We’re all familiar with the standard conventions in website design these days – you know: banner, menu, maybe a couple of squares around the page to click on. But here I have selected seven websites that have just that bit of extra creativity which can make a site stand out from the crowd.
Creative Web Design #1: The J Peterman Company:
Uncommon fashion for men and women
This site opens up to a pretty standard layout – a slideshow dominating the page with quirky quotes on designer clothing-like painted backgrounds, above a few old-style shop advertisements to click on. Also the standard menu list on the left for departments. Nice-looking with an easy-on-the-eye colour scheme, reminiscent of a tailor back in the good ol’ days. Plus the time in three cities around the world – reflecting, I presume, the by-line Travelling the world to find uncommonly good stuff.
This site really does give the impression of class, fine style and a discerning palate – matching the types of things for sale (mostly clothes plus some interesting old items). A buyer would trust this site to deliver what it promises!
Creative Web Design #2: Pieoneers: Web Design Firm Canada
The opening page of this site is one big sort of ugly but endearing pie on a spaceship. Nerd points straight-up! Speech bubbles emanating from the pie list values the company believes in – rather than the expected areas to visit. Under this is the blurb of what the company actually does… ie specific web design areas. Under this (aided by a down-pointing arrow in case you don’t realise there’s more to scroll to) is another cartoon spelling out their standard development process. By this point we realise there’s even more to scroll down to and we find the spaceship/pie landing on the moon with a successful expression on it’s face! And contact details for the company.
A lot to pack in to one page – but do we really need to go elsewhere in the site? I find the cartoon quite ugly but memorable… There is more information on other pages if you need more details – like the technologies they specialise in, services they provide or examples of projects they are involved in. Well one project, anyway… which ends up being a standard looking website, at a brief glance…
Creative Web Design #3: Somersby Cidery: Cider producer
As a legal requirement in the UK underage people cannot enter a website of an alcohol vendor, hence the reason the opening page asks you for your date of birth. If you do put a birth date too young it tells you how many days I need to wait in order to enter the site… Different though, I must admit.
In the site (using my real birthday) we get a nice drawing looking like a pretty typical alcohol advertisement (stay open minded) plus a tiny please like us in the top corner… cheesy but cute I suppose… Then a grid-menu (with empty boxes! Preparing for the future or lazy design?) of the different products available. Plus the intriguing line tell me how to drink Somersby cider. Afraid I’ve been doing it all wrong thus far, I can’t resist… and get a pithy little message about ice and a summer mood…
Actually this site looks great, it’s just a shame they don’t really have anything to say…
Creative Web Design #4: Tommy: Design Agency
This is a great example of how to use a functional block style and still have a great-looking website. The 50s-esque font-colour-texture scheme really lends itself to this type of layout, plus the html 5-looking image rollover animations remind us that we’re dealing with modern, savvy designers. And the big advertisement, front and centre, of their Webby nomination too, of course.
A long vertical banner with a bold sans-serif newspaper font dominates the right half of this page – interesting use of what would usually be an annoyingly difficult block of text (that seems like someone is SHOUTING at me), but rather motivates me to scroll down the page to finish reading it. And it’s just a pithy sensationalized buzz-talk advertisement for itself – but done in just the right way.
Clicking into other areas reveals a simple silhouette theme which is remarkably consistent across the diverse variety of their clients. Great retro colours, easy on the eye and yet also beautiful and legible. A great example of effective creative design!
Creative Web Design #5: Leading Art: Online gallery
A stunning example of ‘less is more’, this one-page vertical scrolling website intrigues with a minimal design. Roll-over menus are simple and to the point – links lead down the page with a very smooth automatic scrolling. The static background in a neutral grey supports the art thumbnails – the bright colours throughout the represented artists are really brought to life.
The least commercial site out of these seven, the design of this site conveys a serious and genuine attitude towards the art it showcases. The absence of clutter and unnecessary distractions is a shining example of how a professional image need not be intricately complicated.
Creative Web Design #6: Anything But Perfect- Digital Art Store
The cute cartoon banner really draws attention to itself as this site loads – and really appeals directly to its target audience – teachers, tech-savvy women, pre and early teen girls. The second thing we notice is all the featured free printable items – again, all the things the target audience loves! In fact, it took me a few minutes to find anything to actually purchase… and still it seems like there’s more free stuff than stuff for sale. Inexpensive upgrades to the free things really – like the calendar with editable text, for example.
And somehow I went straight to the products without really reviewing the design… Clever design or coincidence? It’s really a simple wordpress-style theme but with such a consistent design approach that it becomes easily assimilated and the content becomes readily absorbed. And my ten-year old daughter would love a cute calendar with her name on it… See there I go again, into the products… clever hey?
Creative Web Design #7: Piliani Kope Farm: Coffee producer
You know it’s all about coffee here. Looking down on a table background with coffee paraphernalia all over it, a different perspective for the web does disconcert just enough to leave me staying on the site just that moment longer – a statistic goal achieved straight-up!
If you’re passionate about coffee, where it comes from, the ethics of production, that sort of thing, you’ll love this site. It reeks of contemporary coffee etiquette – images of real-life (cup, wood, leaves, beans, denim and singlets) – coffee grown by real people for real people. The home-produced iamge of this company is really reflected in the design of the site – nothing too fancy but more appealing than square boxes everywhere, plus the popularly recognisable Facebook and Disqus logos for comments and feedback. Familiar and genuine, just like the good people who grow and grind the beans… get the idea? Sometimes imperfections can be more reassuring than slick glitzy bling.
There’s no reason why websites have to be just run of the mill.