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April 06, 2010

Beautiful Websites

I'm finally getting the website train rolling. It's a part of my declaring that this first book will not be the last; declaring a sort of grand opening of the professional enterprise of my writing (though I don't expect to ever make money off of it.)

So anyway, I'm collecting beautifully designed websites that can help me and my designer figure out what I want. I'm going to post some here, and please post the URLs of any websites whose design you love and would like me to see.


The Bold Italic: this is an SF Bay Area culture, events, and tips magazine. Very cool design in terms of visual aesthetics, and also in terms of how they intend the site to be used (see the icons on the left edge of the frame?) Too busy, though, and a little difficult to figure out what the different categories mean. Also a little too difficult to figure out what the website IS at first.

Cranky Girl Archive Project: this is a very old art project around family archives online. The aesthetics aren't really me, but I just love clicking through this piece. Nothing here that I can really use for my own website, but it belongs on a list of website I dig.

Snog: a great commercial site for frozen yogurt. It declares its target demographic immediately, and brands hard and fast. I love the single bright color and the sepia photos against the white backdrop. A bit stark, but that works for me in this context. Great choice of photos too. Also a bit too busy with the text. I like a clean, simple homepage.

Like Falcon, for example: this is the anti-splash page. Eyeball kick, but no splash. Just the image that declares what the site is about (yay!) and a much smaller company logo. The navigation isn't hard to find or use, but it's so small and held back that it is essentially not there, aesthetically. I also dig how, when you move into the site proper, the aesthetic impact reverses and you have a black background with machinery guts, and white text. I don't do white text, but it's a great concept: outside/inside.

Monty Lounge: I don't like too much text on the homepage, but I love this idea: the text IS the graphic element. The only image on the entire site is the (small) logo. On this homepage, the text is text, not linked. But this would be a great idea for a writer's website: using chunks of text in different fonts, sizes, and shapes to link to pages, to be a graphical navigation that was more radially oriented, or at least oriented in tables.

Finch: I like the simplicity of this design, with the huge logo, the small nav bar on the side, and the single paragraph of blog text leading directly to the blog. The more complicated navigation is below in the dark, so it doesn't look like the one page is too cluttered.

Seven Trees: I like the framing conceit on this one, and how it is continued in the banner top and sides inside the site. Not my aesthetic, but it works for this company and is good branding.

Matt: Although I don't like how this site works (log in, enter through only one link), I like the aesthetic here, and how the aesthetic works into how the information on the site is presented: the drawing, the torn edge, it all works together.

Great Works: I really like this website, but there's nothing about it that I want for my own. It's got too many layers of navigation, too many different levels of logo, too much going on. I don't like a homepage that you have to keep scrolling down on. But I think it looks great for itself and works well for its purpose.

Colourpixel: Love the bright colors! Love how the theme demonstrates the company's title! The designer has a lot of stuff going on on this page, but somehow manages to keep things in order and easy to understand and find. That's some talent there.

Jak & Jil Blog: This is just a blog, but I love the "splash page": the type and the chic simplicity of it. It's a photo blog, so it can get away with not having any images in its design. I love that it does that.


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