• Jason Fried, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Thanks Tyson! I still think Getting Real is the best thing we’ve ever written. I keep toying with the idea of re-releasing it somehow.

    The current state of web design… I’d call it technically impressive, but feeling very me-too.

    There was a wonderful burst of innovation a few years back, but so many things look the same today. It reminds me of advertising in the 60s (which I love studying)… The big photo at the top, the catchy headline, and then columns of text below. Not that current web sites look like that - but that there was a formula that sorta took off and then everyone just emulated it because it appeared to be successful. It took years before someone broke out and did something original again.

    So many sites today follow this pattern: A nearly full-screen hero image up top (often a photograph shot from above of a desk with a coffee cup and stuff nearly arranged, or a looping video). Over that is a superimposed headline. Below that are either full-width horizontal blocks or staggered blocks left and right and left and right. Or you’ll see a grid of 3 to 6 blocks, each talking about a specific feature of the product. Sometimes you’ll see parallax scrolling, sometimes not. But there’s a clear formula. Sound familiar?

    BTW, I’m not suggesting it’s a bad formula, only that it’s a formula. And when everyone’s solving the same formula, there aren’t many new discoveries. So I really admire people/companies who have the courage to break out. Those who say “come on, there’s got to be another way.” And they go for it.

    We did that when we launched the original 37signals site back in 1999. This is what it looked like. No other web design company’s site looked REMOTELY like this. Not sure any other site period did. It was black and white. It was only words, only ideas. No portfolio images, no obvious client list. We presented our minds - this is how we feel, this is what we think, this is how we see. If you like that, then let’s talk and we can show you all the pictures you want.

    So, break out! Do something original!

    16 points