Andy Clarke – Inspired design

  • By:
  • Tweet:
  • September 29, 2006
  • Comments currently closed.
  • I’m not going to talk about CSS today, I’m hardly going to mention standards
  • Art is design without compromiseJeffrey Veen
  • Limitations of what we do: Environmental – inflexibility of 2D screen; Materials – limitations of CSS et all; Medium – poor support in older browsers; Ourselves – unlearning what we have learned from past experience
  • The web is only ten yours old, we really don’t know what we’re doing for the most part
  • Standards advocates are still a very small proportion of the entire industry – it’s time to let go of what we’ve done in the past and focus on what we can do in the future.
  • Classic CSS resources like and noodle incident used absolute positioning; while we have moved away from that method now, Andy believes it will make a return due to the increasing ability to use 24 and 32 bit PNGs, amongst other options. Absolute positioning is the new DOM scripting
  • It’s not about the technologies, it’s about what we can do with them
  • How can we use design to get across that deeper message?
  • I don’t think we’ve even started to know what to do with the technologies that we use […] we need to continue to be playful, we need to continue experimenting
  • Designing for the web is starting to lean further away from graphic design and closer to physical design; we can’t let the graphic design side of web design stagnate just because we’ve realised the importance of interaction design.
  • We’re trying to build web based products that people love and want to use. Aesthetics play a huge role in getting people to love your site.
  • Why do I use ma.gnolia over They provide essentially the same service […] It’s because it does more for me aesthetically.
  • The web isn’t a power drillAndy. It’s a series of tubes!John Allsopp
  • There is a wider world out there and we need to remember that it’s not just about our small community
  • Utilitarian sites (eg: are not a pleasure to use, we go there because we want to achieve something. I go in, I get what I want and I get out!
  • Andy feels strongly that we need to work harder to bring in more external influences (away from the web); I certainly agree – re-sampling from the shallow pond just makes the problem worse. Drop shadows Rounded corners Reflections, anyone?
  • Sample of scrap-booking shown – I like to get the clients involved in the design before we’ve even picked up a copy of Photoshop. Used to get the client to clearly explain the mood the want their site to achieve
  • Take influence from the modern art world – found objects in the real world are a great source of inspiration.
  • I hear all the time that the web isn’t print, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the print world
  • To design an eCommerce site, why not check out cooking magazines or other print media relating to the products your site will sell. Is Amazon really the height of what an eCommerce site can be? I don’t think so.
  • Where ever I go, I collect sidebars (magazine sidebars)
  • The Grid – print has hundreds of years in experience in utilizing whitespace, controlling proportions and other core design skills. Web design needs to re-embrace those fundamental skills and make them our own. While the terminology between print design and CSS design is different, the building blocks are essentially the same.
  • It’s not the technology that’s limiting me anymore, it’s my own inspiration (context: IE7 and native support for transparent PNGs across major browsers)
  • Look to other cultures as well as other mediums for inspiration. Andy shows examples of Arabic, Japanese and Russian newspapers; each with their own use of the grid and each different from what we would in most western newspapers.

3 responses to “Andy Clarke – Inspired design”:

  1. […] The amazing Andrew has done a far better job of blogging the presentation at the Web Directions blog post Andy Clarke – Creating Inspired Design […]

    • By: Sara Lander
    • September 29th, 2006

    Andrew, if the web development gig doesn’t work out for you you’d be an excellent court stenographer! Or perhaps you could write Hansard :)

    Thanks so much for this, I am really disappointed to be missing just about everything but this way I get to get the gist of the presentations (and read my husband’s quips before he recounts them to me in triumph later)

  2. […] Andy Clarke gave an inspirational speech about looking beyond the header/sidebar/content/footer layouts we’ve all used a million times before, and to look for our muse everywhere. The print world continually strives for originality, and while it is less restricted than us webby folk, we should try not to limit ourselves to simply doing what we’ve always done. Take influence from magazines, not just for layout and colour schemes, but also the little things often overlooked, like sidebars, clip-out forms, photographs and product lists.There was one point that Andy made that I disagreed with. He said that he preferred to for his social bookmarking needs, purely on the visual design. I don’t know if it was a statement about form over function, or maybe Ma.gnolia works better for the way he uses social bookmarking apps, or maybe it’s just a personal preference between two similarly functioning web apps. Maybe, and its entirely possible, but maybe I just missed the point. […]