What’s Hot in Web Design


Every day the internet grows around us like it was rooted with magic beans planted by Google and Microsoft. Maybe Apple and Yahoo have beans somewhere too, but they either didn’t plant the right ones or enough of them, I don’t know because this is not a blog about beans. This is a blog about what comes from magic beans, which is clearly websites.

Since we are all subject to the will of the internet and the internet is built by a bunch of geeks we are also subject to them. In particular our visual navigating experience along this wonderful sea of exploration is dominated by kids wearing X-Men underwear that work from 8pm to 3am with a break in there for Adult Swim. So we should probably prepare ourselves for some really dumb and/or trippy shit right?

Well for a good while that was true. From its invention until the 21st century the Internet was a pretty damn ugly place, but lets cut it a little slack, so were cars, clothes, and a lot of the people on MTV. But here we are, we have turned a corner and the design gods are allowing us to feast upon the visually stunning and beautifully heartwarming place that is the World Wide Web. So will you come along with me on a fantastic journey through the internet, and allow me to be your guide as we “ooohhh” and “ahhhhh” at all the vast goodness the webs best designers have to offer these days?

Sweet! It’s a Sunburst!

Yes, our initial inspiration comes from the most enlightening of sources, the sun! Just like people who are not vampires, a little bit of sun can give a website a nice healthy glow. But watch out! Back in the 70′s we were exposed too much and found ourselves burning out our own eyeballs with a vast array of contrasting neon colors, as if we had just discovered their existence. No, now in the more enlightened age of the early 2000′s we use complimentary colors and soft gradients to draw the viewer in and make them feel at home. Its almost as if mom is behind that sunburst baking your favorite childhood dinner.

Damn, that text is huge!

And it should be, because everyone on the internet is going blind, and faster than you think.

Just kidding. Somewhat. The truth of the matter is that web designers did find that users were having trouble seeing what they should be seeing on the page, so the clear solution is to blow the text up to be about 14 times larger than all of the other text on the site so you just can’t miss it! When done correctly, large type faces allow us to slow down a little bit and make sure we hit the selling points of the page we are visiting.

Image Isolation

A good image is like the best receiver on your football team, if you really want it to be effective you let it go 1 on 1 with the user. So these days designers are using those solid photoshop skills and cutting images out of their backgrounds like mad. If they are really good they even put a little fake shadow thing down below it, that way you think its more real!

Lightbox sounds dumb

Yeah, it might. But have you noticed how these days any time you click on an image or maybe even a video it pops up in this little window that somehow manages to be a window of its own but also still in the original web page, at the same time!? Have you also noticed how frickin cool that is? So its not a light bulb in a cardboard box, that’s dumb, why would you think that?

A lightbox will utlize javascript libraries and allow designers to build galleries and image pop ups without actually opening new windows and also without moving you from the page you were on the first place. Not only is it effective but it looks pretty cool too.

Wrap Around Banners

You probably missed it but there for a short while the internet was a little in love with 3D elements being located on pages. They looked pretty cool and all but for the most part the 3D trend has died out and all of the love is gone. It would appear that there are still some sparks there, but to the dismay of 3D at this point we are just faking it.

These days designers are going without the render times and learning curves of new 3D software and using Photoshop techniques to pull the same tricks with less work. Most often you will find this in the wrap around effect that makes it seem as though a partiular graphic is coming from behind the web page and wrapping around. The name of this technique has a better name than lightboxs. Sorry lightboxes.

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