April 01, 2004 PST

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.

Posted by dave at 12AM

96 Replies: (add yours)


You both are sick.

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

Tsk tsk.

Posted by s t e f at March 31, 2004 10:57 PM §


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

I can’t stop laughing.

Posted by Ruth at March 31, 2004 11:02 PM §


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

A good way to start April. :-)

Posted by Bardas at March 31, 2004 11:05 PM §


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.

Posted by Paul Michael Smith at March 31, 2004 11:14 PM §


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)

Posted by Matt Ripley at March 31, 2004 11:22 PM §


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

Posted by ephi at March 31, 2004 11:22 PM §


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.

Posted by Virginia at March 31, 2004 11:30 PM §


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?

Posted by Michael Nutt at March 31, 2004 11:55 PM §


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

Posted by Jonathan Stanley at April 1, 2004 12:03 AM §


This is so funny…

Good one, really good one…

Posted by Subzero Blue at April 1, 2004 12:12 AM §


Thanks. I needed a good laugh.


Posted by Travis Cripps at April 1, 2004 12:17 AM §


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

Posted by Charles at April 1, 2004 12:36 AM §


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?!

Posted by Adrian Lee at April 1, 2004 12:38 AM §


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

Posted by Andy Mac at April 1, 2004 12:43 AM §


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.

Posted by Peter Carota at April 1, 2004 12:53 AM §


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.

Posted by LintHuman at April 1, 2004 01:15 AM §



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.

Posted by Pete F. at April 1, 2004 01:59 AM §


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

Posted by Rimantas at April 1, 2004 02:20 AM §


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.

Posted by chris at April 1, 2004 02:25 AM §


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

Posted by Mike Golding at April 1, 2004 02:29 AM §


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.

Posted by Ronald van der Wijden at April 1, 2004 02:51 AM §


Good work guys.

Posted by David Barrett at April 1, 2004 02:54 AM §


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

Posted by ray at April 1, 2004 03:00 AM §


Bravo! *applauds politely*

Posted by Ben at April 1, 2004 03:25 AM §


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? ;)

Posted by compuwhiz7 at April 1, 2004 03:52 AM §


I love it!

Posted by Joe Kaczmarek at April 1, 2004 04:12 AM §


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

Posted by amano.ncr at April 1, 2004 04:16 AM §


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

Posted by Trent at April 1, 2004 04:26 AM §


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)

Posted by rat at April 1, 2004 04:26 AM §


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

Posted by Shaun Inman at April 1, 2004 04:38 AM §


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? :)

Posted by Faruk Ates at April 1, 2004 04:43 AM §


Let me just say…Holy crap! 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!

Posted by Justin Goodlett at April 1, 2004 04:47 AM §



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

Posted by Malarkey at April 1, 2004 04:59 AM §


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

Posted by Chris Vincent at April 1, 2004 05:08 AM §


Excellent. Only decent gag so far today.

Posted by Jann at April 1, 2004 05:23 AM §


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

Posted by Ryan Brill at April 1, 2004 05:25 AM §


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…

Posted by mindlessLemming at April 1, 2004 05:44 AM §



Right up there with Stern’s joke this morning.

Posted by Bob Cieszkowski at April 1, 2004 05:50 AM §


You got me… Awesome AFD joke.

Posted by Ed at April 1, 2004 05:55 AM §


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

Posted by August at April 1, 2004 05:59 AM §


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

Posted by mattymcg at April 1, 2004 06:04 AM §


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

Posted by duane at April 1, 2004 06:17 AM §


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!

Posted by James at April 1, 2004 06:27 AM §


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

Posted by feather at April 1, 2004 06:28 AM §


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

Posted by Josh Williams at April 1, 2004 06:31 AM §


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.

Posted by pea at April 1, 2004 06:48 AM §


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

Posted by Andrew at April 1, 2004 06:49 AM §


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.

