Being Creative by Example. Introduction | WebReference

Being Creative by Example. Introduction

[Dmitry's Design Lab]
Dmitry Kirsanov's monthly column
March 1997
Being Creative by Example
Today's plain vanilla business site is much more artistic looking than it could be even 25 years ago (if, of course, the Web had existed in those times).  In the survey, we'll surf a number of sites of professional designers to see what the future of mainstream web design might look like.

The first thing to do before getting to work on a web site, be it the humblest in the world personal page, your business outlet, or even a paid job for someone else, is to surf as much as you can.  Even with a great talent you risk producing a flop if you don't have a good notion of what the Web is currently up to.

Probably the primary object of your examination will be the sites of your competitors, the ones that your site will be compared to in the first place.  You're going to find (if not found already) that the quality of design varies incredibly.  Just take any industry sector and go down through a fairly complete list of companies.  A few sites really shine; quite a number are a torture to designer's eye; the majority of the rest are best described as "average."

If you aim at something above the don't-have-anything-to-say level, then there's another type of sites that are a must to visit and analyze: the manors of established designers.  Those haute couture strongholds.  Design for designers.  Sites with an attitude.

If you are really interested in web design, the experience of pilgrimage to these sites may open your eyes on many things.  It is immensely instructive to compare "practical" sites where design is one of the means to communicate something with "artistic" presentations where the thing to communicate is design itself.

I add quotation marks around both "practical" and "artistic" to show that I use these words not to imply that the first are "dull" or the latter "useless."  In fact, some essentially "practical" sites show more artistic taste than some "artistic" ones.  Nevertheless, the contrast stemming from the different objectives is often striking.  In this article, I invite you to examine a number of sites of the "artistic" sort and to discuss some of their design features. 

The design aspects that I've chosen for this study are layout and typography where, in my opinion, the design-oriented sites exhibit the best of their creativity (see another article for a related analysis of the use of textures).  However, there's a lot I would like to speak about that's not covered with the chosen approach, so I will get back to some of the other aspects (the use of color, navigational interface) in the future installments.


Created: Mar. 23, 1997
Revised: Mar. 23, 1997