What design really sticks in your mind?

When was the last time you saw a piece of design which really ‘clicked’: where, for whatever reason, you felt such a connection that a little photographic impression of it has been etched inside your brain ever since? Have you even realised it was happening? I recently discovered that those questions can (and in my case have) shed new light on the direction I’m taking in developing my design brand.

I started thinking about this a couple of days before writing this post, because of a question put to me via twitter, completely out of the blue. I was asked to name the most inspiring website (for its graphics) which I’d seen lately. Immediately two websites sprang to mind, but then I did something crazy: I dismissed them and tried to think deeper. I considered going back over all the website designs I’ve seen in recent months, to decide which one was the most worthy candidate. Thankfully, that moment of madness lasted only a second before I realised that the original two websites had sprung forth from my memory banks for a good reason: because they’ve been in the front of my mind (or close to it) for several months now.

I fired off a response naming the two sites, and I’ll share them both here as well.

24 Ways

24 Ways

A simple, elegant layout using oversized type, web transparency, clear navigation and cool rollovers. Add the great concept of a blog presented in the style of an advent calendar, and you’ve got an innovative, stylish site from Jeffrey Zeldman.

Ali Felski

Ali Felski

In recent months I’ve spent a lot of time looking at websites designed specifically to profile an individual and their professional activities. Many thousands of blogs set out to do just that, but what really stands out here in my view is how the design conveys such a strong sense of character. Ideally all blog designs should reflect the people behind them as well as their professional activities (or interests if it’s a personal/special-interest blog). This site does so in a charming fashion.

So why have these two been so sticky? I suppose it’s because like many designers who blog, I’m thinking towards the next redesign of my site. While it won’t look anything like these two sites, I know that I want to create a design which reflects the best aspects of both: an innovative layout and design which reflects my character and professional direction. Each site has been bouncing around in my head for months. I’m very glad to have been asked a question which brought both into sharp focus and made my own rebranding priorities much more clear to me.

How about you? How would you answer the question: it doesn’t have to be a website, but which designs have really stuck in your mind?


  • inspirationbit

    September 29, 2009 at 9:43 am

    There are several web site designs that are stuck in my mind, on of them is http://www.delugestudios.com/
    I’ve been admiring their unique one page design and navigation for quite some time now. They also have an excellent portfolio under their belt.

    And don’t get me started on re-designing the blog, I’m already thinking about it, though at the moment I’m busy re-designing my business site, should be launching it soon.

  • chirpyfalcon

    September 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I’m a big fan of Red Interactive http://ff0000.com/ .

    The game-like chatroom has been stuck in my mind for a very long time now.

  • Tracey Grady

    September 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Deluge looks like they’ve put a great deal of thought into the layout and wording of their site. It’s structured well and has a great colour scheme which lifts the content without overwhelming their portfolio. I can definitely understand how a designer like you who is working on redesigning your business site would have this example in mind.

    Red Interactive is another site with loads of character. The chat room element is unusual for this kind of site, and an interesting addition. I think it would help if they added an explanation of the chat-room for new visitors who aren’t necessarily used to that kind of feature. It’s a very well executed Flash site and despite all the flack that Flash receives, I believe it can be very powerful and effective when used properly (and not overused).
    By the way, I like the chirpy mascots on your own (placeholder) site and I look forward to when the site has been completed and launched!

  • Veronica

    October 4, 2009 at 3:29 am

    I really like the design of Ali Felski too. It’s gorgeous.

    Hello, I came over from the problogger forums, only to discover that you’re in my neck of the woods, so I thought I’d say hi!
    .-= Veronica´s last blog ..Chasing Butterflies. =-.

  • pfinx

    October 22, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Well it is really a must to improve the design of your website, in order for you to catch more reader and viewer. Yes it truly browsing and looking for some professional individual website can give us an idea to create one. But simple making our design as splendid always was the hardest part. The designs always evolves and always something came up with new and better.

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