Commentary by John Gruber
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Week One Match Preview

When Styles Collide

The great rivalries in sporting history are more than just contests of talent and effort; they’re studies in contrast.

All-American baseliner Chris Evert Lloyd vs. Czechoslovakian net-rusher Martina Navratilova. Graceful, dancing Muhammad Ali vs. power-puncher Joe Frazier. Bird vs. Magic. Nicklaus vs. Palmer. Contrasting styles, which, when brought together in head-to-head competition, snap together like puzzle pieces and produce spectacular, unpredictable results.

We now add to that list Shaun Inman vs. Kevin Cornell. Designer/programmer vs. designer/illustrator. The cerebral vs. the visceral.

Is it true that devoting two years to the development of the web application Mint has left Inman's visual skills atrophied? So says one inside source whose name I promised not to reveal, who was Kevin Cornell. Is it true that the funnier the comic strip, the more fragile the psyche of the artist, and thus the more prone to crack under the pressure of competition?

We find out Friday. Please, maintain proper hydration levels throughout the contest - Layer Tennis is a thirsty game.

Shaun Inman

Shaun Inman is a designer and programmer in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His web stats app, Mint, is both exquisitely clever and exceedingly popular. It's like crack for bloggers. His personal web site and weblog is, which Inman redesigns -- splendidly each time -- on a seemingly weekly basis.

Kevin Cornell

Kevin Cornell is a freelance illustrator and designer. His illustrations are evocative, his designs are magnificent, and his comics are funny. His web site is, but the "" is a trick intended to fool the authorities, as Cornell resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

John Gruber

John Gruber publishes Daring Fireball, an intelligent and opinionated journal devoted to geeky things like operating system interfaces and just about anything that has to do with Apple. John has the ability to make complicated things simple and the enthusiasm to cut through the noise and get at what's what.


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Live Match Blog

Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion. jc-12.20

Thanks to all the players, commentators and fans who made Season Three of Layer Tennis a big success. And thanks to the crew at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all the folks at Adobe Creative Suite for making it possible. Watch this space (or sign up for Season Tickets or follow us on Twitter) for news about some special exhibition matches being planned and about Season 4. jc-12.20

Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four. jc-12.17

Here's how the voting works. Decide who you'd like to declare as winner and then simply tweet their first name following a hash mark. Either #mig or #noper and, this is important, also include #lyt in that tweet. We'll leave the voting open all weekend and announce our Season Three Champion on Monday. jc-12.12

Schedule and Archive

Find links to all the matches played previously and check on matches to come here.

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