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Web Design Themes

Thursday, January 24 2013 10:58 AM
By Kalen Kubik

Today I wanted to address a design meeting hurdle that tends to occur every meeting we have with a client, the word "Feel". Today we're going to go over some common website "Feels" or "Themes" if you will. But first, what is a "Feel"? If you're super-serious about building a website and a real go-getter, you've probably ended up on WordPress or Drupal and browsed their "Themes". Besides being overly generic, these themes are close to what we're asking, when we ask you, "What do you want the feel of your website to be". What we're really asking for is your brand's design aesthetic. Am I still in designer lingo? That's exactly the problem we have as we try to explain ourselves, pictures are better. (Pictures Below)


Actually categorizing websites to a "Theme" is very hard, since many themes incorporate pieces of other themes. Grab an item from here, a User Interface (UI) item from here. Copy this icon, recreate this background, "Steal like an artist", as the saying goes. Remember, sites you've seen that may fall into multiple categories, but focus on your brand. Web design is an incestuous creature.




Texture heavy sites are a way to give weight to sites. Sites such as this are very typical for restaurants and smaller chain businesses that want to come off as elegant and warm. The unfeeling sleek/black/modern sites seemed to have disappeared for the moment since texture gives a sense of tangibility and substance instead of aloofness. Textures are very inviting and can be elegant such as rich wood grains. Following subtle gradients, subtle textures can now be seen quite a bit, merging with modern minimalist sites and phone applications, giving the pixels the tangibility that we crave.


Big Image/ Modern Eclectic

Oh goodness, find any app site. Heck, find  any startup site that isn't a giant image landing page, I dare you. Hi-res images have been storming the web for a while now, so it's no surprise what was once "The Fold", has been taken over by giant hi-res images. Generally a fancy (non-web) typeface is slathered across the front in giant letters (not always). I can't see these sites going away for several years. They're super trendy and eye-catching, and most are segmented into content blocks for iPad friendliness.


Modern Clean/ Minimalist

Is your style super trendy, but you're kind of a loner? Welcome to the hipster of website design, the minimalist. Why is it the loner? Because companies want information filling every page, images, testimonials, pictures of puppies, most are not happy with paying a designer for white space. The issue with minimalist design is commitment. You have to commit to the simplest, most elegant design form or else it will just look like a 1990's text-only site. Also, it doesn't have to be white! It could be a pink background, but images and text must be minimal. These sites give the feeling of either super classy or super independent/stand-alone. Keep in mind, this example site is kind of busy for a minimalist site.



Skeou-wha? Okay, I'll try to explain. Skeoumorphism is when something looks like something it's not. The best examples can be seen on Apple products. You may have seen leather bound sites, that looked like leather, but were highly stylized, meaning that they were actually computer generated graphics made to look like leather with stitching. Take this bookshelf for instance. There is no wood image there, that is a vector/computer graphic made to look like wood, the same way those shelves are made in illustrator or photoshop to look tangible. Why? Because if something looks like a real world object we assume we know how to interact with it. Obviously you wouldn't want your site to look like a bookshelf, but "to each, his own". Skeomorphism is highly stylized "hyper-real" graphics that give the site the look and feel of a tangible worldly object. Don't be confuse this with a collage site!!! See below >



Continuing from Skeuomorphism, countless times I've seen people confuse collage sites with skeou sites. Here's the difference; collage sites use real images! Skeou sites use computer graphics that look like real object. Take a look at that sexy collage site right there! Man, that looks good. Most collage sites I've seen are either a smattering of wood texture and outdoor gear thrown around on it, trying to sell me the latest hunting gear while looking like the Red & Green show lodge. Others try to look like a highschool girl's agenda book with crumpled and torn notebook paper, all sloppy and devoid several "I heart Jake" scrawlings. But this, this is class. You'll notice the large image of G'NOSH. yes, that's an image. Almost a Big Image/ Modern Eclectic site, really. What sets a collage site apart is the dropping in of several elements that give it an organized chaos look; the torn pieces of paper, the food stuffs, the little chalk scribbles. It looks like a mess you'd make while cooking, no? This gives the site character, a personal charm specific only to that site. If done correctly these can be amazing, now you just have to find that designer.


Culminated Site

If you haven't seen a dozen sites that look like this, Hi, welcome to the interwebs! It's a large landing image, but it scrolls, and it's not too overbearing. It's minimalist but there's a bunch of info and some images to give the company a brand, if you will. The graphics aren't really skeou but they are textured and they do have a degree of tangibility. There may even be an image floating at the bottom to give an "out of the box" look to the grid structure. So you see, all the incestuous design thievery culminates into an entirely different design. Design begets design begets design begets design.

If you have questions over any site designs, or wish to know more, leave us a comment or call us!


By Kalen Kubik

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