Nostalgic Film Logos and Why They Work
Web design has been a major industry for a couple of decades now; in that time there's been trends and technological advances galore. Nowadays there's so much content on the web it's hard to stand out. Current designers focus as much on user experience as they do on layout and content, meaning new more intuitive experiences are popping up regularly.
Good typography is crucial in the web design field - it lets the viewer know what is important without having to label it. This is true in most websites, perhaps one of the best being Wikipedia. Think about it, everyone's favourite free encyclopedia has one of the best typographic systems on the web. As a site dealing heavily in written information it is no small task to organise and present it in a way that makes sense. Yet it consistently delivers over 50 million articles in a manner that is easily digestible, whilst familiar enough for a new user to navigate without hesitation.
Whilst the likes of Wikipedia aren't much to look at, there are many others out there that take style very seriously. We've rounded up a selection of sites that use great typography to tell you their story.
Released in 2015 The Lobster is a dystopian film built on a single absurdist concept: Single people are taken to a hotel, where they have 45 days to find a romantic partner, or else be turned into an animal of their choice and released into the woods. Seems reasonable right?
Naturally the film is peculiar and has it's own original style, but what you may not know is that it has a great accompanying website. It's a fun little homage to the movie that allows you to choose your second-chance animal - though the hilarity is just as subdued as the film.
A single font - Avenir Next LT - is combined with only two colours to echo the despondent tone of the film. From the landing page you are taken on a journey through some very obscure questions, whilst the muted style transports us into the same hollow world as the film.
USSR Design Almanac
The early years of 20th century design are typified mostly by the Modernist or Art Deco movements - in the West at least. In the East there was a very different sentiment around design. Spurred on by an empowerment of the people, the era of the Russian Avant-Garde took Eastern Europe by storm. It spawned sub-genres such as Constructivism, which is often credited with influencing the likes of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements. The period birthed brave new ideas in art, architecture, typography, photography, and everything in between. It became a way point for the coming decades, and inspired an era of Soviet design.
The USSR Design Almanac is an exceptional homage to the period. It presents a great roundup of key works alongside important artists and designers, utilising type and engrossing UX design to enhance the experience. What makes this site stand out is that it emulates a real-life gallery: walking you through various elements of Soviet design at your own pace, whilst elements move in and out of view along the way.
Designed by Obys Agency, this site is well worth a look for some unique parallax action - albeit a little heavy on the scrolling. Consider it a free day out if you like!
We Ain't Plastic
It's difficult writing an article about great typography without including at least one digital-design specialist. We Ain't Plastic is the guise of a Creative Technologist and UX Engineer from Berlin.
It's clear from the outset that this one was designed with passion. The site layout is fresh and simple, opting for a single-page layout broken into succinct sections. The use of subtle animation enhances signifiers and draws importance to elements within the page . From the very top of the page to the bottom, the user is drawn in with the smallest amount of written content, and is slowly introduced to more information as they go - making for a rewarding and effortless user experience.
Variable font functionality arrived in 2016 when the OpenType file format was upgraded to version 1.8. Since then there has been an increase in available offerings, but it's safe to say it's still considered fairly new tech. The idea behind variable fonts is that one font file contains the parameters to create a continuous range of fonts. For example you can scale one typeface from a light roman, to an extra bold italic, or stop at anything in between.
London based type foundry Fontsmith have a great selection of variable fonts, so much so they have an an entirely separate site dedicated to showcasing them. Variable Fonts gets straight to the point using block colours and a basic grid layout to push the type to the forefront of the show. After all, the type does all the talking here, so it's only a split second before you are pushing buttons and pulling sliders!
Perhaps the most outstanding site on the list, Canals invites us on a museum-quality tour of the history of Amsterdam's world renowned canal network. Much like the USSR Design Almanac, there's a large multimedia presentation to scroll through, but it feels more intuitive when you can also click-and-drag through pages. The experience here is key: you feel as though you are reading a coffee-table book rather than surfing the web. On a high-end tablet you would struggle to tell the difference if it weren't for those juicy animations.
The chapters are complimented with some great typography, using Graphik for paragraphs, Grifinito for those nice tall pull quotes, and Maelstrom Sans for real impact where it's needed. Overall, when combined with imagery and a crisp colour palette, it makes for a very fulfilling experience.
If you're planning on visiting Amsterdam any time soon, consider spending some time looking through Canals. It puts a lot of great architecture into context and it looks great, obviously.
We hope you've enjoyed this tour of some great sites. Let us know what you think, did you enjoy cruising the Canals of Amsterdam, or are you off to watch Colin Farrell choose his second-chance animal?