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Design Likes (insert thumbs up here)

So, now that I have my mini-portfolio around, I’m making a list of my various design “likes” … as ET would say, you have to compare yourself to the big leagues if you want to design well. For now most of my designs flow with style guidelines I’m given (although, I am proud of some of my buttons). I probably need to do some design katas (started pondering code katas) to add more stuff … but when I do them (katas) anyway, they’re usually they’re quick PSD mockups, or else exercising my origami skills (this next). But the point of a kata anyway is to practice, not necessarily to have something bloggable … anyway, onward!

Below is a list of sites that I like, with some notes so that hopefully I’ll remember this later. Some are from encountering months ago, some are from yesterday.

1. Fathom (

Man, do I love this. But of course, they’re information designers, so it’s a different sort of design than a biz site, etc. But simple things to like: text descriptions of each graphic (good for SEO I’m guessing) … the black-white image to color image on hover (interesting effect when the infographics have lotsa whitespace). I just love that their site is just “Here’s our portfolio.” So straightforward. Still, I know I’m biased toward this b/c of my interest in information design.

2. Curbly (

Like: The cool watercolor-esque background, intuitive navigation (topics is the first block with a dropdown list), featured content block
Dislike: Double featured content … there’s a slider at the top of individual posts and a block of featured tags … which pushes recent content way down. Also, site seems to take too long to load.

3. (

This is a framework, and I like looking at all these sites. It shows how having a simple simple template idea can morph into many different variations. Truth, haven’t used the framework, but I like the approach. A few shots of this in the gallery.

4. Bike Doctor (

An iPhone App site. Big visual content, obvious action buttons, lightbox-enabled example shots, the icons + info scheme, rectangular visual areas with beginning and end (black – gray – white – black)

5. Vegan Corner (

Right now this is their placeholder. Simple big content item (the countdown), then 3-item grid below with info (action sign-up, Twitter, and About). Like the simplicity, and like script-y logos (although, I have a dislike of drop shadows). Jake Przespo is another example of the item + grid deal, but with more grids below. Also just like this guy’s work. Saw his site on Smashing Magazine.

If I know Posterous, the image upload should be a gallery, and with any luck they’ll actually be in order.


EDIT: Can’t forget a new like (from #bcphilly), @sbastn‘s site Love his sketches. Site’s down at this second, otherwise would have more comments.

EDIT 2: Site is up again, but this is his tumblog … hmm. I know he has another site that’s more a standard site, with above standard art. Will post link as soon as it’s found.

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