Article in Under the Hood category.
Our Top Sites for Design Inspiration
Each week, Fueled creative director Rob Palmer compiles a list of sites exemplary in their design. Here's the roundup just for you.
Every week at Fueled, our London-based Creative Director, Rob Palmer, shares a handful of inspirational websites with our teams in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. This weekly email acts as a virtual water cooler, encouraging us to congregate across time zones and discuss what brands and blogs are doing to push new trends in web design.
The ARK Starmap acts as the Google Maps of Star Citizen, a computer simulation/strategy game that is the largest video game crowdfunding project to date. The Starmap, like the game it is a part of, is also an immersive experience, with the ability to navigate through a seemingly endless galaxy of stars and solar systems. Take your pick of viewing options, which range from 3-D to full screen to filters such as population size and faction. Press any of the solar systems or explore within the solar systems to get information about each star, planet, etc. and even the option of routing from one destination in the galaxy to another. Though a little difficult to grasp the full capabilities not being a Star Citizen player, the galactic soundtrack, ease of navigation, and stunning graphics let anyone feel like they’re on an intergalactic journey of a lifetime.
A branch of the UK travel agency, LoveHolidays, this site invites you to take a look at the history of vacations in Britain. Maybe that doesn’t sound like your cup of Earl Grey, but the visual nature of this site, combines with its appealing simplicity, typography, and color scheme makes it an entertaining and educational experience. With each date on the timeline, you are treated to either a short excerpt at that date in history or a photograph from a vacation, which is formatted to appear as a charming postcard. Scroll through the timeline or view it as a map and click through the pins, all the while enjoying the sounds of ocean waves and frolicking vacationers in the background, if you so choose to keep sound on (we recommend you do so you feel like you’re a part of the vacation).
A movie buff’s dream and a boss’s nightmare, PopCorn Garage will amuse you for hours, guaranteed. The premise is like I Spy for movie references, with the garage that appears on screen acting as the vessel for 66 movie references, identified by key props and symbols. Is that R2-D2 nestled in the corner from Star Wars? V for Vendetta graffiti scrawled on the wall? Retro animations and soundtrack elevate the entertainment level, keeping your eyes and ears stimulated as you search for clues. As you type in movies in the bottom bar, you earn badges that you can click into and watch clips or trailers from the films you have correctly identified, all in HD streaming video. We found and watched clips from 10 films before our supervisor landed at our left shoulder, but we’ll be continuing this game, challenging our friends, and urging you to do the same (perhaps outside of the workplace).
The idea of environmentally-friendly may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Subaru, a major automobile retailer. However, this section of their site is determined to change that, with design and content that lauds Subaru’s green efforts. Choose time mode and you land on a timeline conceived as a cross-section of wood, an innovative way to direct visitors to each year, represented as an interior ring. In category mode, drag and scroll your way through a timeline with images that hover on-screen, inviting you to click through. Each piece of content is stylishly rendered with a high-quality image as the focal point and minimal text splashed across the bottom. It’s a serene experience to explore the site, all while becoming enlightened on the eco-friendly side of Subaru.
Ben Lukas Boysen
Ben Lukas Boysen, a Berlin-based composer, producer, and sound designer, has a personal website that showcases his work in a highly accessible and thorough manner. The home page is minimalistic, with just a split screen of a photograph and a menu with three options. The split screen recurs through every page, making everything appear streamlined and chic. Click through to Albums and you are able to stream any of them; notice how the swath of color on the right switches with each album you highlight and the visualizer that appears as you stream. Explore the Commissioned tab and you are treated to high-res videos of the commercials, films, etc. that Boysen was hired for. The element of including the video of the work in its final presentation is one of the standout features of this site, among its many other appealing aspects.
849 Paul Smith + Caran d'Ache
Scroll to initiate the beautiful sequence of animations and images that accompany the site for the collaboration ballpoint pen of designer Paul Smith and notable writing instrument retailer Caran d’Ache. The pastel palette is personified in the product itself, which is the focal point of each page. Among the design highlights is a page that lets you hover over a part of the pen for a zoomed-in view and brief explanation of its advantage. As you continue to scroll through, the designer pens fall into place in a variety of transition animations that keep the visitor engaged. A chic and simple aesthetic, cohesive theme, and interactive animations on each page are the characteristics that elevate this site to one worthy of your attention.
For a company that brands itself on making life more simple, project management app Teamweek has a site that epitomizes streamlined efficiency. Minimal design brings the focus to the content on the screen about the benefits of the app. The first image to appear on screen is a motion animation of a calendar, which captures the visitor’s attention and enthralls them immediately. Keep scrolling to land on boldly-colored pages that each describe an asset of Teamweek, with a playful image and the ever-present link to sign up. Smart, efficient, and simple: It is clear these are the tenets of both company and website.
The website of Sanskriet, a Belgian furniture company, is a highly visual and interactive journey. This is particular surprising for a retail company, in which interactive site elements are not often applicable. On each page of the Sanskriet site, high-resolution block images of the product, designers, workspace, and other parts of the company are featured in an attractive, mosaic layout. Hover over any of these thumbnails with your cursor and the image subtly zooms in. This slight animation complements the fast-paced videos also placed throughout the page and lends to an overall stunning visual presentation. Sure, we can’t understand any of the Dutch words that would tell us about the furniture or the company, but it only takes one glance to be impressed by the high quality design of this website.