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April 01, 2004

Update: Yeah, it was all a lark. A gag. A joke, if you will. Poisson d’avril, everyone. Archived for your pleasure: Home Page, Entry page. Thanks for playing along, it was great fun.

If you’re really good, I’ll tell you how we pulled it off tomorrow. (references to Stopdesign below removed so Google doesn’t take this out of context. It’s all a joke, after all.)

I won’t spare the niceties: what [removed] have done is disgraceful and unprofessional.

For a so-called “Design Consultancy” to rip off the work of another for its own site shows a total lack of regard for others in the profession, and undermines — no, cheapens — the industry as a whole.

What makes this particularly heinous is that not two weeks ago, [removed] had the audacity to talk about CSS Theft in front of a packed conference room at SXSW2004. In one ear, out the other…?

A sad day for those of us working on the web. Please feel free to go over to [removed] and make some noise in protest.

Reader Comments

s t e f says:
March 31, 10h

You both are sick.

I don’t know which site I’m reading anymore.

Tsk tsk.

Ruth says:
March 31, 11h

(Already posted on Doug’s site, but here it is again:)

I can’t stop laughing.

Bardas says:
March 31, 11h

If you had any idea how disoriented I was when my browser pulled up the index …

A good way to start April. :-)

March 31, 11h

LOL. I have just deleted my bookmark to your site thinking it was wrong! Then I saw the words MezzoBlue at the top and started to think I should lay off the larger on weeknights.

Sneaky pair you and that Bowman fella.

March 31, 11h

Brilliant, and totally seemless. I read your post first in my RSS reader and thought it was serious, until I actually clicked over to stopdesign and remembered the date. (Actually it’s still the 31st here, compounding my confoundment)

ephi says:
March 31, 11h

why not the whole site?
I got a heart attack to see Doug’s layout at the index page.

Virginia says:
March 31, 11h

There need to be some Rules for Foolin’… in Melbourne right now it’s some hours past the Hour and I keep forgetting to maintain my skepticism… (Did you hear the one about Google Mail??)

Har har, though.

March 31, 11h

Haha, this is the best April Fool’s joke I’ve seen so far this year.

So, how difficult was it? Just a swap of the stylesheets, and a little tweaking?

LintHuman says:
April 01, 01h

You know, I think I prefer to see Doug’s content in Dave’s design and vice versa… All this time spent struggling to get it right and a swap solves all your problems!

More design swaps, please! How about / Zeldman? Apple / Microsoft?

Keep it up, amigos.

Dan says:
April 01, 01h

Is this a joke?

Or is it real?

Dave call the april fools already.

April 01, 01h

Aaaaiieeeeeee…. running away - mind twisted - getting dizzy - cannot stop laughing.

Great fun!

Pete F. says:
April 01, 01h


Definately needed to be done, especially with the hub-bub you’ve had to deal with over the Zen Garden, Dave.

Class, and the most original April Fool’s I’ve seen in some years.

April 01, 02h

Is it me or do both sites look even better now? Very funny, in a geekish kinda way :) Remember folks take a screenshot!!! Just to make sure you didn’t dream it and also we won’t see this again!

Jack says:
April 01, 02h

I vote that you leave this design around and make it accessible through a styleswitcher! Of course, I’m sure Doug would have something to say about that.

The real joke is that Doug has posted for 4 consecutive days now. That’s just too much wisdom to absorb.

Rimantas says:
April 01, 02h

I can only agree with Pete F. and all of you :)

Nick says:
April 01, 02h

very clever but i think you could’ve gotten a few more people to fall for it if only stopdesign had changed layouts (combined with the mezzoblue post of course)… although, if that was the case, doug probably would’ve received many o’ nasty email.

RE: liorean

Gmail isn’t an April fools joke. Hard to believe but real none the less.

Here is Google’s April Fools joke…

chris says:
April 01, 02h

the true flexibility of css design - being able to rip off other’s deeigns quickly and efficiently! congrats to you both, a really nice twist on the usual april fool hoopla.

April 01, 02h

That is funny and very cool indeed, good job!!

April 01, 02h

Fantastic stunt!
I have to admit I sort of fell for it while first and only reading Dave’s post (“No! This can’t be true, not someone like Doug Bowman, truely!”); the coin dropt fully when I saw Doug’s current “design” (Mezzodesign? Stopblue?).

At the same time a compelling demonstration of the true capabilities of CSS, of Zen Garden quality.

April 01, 02h

Good work guys.

ray says:
April 01, 03h

6AM + no coffee = mass confusion… this is no way to start the day… but you guys rule!

marko says:
April 01, 03h

Whoa! Here in our continent (Europe that is, LOL) is already a 2nd of April, so I opened this site a kind relaxed, thinking it’s over with a jokes..

Nice, guys!

Ben says:
April 01, 03h

Bravo! *applauds politely*

April 01, 03h

I want the full story of the night you guys got drunk and planned all this!!

It must have been at SXSW2004??

