June 06, 2004
Fresh looks everywhere
It must be related to the time of the year, new designs are appearing on many sites lately. This really became apparent to me when i was visiting Mezzoblue and Stopdesign the last days. Both looked different, but interesting enough, still familiar. Obviously Dave and Doug had the same thoughts on what to do with their designs. Taking off some weight, less graphical heaviness, more background.
I think we all agree that sometimes less is more. On a website rich of content and type, why would you need huge graphical elements that might distract your reader and draw away the attention? Clearly, a complex design and easily accessible content are not always easy to combine. Hence a simple layout and design that is easy on the eyes is favoured by many. I am definitely one of them.
Now, Dave’s and Doug’s sites even before have been sporting compelling and well refined appearances. Its to some degree a matter of personal taste if you like the new looks. Given that Doug announced that the current minimal design will be evolved into something less minimal soon its probably not too big of a change in the end.
I really like to see the progression. As they are good designers i know that what we will see won’t be bad, maybe different, but always on a high level. Its that constant evolution the world of art and design needs to continue to exist.
May 20, 2004
A few additions to the portfolio
Today i have added some things to the portfolio, as the site needs a little update. I also plan to get the photographs section running soon and some other little additions.
Things have been busy lately, with exciting and less exciting things, so i had to slow down with the website. Thats why i feel i need to try to catch up a little.
February 20, 2004
The new Mozilla Firefox branding
If you are just a little up to date with the web, then you have heard that a new milestone release of Mozilla Firefox has been available for a couple of days. The browser, going through another name change, previously called Firebird, together with the new name got a new branding. First thing to notice is the great new application icon, picturing a (Fire)Fox embracing a globe. A very good concept and wonderfully illustrated as vector art. The vivid colors really make it stick out of all the other icons in the dock/taskbar. The illustration was done by Jon Hicks, and over on his site he presents some information about the making of the icon.
After Mozilla Firefox has been the most advanced browser for quite a while now, it finally is given the sleek appearance that also makes it look as good as it is. Great work by the developers and designers.
January 15, 2004
Deep space exploration on your home computer
With the successful (and not really that successful) landing of the mars explorers launched by NASA (and ESA), there also is a big interest in findings. Pictures taken by the mars rover “Spirit” made it through the news, and it definitely is a huge success to be able to view the surface of the red planet in such detail. Pictures from earlier missions that just passed by the planet could only give an idea of how the surface really looks like. Now we will have to see what results the close-up examination of those rocks will reveal.
But not only can you look at some of the pictures taken, no, the scientists let us experience the real feeling of this mission. The software used to control the mars rover is available for download for all major platforms. You can also download the first data-package that contains images and data gathered from Spirit after its landing. You have several different views taken with the various onboard cameras. There even is a basic three-d rendering of the ground around the landing site that you can rotate and zoom. The high resolution images are definitely the most impressive ones though. Updates of new data are supposed to be released regularly.
Now if you need some help finding Mars on your stellar roadmap, then there is another really impressive (and free!) program that gives you a live rendered 3d universum you can freely move through and explore. It is called Calestia and has a real impressive list of features. Not only is it very comprehensive (at least it seems so to me :), but it uses some really neat visualisation that makes your space travel feel very real actually.
If you are at least vaguely interested in astronomy these programs should make for a few hours of excitement.
January 07, 2004
Standards and browsers - neverending discussion
Today at Mezzoblue.com, i saw a new discussion about the question of web-standards, and wether to ultimately stick to them or rather use the possibilities you are given by existing browsers and their pros and cons?
A consensus definitely is to keep the goal and audience of your work in mind when you design. But that apart, use any hack and trick you know to tweak the last out of your creation? Some people sure will do that, but no majority. Why?
You are definitely on the safe side if you indeed stick to the standards. At least to a good degree, as it is very probable, that future browsers and versions will also implement these standards and interpret your HTML and CSS the way it is intended. Chances are simply bigger that your design will live long(er) and prosper.
Sure, the odd hack is needed if things get tricky, but if we keep those scarce we save ourselves trouble, maybe later on. It usually is not so hard to find a way to make things look well on the major browsers.
So there you go!
Before i forget, happy new year everyone, and lets hope it brings many of them good things that we are wishing for and make our work easier and successful.
December 15, 2003
Design for the CSS ZenGarden
In an earlier post on this site i mentioned the CSSZenGarden as a good resource and example for css-based web design. It was this showcase of the many possibilities of CSS for styling and formatting web pages, while adhering to web standards and accessibility guidelines that caused me to redesign my own website using XHTML and CSS.
But the idea of contributing to this design collection myself has been there ever since. Now this has come true and i am happy to be part of the garden with a design called New groove.
It has been an interesting project and i started with a rough concept of the design in my head. I wanted to do something that had to do with music, so i came up with the idea of a lounge. I do like that kind of music, that might have to do with it. Furthermore i just started to dabble a little more with vector art and this was going to be the style i wanted to use. The art was done first for the bigger part and then assembled as a design.
The CSS relies on well supported elements without too much experiments. I was able to avoid any hacks, that means the CSS is really cross-browser compatible and is not using any special tweaks for some browser. Of course this is not always possible nor absolutely necessary, but it is a good thing not to need hacks which are sometimes causing problems as well.
I hope this design will be of some interest and help for those who want to explore the possibilities of CSS. Feel free to drop me a line if you have a question or leave a comment here.
November 27, 2003
Every once in a while i start browsing the web looking for some good websites for inspiration and amusement. Usually it is some link or the occasional discussion about good websites and resources on a forum. Having some interest in Macromedia Flash lately, i have been studying good examples of “flashed” websites. Despite the perpetual argument about the pro’s and con’s of the use of Flash, there is definitely a number of good uses and implementations that illustrate the unique possibilities of Flash. While it is true that we would not use Flash-based web interfaces on a busy news page, there is many presentations that really profit from the freedom of animation and interaction.
So browsing along i have been compiling this little list of websites done with Flash that show great design, ideas and just plain goodness. There are in no particular order:
Trevor van Mater: Plain and simple Navigation for a portfolio page, showing some real great illustrations.
Inkogroup - Webdesign: I like the idea of the presentation of their work layed out like a big puzzle and the visitor scrolling through the content, real smooth.
De-Contruct: A very different approach on the interface, solely offering the visitor a keyword search when entering the page. Funny enough, the most common answer to the question if they are looking for something special is “No”.
Vectorize: Website of a design agency, with an interesting apearence, little weird mix of colors, just on the verge of being trendy.
Organic: Very straight forward and business type of interface, but with some nice effects and ideas and an overall very pleasant and balanced appearence.