Posted by Phil Baines at April 1, 2004 06:51 AM §


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

Posted by Keith at April 1, 2004 06:58 AM §


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

Posted by vanderwal at April 1, 2004 07:21 AM §


This theft makes me sick. So unoriginal and uninspired.

Posted by tim jackson at April 1, 2004 07:24 AM §


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!

Posted by Mike at April 1, 2004 07:27 AM §



Posted by Zelnox at April 1, 2004 07:34 AM §


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… ;-)

Posted by Will K at April 1, 2004 07:47 AM §


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.

Posted by forgetfoo at April 1, 2004 07:52 AM §


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.

Posted by liorean at April 1, 2004 07:53 AM §


The best April’s fool in years

Posted by Krockmitaine at April 1, 2004 07:54 AM §


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

Posted by blakems at April 1, 2004 08:02 AM §


you caused my seizure!!! I almost died!

Posted by joey at April 1, 2004 08:03 AM §


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

Posted by Andrea Piernock at April 1, 2004 08:20 AM §


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

Posted by Andrea Piernock at April 1, 2004 08:21 AM §


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

Posted by beto at April 1, 2004 08:25 AM §


Pure Geek Humor !

Posted by afrael at April 1, 2004 08:33 AM §


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

Posted by marv at April 1, 2004 08:50 AM §


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

Posted by marv at April 1, 2004 08:51 AM §


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

Posted by Linda at April 1, 2004 08:51 AM §


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

Posted by Daedlus at April 1, 2004 08:56 AM §


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.

Posted by Brian G at April 1, 2004 09:38 AM §


Right on guys! This is awesome! LMFAO!!

Posted by DanieLTomaS at April 1, 2004 10:21 AM §


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…

Posted by Hans at April 1, 2004 10:28 AM §


Nice redesign, Dave. ;-)

Posted by Scott Johnson at April 1, 2004 10:49 AM §


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……..

Posted by Andrew Phillipo at April 1, 2004 11:20 AM §


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.

Posted by Carole Guevin at April 1, 2004 11:39 AM §


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.

Posted by Martin Lucas-Smith at April 1, 2004 11:40 AM §


Oh… That is too funny. :D

Posted by Jeremy at April 1, 2004 12:23 PM §


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

Posted by Bobby van der Sluis at April 1, 2004 12:45 PM §


Is this a joke?

Or is it real?

Dave call the april fools already.

Posted by Dan at April 1, 2004 01:19 PM §


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

Great fun!

Posted by Thomas Baekdal at April 1, 2004 01:34 PM §


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!

Posted by Egor Kloos at April 1, 2004 02:00 PM §


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.

Posted by Jack at April 1, 2004 02:18 PM §


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…

Posted by Nick at April 1, 2004 02:24 PM §


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!

Posted by marko at April 1, 2004 03:24 PM §


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

It must have been at SXSW2004??

Posted by Phil Baines at April 1, 2004 03:27 PM §


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.

Posted by Phil Baines at April 1, 2004 03:28 PM §


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)

Posted by Phil Baines at April 1, 2004 03:32 PM §


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 ( )…

Posted by John Magnus at April 1, 2004 04:11 PM §


LMAO, hilarious.

Posted by Yannick at April 1, 2004 04:31 PM §


Nice job.

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

Posted by Jarek Piórkowski at April 1, 2004 05:18 PM §


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

Posted by Andrea at April 1, 2004 07:09 PM §


Love the cleverness of this :-)

Thanks to you and Doug I had a great laugh!

Posted by Chantal Ide at April 1, 2004 07:34 PM §



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

Posted by Tom at April 1, 2004 07:41 PM §


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.

Posted by Stephane at April 1, 2004 08:53 PM §


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


Posted by Andy Peatling at April 1, 2004 11:02 PM §


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

Posted by Andrew at April 1, 2004 11:16 PM §


This confirms it.

We are nerds.


Posted by dan at April 5, 2004 05:29 PM §


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

Posted by Jeremy LaCivita at April 10, 2004 01:48 PM §

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