Found in Inspiration
January 20, 2011
Mind-melting Design Inspiration, Week One
Roundups are awesome. Without the word inspiration, design would be extremely dull. There would also be one less channel on digital cable. I’ve rounded up a nice selection of items that gave me a warm fuzzy feeling all over. I also think its important to point out the good and the bad in each piece, perhaps just to force myself into experiencing a sensation of superiority.
Iron to Iron
I’m not normally a fan of the one-page brochure style site, but for some reason it works here. Beautiful textures and a perfectly subtle blend of colors make this design really stand out, but I’d still love to see it flow through to multiple pages. The highlight: the beautiful jQuery fueled “Services” section. A great way to illustrate the process that doesn’t overwhelm the user with buzzwords and lengthy descriptions.
Great texture and contrast. The copy argues the actual effectiveness of a site’s content. Ironically, the site manages to present a great deal of copy in a very organized, effective way. The only real noticeable flaw is more of a pet peeve- a bit of glitchiness on the initial load before Typekit kicks in. Favorite aspect: the fluid layout that increases the image size without breaking the typography’s overall integrity.
I LOVE this site. The perfect blend of modern design with a vintage flair. I really don’t have anything to complain about. Great choice of color, illustration, and typography. The layered paper effect usually strikes me as a little played out, but it works here beautifully without making the content feel claustrophobic like contained designs normally do.
I’m a sucker for a wood layout. I’m more of a sucker for it when the texture is effectively used as an element instead of just a nice background image. The inset wood sections really make the site pop. Especially the “Take a tour of Momento” section. I also appreciate the extra attention to the ribbon used as a title to make it a nice, organic element instead of a quick solution to designer’s block.
Ben the Bodyguard
Ben the Bodyguard is a great example of the future of brochure sites. The awe inspiring scroll/stroll down the street does a great job at illustrating the app’s various features. I’m sure we have a long string of ripoffs to look forward to, but for now, this is a great case study for effective product marketing.
There might be a little bias here since I’m a former Durham local, but McKinney’s clean, bold designs have always been a great source of inspiration for effective corporate branding. I’m also a huge Bad Penny fan, and McKinney did an incredible job designing the packaging for Big Boss Brewery. The agency’s extensive history developing media gives them a great opportunity to utilize their huge image header, which really grabs the viewer’s attention.
I’m a big fan of quirky illustration, if you haven’t noticed. Elegant Seagull’s mashup of bold patterns, delicate type, and rough sketches reminiscent of a Basquiat piece really work for me. Also, a series of extensive DNA tests confirmed the site’s claim of high levels of beard strength.
You Know Who
This site features a color combination I’m not usually a fan of, but it works surprisingly well. I love the use of vintage stock and big type, which makes the content very easy on the eyes. The only weak link for me is the logo (or perhaps just the way the logo is contained), which seems a bit out of place in an otherwise very strong layout.
I like this website for reasons contradictory to those of most other websites. Some sections initially felt “broken” before I realized the layout was intentional, but the reason the site inspired me was its effective use of very neutral tones, a sweet banner menu, and the creative way of displaying the blog archive, an effect that would be hard to achieve without the beautiful art and photography each entry features.
Lost World’s Fairs
Besides a very nice footer, the initial landing page for Lost World’s Fairs might seem a little… uninspired. Anyone who takes the time to click through the three featured links will enjoy the great use of typography and imagery. The Atlantis section specifically pisses me off with its excellence, since I had the idea to incorporate a similar elevator effect in a previous website, but just assumed it couldn’t work. Boohoo, right?
Galpin doesn’t need a whole lot of pretty pictures to make in impact. He seems to have quite a knack for speaking volumes with typography. The “process” flowchart is a beautiful break from the site’s common structure, and the seemingly unconventional color scheme fits in perfectly with the rest of the site. I wish the design would have been translated over to his Tumblr blog, though.
Never End Design
I’ll start by saying I love everything from the bottom of the header down. I would have liked the header more if the illustration and structure was a little more fluid with the rest of the site, although I love the little seeds floating around the layout. Ah, childhood nostalgia. I love the layout of the rest of the site, though. The portfolio page is especially striking, with each screenshot seemingly randomly stacking together around the case study. An excellent use of whitespace on every page.