April 01, 03h

I would also like to think that this style sheet will stick around somewhere, but this little bit of text makes me think it wont happen;

“Design used with prior permission from Douglas Bowman” - from the footer.

April 01, 03h

p.s. your post now has more comments than his. lol.

Comment Count:
mezzoblue ‘in stopdesign’: 85.
stopdesign’in mezzoblue ‘: 76.

let the commenting commence! (as if they hadn’t got a few already)

compuwhiz7 says:
April 01, 03h

Excellent work and show… I chuckled for half a minute when I saw both blogs. :p

Doesn’t the “Design used with prior permission…” blip kinda give it away? ;)

April 01, 04h

Nice work guys! Had a good laugh…

Although you might like to know that your site was deleted from my browser’s cache after I go hit by the W32ValidXHTML.A virus ( )…

April 01, 04h

I love it!

amano.ncr says:
April 01, 04h

this is the first april joke i see today, and it’s the best i’ve seen ever.

Trent says:
April 01, 04h

My first thought was that that critical comment on Slashdot must have really hit home!

rat says:
April 01, 04h

dude, you’ve got some skeptical readers to deal with dude :-) better luck next time. (i guess us idiots on other blogs were easier targets hehehe)

Yannick says:
April 01, 04h

LMAO, hilarious.

April 01, 04h

Think of all the first time readers who are going to come back tomorrow and…that’s when the real fun starts ;D

April 01, 04h

Best. Aprils fools joke. Evar.

I’m still laughing, I think this was done brilliantly well, good karma to both of you for this great joke!

However, I do wanna know… who came up with the idea? :)

April 01, 04h

Let me just say…Holy shit! I can’t stop laughing and I thank you both for a wonderful way to start April off - with a big smile and a hearty laugh. Cheers!

Malarkey says:
April 01, 04h


That has got to be the funniest thing I have seen (since I looked in the mirror this morning!)

April 01, 05h

What you guys should do now is chew each other out in the comments. “Them thar’s fightin’ words…”

April 01, 05h

Nice job.

Although I must say I like mezzoblue in the stop-design better than the original mezzoblue… Tsk?

Jann says:
April 01, 05h

Excellent. Only decent gag so far today.

April 01, 05h

LOL. You guys are just too good. This is one of the most funny things I’ve seen in a long time! I agree with all the prior sentiments - this has got to be the best April fools joke ever. :D

April 01, 05h

You sick, twisted, brilliant freaks :D
Reading the excerpt in my RSS reader and then clicking to get the full scoop smacked me in the face like some rediculous circus act.

Soon from mezzoblue:

“CSSBlogGarden” apply any style sheet to any blog…

Bob Cieszkowski says:
April 01, 05h


Right up there with Stern’s joke this morning.

Ed says:
April 01, 05h

You got me… Awesome AFD joke.

August says:
April 01, 05h

Very excellent foolin’, indeed! I can’t stop laughing!

mattymcg says:
April 01, 06h

Ha ha ha! Nice one. I wonder - who spent more time tweaking?

duane says:
April 01, 06h

You got me for a bit there… I was so outraged and confused that it took a minute to kick in. Deliciously devious! :)

James says:
April 01, 06h

Brilliant! Just brilliant. You have seriously demonstrated the clear superiority of CSS in terms of flexibility and efficiency.

What a move!

Sites like yours have inspired me to embark on my own journey to become table resistant, css compliant. I am currently reworking all the designs I have published so far.

Great idea!

feather says:
April 01, 06h

Brilliant doesn’t even cut it… this is simply outstanding, from two of the best minds in the business today. Great stuff gents…

April 01, 06h

Sick, Dave… Absolutely sick. That is freaking hilarious.

pea says:
April 01, 06h

too funny. i knew there were going to be a lot of april fool’s day gags on the net today and yet i still did a double take when the site loaded.

just beautiful.

Andrew says:
April 01, 06h

Very nice. for a second i didn’t recognize stop design’s interface (although it looked familiar) and i thought “oh. it’s jsut a redesign” hah. good joke though. way to start the day

April 01, 06h

Argh! my head!

I can’t cope with all this bouncing back and forth. I feel like I have watched to much cricket. Must stop taking these drugs, becuase I am seeing things.

Keith says:
April 01, 06h

OMG. Which one of you came up with this? It’s absolutely hilarious. Nice work.

Andrea says:
April 01, 07h

Did you notice the comment at the bottom of Stopdesign Home page? “Design used with prior permission from Dave Shea.”

vanderwal says:
April 01, 07h

An outrage. I can see tags were copied too. Doug is using Div tags, which directly copies you.

April 01, 07h

This theft makes me sick. So unoriginal and uninspired.

Mike says:
April 01, 07h

Oh, s**t!!!!!!!!!

You know when I first double-clicked in from NetNewsWire, I didn’t get it. I thought I landed on stopdesign’s site by accident even though the link I was clicking on said mezzoblue.

