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Style watch - Elf M. Sternberg
Style watch
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a design and font queen. I'm not terribly good at it, mostly because I have no excuse for exercising my talents in my direction given the industrial nature of my current position, but I love watching other designers at work and admiring their portfolios.

Curt Clonigner has a book, Fresh Ideas in Web Design, in which he attempts to classify some common on-line styles. Mine is easy: I'm an HTML Minimalist. Everything must be done with CSS and Style; the content must stand on its own, arranged in such a way that the HTML content matches its semantic value, making it searchable and understandable, and it must degrade well. Javascript must be unnecessary (although it can be used as heavily as one likes to enhance the experience, so long as it in unnecessary for a viewer to acheive their goal). Flash is Teh Evil.

But there are other styles out there, and Clonginger documents: Mondrian, Grid, SuperTinySimCity, LoFi Grunge, PaperBag, Gothic Organic, Pixelate Punk, Drafting Table Transformer, 1950s Hello Kitty, 1970s DayGlo, HandDrawnAnalog, DustyCowboy.

I was thinking about that horrible church website and I was trying to come up with a name for it. And I have it: RolePlayingGame. Take a look. World of Warcraft. Hellgate 2038. The garish hypercolor art style, the dark backgrounds with contrasting text, all are there with New Birth Ministries. Anthore site with a similar but toned-down banner is KGoule, some designer guy's blog. The designer of that church site, Sharper FX, seems to definitely have this whole RPG style going for him in all the sites he's done, which is odd considering how much of his work is for churches.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: Synergy, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

5 comments or Leave a comment
brannonb From: brannonb Date: October 3rd, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Churches and role playing games are not all that different. It's all about suspension of disbelief.

Just one asks you to keep it up for your whole life.

nbarnes From: nbarnes Date: October 3rd, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not all RPGs subscribe to the same aethestics, though. Lots of people sneered at World of Warcraft's visual style. meowse actively mocked it for a while as cartoonish, garish, and unrealistic, but came around to liking it after playing the game a while. I feel that for a subject that's drawn with broad strokes and is more meant to set a theme and tone rather than act as the content, it works well.

I'd desribe New Birth Ministries' web as almost anime-inspired in design tone. The swooshTHUNK sound effects, soundtrack, and drafting board fetishism is right out of a lot of SF anime. It's got actual speed lines!
acelightning From: acelightning Date: October 4th, 2006 09:22 am (UTC) (Link)
An awful lot of those "new" styles would utterly fail the criteria of WebPages That Suck. The problem is, style is fun to play with, but it's too easy for style to get in the way of substance. Can users navigate a site easily, without having to play guessing games about the links? Can they find, and read, the information they're looking for? What's the relationship between the product, service, or person that the site is about, and the design of the site itself? If the website is meant purely as a work of art, then just about anything goes... but most websites aren't art for art's sake. Nobody's going to buy a car if the door handle is a piece of sculpture so enigmatic that they can't figure out how to get into the car. And nobody's going to buy a product if they can't figure out how to get into the website.
kenshardik From: kenshardik Date: October 4th, 2006 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I tried playing Newbirth MBC, but you can only play priests. What's up with that?
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 4th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Guidelines on making web sites as useable as possible, irrespective of who is reading it and on what device. As far as I'm concerned this is the design bible, enough said.
5 comments or Leave a comment