No. 1618
October 3rd, 2008

The “Randys” Website Design Awards – September 2008

Honoring Great Web Designs

Continuing on with my monthly design awards series, here are seven terrific websites I recommend everyone take a look at.

September 2008 Winners

Ernest Hemingway Collection – This site makes a tremendous visual impact, with some of the richest texture and photography I’ve ever seen on the web. The content does seem to play a secondary role, and it’s not at all clear to me what the point of the website is. But as far as connecting an online presence with a historical figure, this is the best I’ve ever seen. Designed by Brand Aid, Charlotte, NC.

Design IntellectionFrom textural overload to textural simplicity! My only complaint is I’d like to see a stronger distinction post-to-post with a bolder, larger title. And there’s a lot of scrolling due to the expansive whitespace, but honestly, I LOVE everything else about the site & am willing to put up with more scrolling since it helps eliminate clutter. Be sure to note the awesome rollover effect on the navigation at the top right. Designed by David Yeiser, Louisville, KY.

Rob Across America – Have you ever seen a more attractive post headline & date motif? I’m guessing the corresponding state icon is done via custom fields in WordPress, but however it’s done, the visual effect is just stunning. The colors of this site strike a perfect balance between retro and contemporary, and the typography is an easier to read version of what CNN was obviously shooting for with its TV political coverage. Designed by Rob Weychert, Philadelphia, PA.

Robert Henry, Concert Pianist – Combine a beautiful stylized signature with a piano-black and gold color scheme, a wonderful vector wallpaper and a dramatic lighting effect gradient and you get this site. If only it were that easy! The layout displays a high-end contemporary flair, and the pull-quotes on some of the subpages are just gorgeous. Extra kudos for NOT making the media player autoplay :), and even the favicon displays amazing attention to detail. Designed by Ploc Media, High Wycombe, UK.

William Duff Architects – Yes, this is a Flash website, but I’ve long contended that when your business is SO dependent on visual impact, as architecture firms’ business is, Flash can be a decent option. But even beyond the flash, the uniquely shaped border is a technique that HTML/CSS websites can adopt. I’ll definitely be filing that away in my memory bank. The cross-site sans-serif typography of the site is terrific, and the layout of the individual projects is sold. Designed by Chen Design, San Francisco, CA.

Deform Group – A minimalist delight. The navigation walks the line between usability and memorability quite well and the typography in terms of color, letter spacing, line height, and font weight, particularly on subpages like this one, has clearly been agonized over and perfected. Self-designed by Deform in Lithuania.

Typechart – So, it’s a little disappointing that this site actually uses images to display its text, but I presume that is to provide some measure of consistency on machines which don’t support those fonts. It’d be nice to perhaps see a side-by-side of the image, and then the CSS version of that (along with what that font degrades to). But this is a beautiful site, and one that is incredibly useful for designers. Designed by Patternmade.

Previous RANDY Award Winners:

May 2008 Web Design Awards
June 2008 Web Design Awards

July 2008 Web Design Awards

August 2008 Web Design Awards

About the RANDYs:

These should be pretty self-explanatory; there’s no official nomination process, so feel free to email sites you’d like me to consider for October at davidmihm (-at-) Rather than critique each site per se (these are AWARDS, after all, not reviews) I’ll highlight what makes is such a successful site in my eyes. Where possible, I will credit both the site and its designer.