6. Ponto Design Studio
Some of the most intriguing visual art leaves us scratching our head. (That’s not just me, right?) Ponto Design Studio’s homepage, for example, has an amorphous background image. You can pan through the image with the geometrically-shaped cursor that can be transformed into a sphere, an X, and a cub, toggled with a single click.
The background image is magnified and refracted through each translucent shape. It’s absolutely pointless, but remarkable in its ingenuity! There’s nowhere to sign up for a newsletter because ... there is no call to action! It’s like one of those experimental video games without a point — it’s purely about the experience.
Scrolling down the rest of the page reveals a more straightforward design that’s almost inconsequential. Their initial visual hook is so captivating that it gives us complete faith in their skills as a creative and inventive design firm.
7. Yale University of Art
Academic websites aren’t known for their creative designs. Most are as boring as the quad architecture on any given college campus.
If you’re an art school, it’s important to communicate the programs you offer, as well as your creative spirit. The Yale University of Art makes it easy for students and potential students to find what they’re looking for. And they do it with a design that makes use of interesting images and fonts.
An art school is like any other brand — they’re selling a product: an arts education. Having a creative website shows us what they value and that they practice what they preach teach.
8. Paria Radikal
If you describe your design firm as “progressive and experimental,” you need to communicate this aesthetic. Paria Radikal does this with a design that looks like the wall of an avant-garde art museum.
Their landing page is captivating! It features random visuals and images that link to their projects. The dropping bratwurst/pastry animation is unsettling in a way that I’m not comfortable in going into here.
I agree: it’s a pretentious design. But it’s consistent with the brand that Paria Radikal projects. And I don’t think pretentiousness is a bad thing if the execution is done well. But hey, I’m a person who has more than a few free jazz albums in my music collection. Maybe I’m the wrong person to assess a little arty self-indulgence — who’s to say?
Paria Radikal uses experimentation and abstraction in a smart way that makes you want to see how they’ve used this approach in all their work.
9. Mary Gaudin Photography
Photographer portfolio websites aren’t usually that heavy on design. Showcasing the images — as long as there’s some logic to their organization — is what matters and doesn’t require anything fancy. But using a brutalist approach can make a portfolio stand out from a sea of photographers doing the same work.
Mary Gaudin is a fantastic photographer. And her page isn’t laid out like a typical portfolio. Instead, she’s uses a long scroll of asymmetrically organized photos of differing sizes. Normally a long scroll of photos would be a snore. But the way these images stagger keeps it interesting.
Attention to finer detail separates an amateur photographer from a professional. Mary Gaudin shows this professionalism through both her photos and the artistic design of her portfolio.
10. Benjamin Rethore
To make fun of something effectively, you have to have a deep understanding of the subject. Benjamin Rethore’s portfolio pokes fun at antiquated and overused design and technology clichés. His ability to satirize a design portfolio shows how much he knows about the subject. His bullet list of skills is full of overwrought buzzwords like “bigger logos,” “Uberisation,” and the self referential “Brutalism.” These are sure to make any designer both wince and laugh out loud.
Or, maybe I’m completely wrong! He could just be a dude in a studio apartment, surrounded by stacks of AOL installation CD-ROMs who wants to “fax your documents and extract your ZIP files.” Either way, this is a brutally hilarious website.
What are your favorite websites that break from from traditional design?
We love websites that break free from convention and retain functionality. What are some sites that have made an impression on you? Share in the comments — we’d love to check them out!