Picasso 3

Wrapping Up…

I sincerely thank Chris for giving his time to answer the questions of this interview, and I wish him all the best, hoping he can achieve his dream of early retirement; perhaps by coming up with a best seller book. 😉

For the fans of creativity and hard work, here are some links where you can get inspired by Chris’s creations and design:

And for those who need to get in touch with Chris, either leave him a comment here or "be his fwend" by connecting with him at the following sites:

Next week, same place same time, an interview with a self-employed web developer who is known to build sites in a couple of hours, so stay tuned…


  1. Jamie Robe
    March 23rd, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Nice interview. I was looking at Coda but realized it was Mac only. Looks cool, wish I could find a Windows version.

    Do you still play guitar? I play mostly Al Stewart songs. He did that “Year of the Cat” hit in 70’s but has a super wide array of styles.

    I will try out your website. Keep up the good work,

  2. Aline
    March 23rd, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Chris, great interview!
    my favorite site is Quotes on Design.

  3. Branson
    March 24th, 2009 at 1:53 am

    Chris has a great video tutorial series on css-tricks. Its amazing that this guy works full time and has spare time on the side as well to help so many others.

  4. Bogdan Pop
    March 30th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Nice interview!

  5. Sumesh
    March 31st, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Nice interview – I’ve been a long time reader of Chris’ CSS Tricks.

    That last line about next week’s developer seems a bit like Chris Pearson, so I’ll subscribe to RSS 🙂

  6. Chris Coyier
    April 1st, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for having me, oh great unknown “webmasterish” =)

    @jamie: Yeah I still play a bit. Mostly to an audience of my bedroom wall. I’m hitting a bluegrass festival or two this year though so I’ll be getting my chops back up. I’m more of a banjo player though!

  7. Nile
    April 7th, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Very good interview, especially on sometime who has very clean websites that are impressive. These are the people who should be plugged more often on twitter rather than those designers out for popularity without the hard work behind.

    Kudos to Chris for such wonderful and useful sites.