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Design movements in personal websites and other media

2 months ago from , Expert Design Lead

I realized that almost everything online is built for and by companies and that they are defining what normal looks like nowadays. When clothes were like websites, we would all be wearing business suits. Which does make life simple, but I'm sewing my own clothes now and I'm wondering why I'm adding lapels to my jacket and if I need a jacket at all.

I see brutalism as a style movement against corporatism and capitalism, but a lot of it creates distance rather than a more humane connection with the user. Are you aware of other design movements that are more suitable for things like personal websites?

8 comments

  • , 1 month ago

    Thanks to Bevan and Gavin’s comments I changed my mind about this issue! My analogy with clothing was not helpful. FWIW, I wrote a follow-up: https://www.kooslooijesteijn.net/blog/brutalism-not-great-for-looking-relatable

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  • Bevan StephensBevan Stephens, 2 months ago

    Interesting point, I wouldn't say what we have now is the equivalent of everybody wearing business suits, the businesses themselves are trying VERY hard to appear friendly and human, so what we've ended up with is everyone wearing smart casual clothes. Which is the least risky choice and will appeal to the most people.

    Personal sites are often businesses too, so they too tend to follow the trends of the companies they aspire to work for.

    The trend that people call brutalism has a similar effect as dressing like an 70s punk, but as you say that's not the most welcoming look but it makes a statement.

    I'm fascinated by this topic as I see it coming up all the time, BUT I've never heard anyone who isn't a designer complain about a lack of different graphic styles across the web.

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    • , 2 months ago

      I completely agree. I’m not complaining though. I just find it interesting that when designing my own website, I find myself doing what could have been a corporate branding exercise with shortcuts, with similar results.

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  • Gavin McFarlandGavin McFarland, 2 months ago

    I'm not too familiar with what design movememts are associated with personal sites but I suspect that some may be difficult to tell what the nature of the site is because she personal sites probably strive to look like commercial sites.

    I'd be interested to hear more of your thoughts on how you see personal sites co-existing with commercial sites? One advantage companies have is that they can pool their resources together and build things quicker and better. Much like architecture, the standard and quality tends to be much greater when using commercial products. However there are groups of individuals who have built groups of houses and villages together and the payoff has been a trusting community that they've created through building and design together.

    Perhaps that's how personal sites may stay a top the completion from the standards people come to expect from commercial sites?

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    • Koos Looijesteijn, 2 months ago

      Good points, and I believe open source theming would be close to your analogy. And web rings, remember those?

      I wrote a rambly post about how I don’t really know what the role should be of personal websites when almost everything is commercial. I certainly see value in them, because of independence, creative options, privacy and just because I like variety.

      In addition to the question in the OP, I’m looking for examples for my own website and I just find it difficult to find any website that doesn’t look like a company website. Meaning: personal, human, special.

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      • Gavin McFarlandGavin McFarland, 2 months ago

        Thanks, I actually read your post also. I thought it was a very interesting topic and something I'd not thought about before. I wonder if in order now for something to look personal or human it might require some imperfections. I'll keep it in mind as I'm browsing.

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        • Koos Looijesteijn, 2 months ago

          Cool, thanks!

          Perhaps I’m just looking for something that doesn’t exist. That imperfection or personal idiosyncrasies can only consciously be added (like with hand drawn figures and lettering), often requiring professional skills. Leaving things unstyled often just makes it look either broken or, I realized later, corporate. See Ultimate Paperclips. I remember now some music festivals websites trying to look very unbusinesslike while maintaining a toughness that you don’t see on entertainment brand websites.

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    • , 1 month ago

      Regarding the benefit of componies having more resources: a friend brought up that open source potentially have even more contributors/contribution.

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