Web designers' top 5
September 26, 2008 3:19 PM   Subscribe

If you are a professional web designer or developer: What do you consider the current top 5 or so websites in terms of visual design?
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Not top 5, but Smashing Magazine frequently publishes best-of lists showcasing nice visual designs.
posted by Krrrlson at 4:14 PM on September 26, 2008

Google was #1 before they started adding too much junk - Simplicity is amazing.
csszengarden.com - more for its impressive use of stylesheets
Joey Kilrain's is perhaps a little buggy, but visually appealing

The list here is great too.

I'm surpised how hard it is to come up with a top 5 favorites.

Top 5 worst? no problem...
posted by alhadro at 4:32 PM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Here are four of my favorites:

Phillips de Pury & Company. Totally my favorite site right now. Simple but clever and amazing visuals. Feels nice, too.

Jason Santa Maria's new site design is pretty amazing. Sticks to the grid and makes it purdy.

Jon Tangerine's layout & typographical skills put everybody else to shame.

Cameron Moll's site hasn't changed in a while, but I never get tired of looking at it.
posted by timoni at 4:40 PM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hallo, working on the web since 1996. (Ohgod.)

Hmmm. I'm not so sure, actually, very few come to mind - and while some of them are awesomely good, none of them is in my opinion really "top-five" good. It's a trend I noticed some time ago - most products, while clever, have no longer that "wow" factor (at least, to me and a somewhat large bunch of peers I daily converse on the matter with) which would saturate mailing lists and forums the same way some release (I'm not making names) would have, 'back in the day'. My impression is, we're getting more of the same. Well-done, clever, brilliant works but - yeah - a bit uniformed; while technical possibilities abound, I've been seeing very little (and slow) innovation on the visual side, lately.

Were we in 1999-2000, there'd already be a pileup of answers. I'm interpreting the relative silence as more or less a confirmation to my thinking.
posted by _dario at 4:44 PM on September 26, 2008

The CSS Zen Garden is my #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5.
posted by spamguy at 10:09 PM on September 26, 2008

The question is difficult to answer because it doesn't take into account that the functionality of the site is inherently linked to the overall experience we have interacting with it - including the design aspect. In the early days of the web it was enough for a site to simply look cool. As users became more sophisticated they demanded sites also meet their functional goals. If you you're looking for presentation layer eye candy there are plenty of "best of" sites, typically featuring flash-based work. Maybe narrow the parameters of you're question and you'll get more responses.
posted by quadog at 11:35 PM on September 26, 2008

When It is working right,I vote for Powerset.
posted by phllip.phillip at 7:25 AM on September 27, 2008

I admire Matt's recent-ish redesign. I like the typography on Tilly Moss but prefer the old header. I think Colour Lovers does an admirable job of laying out a massive amount of non-standard content. The Resume Girl isn't going to set the world on fire but is personable and charming and does an excellent job of positioning the service.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:56 PM on September 27, 2008

Thanks to everybody who answered the question. It's odd how skewed this is towards designer's blogs, as opposed to the websites they design.
posted by signal at 7:59 AM on September 28, 2008

It's not odd really. If you think about it, when a designer does his or her own site, it's one of the few opportunities she or he will have to splash out. Most corporate clients are looking for some flavour of "what everyone else says" and few really want to push out of that comfort zone. Most of the web is filled with this kind of workaday design.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:10 AM on September 28, 2008

Heh...another interesting site to take note of is http://modernista.com/. It's provocative, at least...
posted by dubitable at 7:23 PM on September 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

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