Be nice. Or else.
Your public website really stands out as a very focussed but text-heavy "sales letter". I personally love every bit of it (happy Wednesday, btw).
Would you mind sharing a bit about that process, how you came up with this layout, if you tested other things, etc?
Wes, Happy Wednesday!
The design of my personal website is a product of my formal graphic design training. I didn’t try too many things. Secretly, I think working on projects about or for yourself is kind of the pits. It’s so hard to get through, and there are never any real deadlines.
So, I went with my gut. I called back on my traditional typographic training and tried to bring back the aesthetics of print back onto the web. Careful use of horizontal spacing, fine type treatments, and not a whole heck of a lot of color.
The web today starts to feel the same… - Huge, full-width lifestyle photos - Three-columns of text with an icon over it - Image left, text right, Image right, text left, repeat…
I just wanted to do something a little different, and being “a little” different just meant going back to something I was used to: traditional print.
My entire website is open sourced on GitHub, by the way.
Thanks for your answer! I must admit that my question was about the Basecamp website, but I could have been clearer ;-)
Would you mind answering the question for the Basecamp.com website as well?
The Basecamp.com marketing website was a project that myself, Jamie Dihiansan and Jason Fried worked on during the transition of changing our company name from 37signals to Basecamp.
We really wanted to harp on the concept of narrative, and speaking to people like people. Most product websites are all too slick, too flashy, and too much of the same. We asked ourselves, what if we went back to how the web used to be, and rely on clear writing and some fun illustration versus slick design. Obvious blue links with underlines, large readable copy, and so on.
It’s not going to be featured in any design museums, or win awards. And that’s not the point; the point is to do a great job making people feel comfortable, make them feel treated like humans, spoken to by real people and above all, get to the point and sell Basecamp. Sometimes, all that takes is words.
We did try some fancier things, but we wanted it easy write on, easy to update, and easy to read. So that informed the current design today.
We do test different iterations of the homepage, different pieces of copy, but the design itself has been the same since February of 2014. We’re always open to change, though.
Be nice. Or else.
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