"New" Design Observer

7 years ago from , Design Director at Big Human

This re-design strikes me as totally insane. How does a site that spends the majority of its time discussing design fail to practice what they preach on so many fronts? The hierarchy is totally unclear, typography illegible, composition confusing and claustrophobic, and there's zero regard for mobile users. Both contributors and readers, not to mention the wonderful content itself, deserve better than this. I'm all for innovating and ignoring existing conventions and best practices, but only if it's because we're moving forward, not back.



  • Raffaello SanzioRaffaello Sanzio, 7 years ago

    Is this part of Facebook's experiment to make us feel bad?

    25 points
  • Kathy LuKathy Lu, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    The type... (Especially the navigation) nope

    15 points
  • Cory W.Cory W., 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Looks like it was designed by a print designer.

    I wonder how Erik Spiekermann, one of their contributors, will feel about Archer everywhere.

    11 points
  • Scot CriswellScot Criswell, 7 years ago

    I completely agree with all the above points. The thing I find most offensive though is the GIANT Mailchimp logo. I mean...I get it, that they sponsor them, but come on!

    11 points
    • Clark WimberlyClark Wimberly, 7 years ago

      lol at giving a sponsor that kinda space.

      even if Mailchimp owned this property, they would never make a placement like that. yet for some reason, another brand lets them.

      5 points
      • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, 7 years ago

        It looks like they just changed the logo, but there's still that huge space in the header. I can't get past that toothpaste blue color.

        0 points
  • David DarnesDavid Darnes, 7 years ago

    Um did anyone else get a dialog window saying "This website abuses rawgit.com. You should complain to its owner." ?

    6 points
    • Eduardo NunesEduardo Nunes, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

      I did. One would imagine allowing MailChimp to take over 40% of your website's real estate would at least buy you a decent hosting solution, but apparently one would be wrong.

      EDIT: I realize they're actually hotlinking one single github-hosted file. I'm still trying to decide whether that makes it better or worse.

      0 points
  • Paul MacgregorPaul Macgregor, 7 years ago


    Article on the new design.

    5 points
    • Jeremy StewartJeremy Stewart, 7 years ago

      Design Observer knows it will have it share of critics, but for his part, Bierut feels that that is just par for the course in a world where everyone cares about design. "I'm sure we'll be criticized for continuing to favor a design that is beholden to the legacy of print," Bierut says. "We live in a world where you can't even redesign a logo without a pile-on. But I'm grateful to live in a world where at least now people who are thoughtful will figure out why they hate it."

      Am I wrong in saying that this goes beyond differing opinions on design? The type alone makes this close to (or completely) unusable for many people. Seems to me that on this medium (the web) a disregard for accessibility is unacceptable.

      0 points
  • Aaron CalzadoAaron Calzado, 7 years ago

    It's July—not April.

    5 points
  • Luke JonesLuke Jones, 7 years ago

    To be honest, it’s not surprising when you look at the contributors.

    I went to TYPO Berlin this year. Pretty cool, right? One of the best design conferences on the planet. WRONG.

    TYPO Berlin is the most pretentious, underwhelming conferences I’ve been to. I sat in the auditorium listening to people post-rationalise bad design—like the DO site—for hours on end. These people are jaded, out-of-touch, and the majority of them don’t understand digital.

    They should stick to type design.

    2 points
    • jj moijj moi, 7 years ago

      i agree. but if those pretentious, jaded, out-of-touch, and the majority of them who don’t understand digital are the target of TYPO and DO, then this design is totally fine.

      0 points
  • Edvinas BartkusEdvinas Bartkus, 7 years ago

    And they abuse gitraw.com?! https://www.dropbox.com/s/r0k6no84jvxokoe/Screenshot%202014-07-02%2010.46.21.png

    2 points
  • Lucas MoralesLucas Morales, 7 years ago

    I'm pretty insecure with my design skills, but I could do something better than this in 15 minutes.

    Probably someone made a good site, and it got feedback and demands from too many people, and it ended up being like this

    2 points
  • Lewis FludeLewis Flude, 7 years ago


    2 points
  • Michael NeffMichael Neff, 7 years ago

    It feels like a late 90s site viewed in the 2000s, complete with pixel fonts (on a laptop screen that nav is TINY) and scrolling text.

    2 points
  • Young PhoneixYoung Phoneix, 7 years ago

    hard to read in general. why create a line that impedes the content, i felt i had to duck my head to read.

    1 point
  • Sarah Mills, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    This is breaking my brain—even a print designer would be able to pick an appropriate typeface. I just...I feel like this has to be a test or or practical joke or something.

    WHO DOES non-responsive redesigns?!

    [edited] Now I am absolutely sure it is a joke/PR stunt. There are just too many subtle design "jokes" going on, and the FastCo article kind of seals it: they know people won't like it, yes it looks like print, and they want people to talk about it. Mission accomplished.

    1 point
  • Sallar KaboliSallar Kaboli, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    No retina support either.


    1 point
  • Floyd WilliamsonFloyd Williamson, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Hover over the articles. Holy unanimated transitions, batman! Those intro sentences should smoothly slip in and out.

    1 point
  • Rohit MehtaRohit Mehta, 7 years ago

    WTF.. this looks like a practical joke :/

    1 point
  • Moeed MohammadMoeed Mohammad, 7 years ago

    Woah, what are we, in 2003? This is just bad.

    1 point
  • John ChouraJohn Choura, 7 years ago


    1 point
  • Nils SköldNils Sköld, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    Marquee aside. The best thing by far on the side is the hidden bar at the top. Which only contains Log in / Register. So worth hiding that behind a click! bravo.

    slow clap

    0 points
  • David HickoxDavid Hickox, 7 years ago

    Set the time machine to 2006.

    0 points
  • Jonathan CourtneyJonathan Courtney, 7 years ago

    I thought my browser was zoomed out. Nope, that font is officially set to: mini.

    0 points
  • James LaneJames Lane, 7 years ago

    Try clicking the 'login/register' arrow at the top. Could be ALOT smoother, and so easy to do, but I suppose that's the least of their worries!

    0 points
  • Jonathon HalliwellJonathon Halliwell, 7 years ago

    That's one tall fixed header...

    0 points
  • Charlie McCullochCharlie McCulloch, 7 years ago

    The typography is not illegible. Hard on the eyes for a long article or for scanning the menu, sure, but illegibility is something completely different.

    0 points
  • Louis BLouis B, 7 years ago

    It looks like an old blogspot template? .... Is it?

    0 points
  • Mario MontoyaMario Montoya, 7 years ago

    I get the impression a print designer came up with this.

    0 points
  • Andy MerskinAndy Merskin, 7 years ago

    Whoa... hello Archer used for body copy. :S

    0 points
  • Mike MulveyMike Mulvey, 7 years ago

    Unfortunate. A missed opportunity.

    0 points
  • Benjamin KowalskiBenjamin Kowalski, 7 years ago

    I totally agree. I don't even see this as a new design. It almost seems as if they've just re-skinned the old website with some new colors and poor typography. Very unfortunate.

    0 points