Web design trends always seem awkward to me, which shouldn’t come as any surprise. Consider the internet itself was borne out of scientists and academics wanting to share data, not highly-trained designers worried about subpixel renderings or high-res images of Megan Fox. But as the 1990′s clunked along through puberty, some standards had begun to take place as far as general web design principles, aka the box model and the ubiquitous header-container-sidebar-footer structure we all know and love. For anyone longing for those days, here is the WordPress theme for you: WP386. As the author describes it, “A theme to make your blog look like some sort of thing from the future.” Which would be accurate, if it was 1962.
As the 2000′s progressed and web 2.0 was all the rage, the typical web worker was still someone who preferred algorithms over golden ratios, even though lines were blurring some. Sure, there were and always will be those that span the breadth of both design and development, myself being one. But they are two distinct disciplines even if they are becoming more integrated, at great effort by developers and entrepreneurs. But there are more eggheads designing WordPress themes than artists, I’m willing to bet. Even what constitutes the specific attributes of a trend aren’t nailed down easily. Every article I wearily read about the current flat UI trend seems to have a different opinion of what exactly makes something recognizably “flat.” Other than having no gradients, I mean.
So, I decide to scope out some websites to see what the big boys are doing design-wise. I pull up seven websites in a row that pop into my head for absolutely no other reason than I know they have big web budgets and digital teams.
The seven I go to, in no particular order, are:
- Vanity Fair
- The Economist
- Rolling Stone
See if you can spot the same things that hit me with these websites’ front pages:
How about, every single one of these have the following characteristics in common:
- White background.
- No borders around content.
- Basic colors of red, black and white.
- A very high word-to-image ratio than I would personally expect (and recommend.)
- They all have 3 columns.
What do you think about this? I must imagine these companies are doing eye-scan research and having all sorts of reasons for all having such similar layouts. That can’t be a coincidence. It might make you think when you look at your own site.