Graphic and web design are areas that thrive off the creation and manipulation of trends. If you’ve ever closely studied either area, you know there are many basic rules of thumb. From these basics spread many of today’s newest trends. The gift and curse of trends are they’re never a secret. Like any popular thing, once it catches on, it spreads and grows like wildfire.
With web design, we tend to find a new implementation of something ‘cool’ every month or so. Scrolling effects went from entire parallax scrolling sites to small parallax slides. Viewing sites on phones went from a separate mobile theme to responsive web design to “why don’t you just make an app?” in a matter of months.
In a few days, lots of people will sit at their desks and gather their thoughts. They’ll scroll through a bunch of website showcases and sift through Dribbble to find some things they like. They will bookmark some things, scribble down some notes and dump it all into a WordPress blog. Before they hit the publish button, they’ll proofread it and submit a guide to the world of the trendiest trends for web design.
Pay them no attention. If you want to stand out, then you have to stand out. No matter the purpose of a website, there’s room to do things differently. You don’t believe it? Let’s take a look.
The Garden Edit
It starts off looking like a regular website; maybe a photography portfolio of some sort. But as you scroll down, you actually find out that it’s an eCommerce website where they’re selling products for your garden. Even the product pages have a different layout. They’re probably trying to show you their products are different than everyone else’s.
Most portfolio sites are based on a very simple grid that has a navigation bar at the top and squares of projects. No, Heydays doesn’t take it’s work off the grid, but they’ve utilized it in a much different format; one where a lot of white space doesn’t exist. You’re fully immersed in what and who they are.
Online Book Fair
This website takes a wonderful idea and gives it a life many never would have thought of. It’s a site dedicated to listing books of a certain topic. It doesn’t sound very interesting. But this website takes a bold stab at doing this and catering to their audience at the same time.
When I saw this website’s header, I immediately thought it was an eCommerce site trying to sell some essential clothing. Wrong again! This is a side project of sorts that puts together the essential needs of a few interesting people. On top of an interesting idea, they give you a very interesting layout with a stellar user experience.
There’s nothing normal about this site. When you show up, you’re probably bored. But when you scroll down, you’re engaged again. They use minimalism in a way that keeps an audience engaged and asking for more.
Back in the day, splash pages used to be all the rage. Since then, they’ve kind of been phased out and aren’t really taken seriously. One Iota has one of those and it’s easy to get distracted and write them off. But after you pass that and really explore their website you start to wonder if they’re behind on the time or if they’re just geniuses.
This is another website that redefines your predictable layout. When you think of an only magazine and they’re website, you think of a layout typical of any standard blog. Well, not here. 032c does things so differently and tastefully.
When you log on to this site and look at the header and the combination of colors, you know this is going to be a special site. It’s obviously a site that takes some cues from print design and the desire to look good on mobile, but it works and is definitely interesting and interest-worthy.
Le Col de Claudine
Le Col de Claudine is actually one of my favorite sites. They utilize a layout where pictures and text just seem to jumbled and on top of each other. Each page seems to have it’s own layout and it all just works.
With a name like “Il-Ho”, you definitely expect to have a good time and this web site does not disappoint. Aside from the unorthodox layout, there are some really great detailed design aspects that keep you on the edge of your seat with this website.
You’ve seen parallax scrolling websites before, I’m sure. You’ve seen sites where things just appear from the left and right of the browser. You’ve never seen a website do it quite like this; with a combination of breathtaking design and unique aesthetics.
There’s not much to say about this website once you’ve scrolled through it in it’s entirety. This guy is an amazing talent and should probably rule the Internet. He’s that good.
When you think of bold and unorthodox websites, you think about websites that are mainly driven off the use of loud colors. Fixate didn’t rely on colors at all and used really intricate and elaborate graphics in addition to just-as-good typography.
Midori created a website that absolutely lives. It doesn’t just stick on a page but it actually moves and interacts with you, which is an amazing thing to do. The color scheme is wonderful and the use of different shapes and pictures really drives the uniqueness of this site.
A Guide to Making Things
This is one of the simpler websites on this list, but I really like this. When you think of the way people typically make lists, this one is just a stand out. There’s no bulleted or numbered lists, but it’s like a book. Probably because that’s what they’re selling. It just makes sense.
Why do these work?
Maybe these unorthodox layouts are going be the trend in 2014. I don’t know nor am I going to pretend like I do. But people are realizing they have to do the most they can in their corner of the web. The website is the hub for your online presence. It’s the one place where everyone will go to see who you are you. Do you want that to look like everyone else’s?
Unorthodox sites break the mold and make it easier to be memorable. That’s key. They shy away from the mundane business-speak and break out into the bold world of storytelling. They do something different and make people pay attention when they visit. That’s why they work.