Supa freakin’ cool guys, still provin’ to the community that y’all are the man!

April 01, 07h

Love the cleverness of this :-)

Thanks to you and Doug I had a great laugh!

Zelnox says:
April 01, 07h


Tom says:
April 01, 07h


This is probably one of the best online April Fool’s Day joke ever!

Will K says:
April 01, 07h

Fricken’ hilarious! Took me a second or two, and I roared when I saw Doug’s site.

Actually, I kinda like your site with this stylesheet, Dave… you oughta’ think about a redesign… ;-)

forgetfoo says:
April 01, 07h

man, is this some kinda crazy joke or something?

if so, it’s really effin hilarious! :D hahahaha

….if not, then, let the flame’n begin. i like mine well done.

liorean says:
April 01, 07h

Heh, this was the first AFD joke I saw today - and I didn’t get it was a joke until the Gmail joke reminded me of what date it is.

Krockmitaine says:
April 01, 07h

The best April’s fool in years

blakems says:
April 01, 08h

Nicely done, it inspired me to redesign my site also on this day.

joey says:
April 01, 08h

you caused my seizure!!! I almost died!

April 01, 08h

My very first thought was “WTF?!?” but then I started laughing hysterically, provoking weird looks from coworkers *LOL* Best. “Redesign.” Ever.

April 01, 08h

My very first thought was “WTF?!?” but then I started laughing hysterically, provoking weird looks from coworkers *LOL* Best. “Redesign.” Ever.

beto says:
April 01, 08h

Picasso would be proud of this. LOL! More powah to j00!

afrael says:
April 01, 08h

Pure Geek Humor !

marv says:
April 01, 08h

You two are crazy…but very original, I had a nice laugh.

marv says:
April 01, 08h

You two are crazy…but very original, I had a nice laugh.

Linda says:
April 01, 08h

You’re both too funny! I really needed a laugh today! Thanks. :D

Stephane says:
April 01, 08h

I have both bookmark right beside each other, at first I though I just hit the wrong bookmark but then !!

I think you have too much time on your hand ;-)
Great gag.

Daedlus says:
April 01, 08h

I got to say, tis the best joke around. Now you get slashdotted. *Runs over to slashdot…*

Oh, and the secondary style, radarlarge, isn’t displaying correctly, but who cares?! :D

Brian G says:
April 01, 09h

This is freaking HILARIOUS! I was reading it at first thinking that Dave had finally lost it, then I clicked through to Doug’s site and it “clicked”. I did an April Fool’s joke on this morning, and I can still get fooled by other people. Good work guys. if anyone’s interested in seeing our little joke.

April 01, 10h

Right on guys! This is awesome! LMFAO!!

Hans says:
April 01, 10h

Wow. Upon reading your post, I fell for it, until I went to Dave’s site and his post gave it away. Beatifully executed! Amazing… I never thought designers could be jokers, too…

April 01, 10h

Nice redesign, Dave. ;-)

April 01, 11h

Thanks guys, great joke - yet still it shows the power of css based design.


Andrew says:
April 01, 11h

We’ll be good. do tell how you switched it all up, it sounds very fun.

April 01, 11h

Beautiful! Totally fooled - I was like what the hell… I don’t think there was any need for a post though. You would have had me going back and forth for hours……..

April 01, 11h

Sleep deprived and stressed and having to DO something before I leave for a conf… I checked Doug’s site… and had a FIT! I mean not only did I not get it… in the wee hours… but I shared with a colleague how completely… never mind! I fell for it.

Colleague DID write back to mention the date it is… More power to you(s)… back to the pile.

April 01, 11h

This does raise the issue that there’s a lack of standardisation in what we call our div’s. If there were more standardisation, swapping stylesheets would be much simpler.

April 01, 12h

Ack… Mr. Dave Bowman and Mr. Douglas Shea stealing each other’s design… what is the world coming too?!

April 01, 12h

This is so funny…

Good one, really good one…

April 01, 12h

Thanks. I needed a good laugh.


Jeremy says:
April 01, 12h

Oh… That is too funny. :D

Charles says:
April 01, 12h

Took me for a second, then I remembered the date.

April 01, 12h

LOL, very good, I went out and back in to the site thinking “But I don’t have a link to StopDesign in my online bookmarks”.

Please tell me it was done with just CSS files and images and no need to go hacking about with other stuff?!

Andy Mac says:
April 01, 12h

Marvelous, brilliant, a round of applause for both of you!

April 01, 12h

Absolute classic, guys! You had me LOL this morning.

Peter Carota says:
April 01, 12h

My browser’s been glitching all day, so initially I thought this was just the most spectacularly weird bug ever. I’m also nearing the end of an all-nighter. I must have sat here squinting at the screen for a good two minutes before figuring it out.

Too perfect.

dan says:
April 05, 05h

This confirms it.

We are nerds.


April 10, 01h

Damn thats great. was it really as easy as swapping stylesheets and making new logo graphics?