Design Talent No One Should Miss

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thumbgraphAesthetics and graphic design seem to take a back seat to workability and programming excellence in many developments. From an engineering standpoint, this is logical when we talk about usability, but users want beauty as part of their experience too. I searched the Web today to find some of the most strikingly beautiful designs that are not only visually “sweet”, but cutting edge in function as well. Flash projects are of course some of the most beautiful, so for the sake of beauty we will not worry about load times today.

Saizen Media Studios is one of the world’s most acclaimed design firms. Their cinematic and highly detailed work is second to none for many. Highly detailed art is the International calling card for an extraordinary group of artists, engineers, programmers and of course animators there. With offices in Italy and Russia, Saizen’s latest project for Toshiba (below), reflects their ingenuity in both interactive and contextual design.

Flash combined with highly interactive user interface for Toshiba

Flash combined with highly interactive user interface for Toshiba

Saizen portfolio atop fantastic flash animation

Saizen portfolio atop fantastic flash animation


sevenedge Interactive Media is a design agency founded by Frederiek Pascal and Dries Schaballie. Their sites reflects great skill in creating beauty, interactivity as well as engineered exactness and detail. A very impressive portfolio page (below) illustrates projects from Ubi Soft’s Rainbow Six to VT4’s Temptation Island (also below).

This media company creates everything from viral games to microsites, logos and complete websites. From what I could see, every aspect of sevenedge’s work carries the same artistic balance. The only aspect of this design firms work I could find lacking was their company blog – a little dull on the cutting edge here.

sevenedge site reveals beauty atop motion

sevenedge site reveals beauty atop motion

The underworld of sevenedge creations

The underworld of sevenedge creations

Pixel Criminals is one of the most interesting design companies I ran across today. There home site is listed on virtually every publication about design on the Web as far as I can tell, and to be totally honest, theirs may be the most beautiful. Unfortunately for the “want to be beautiful” website owners out there, it does not appear as if PC has very many clients or works in progress.

The best example of their work I could find was a striking minimalistic site for RussianBodyArt. Designed around CMS, the site features a Flash, XML gallery perfectly joined with the dark understated elegance of the theme. Pixel Criminals is proof that Web design is art however few clients have darkened their door. I suspect they are doing work for clients who wish to remain anonymous, as such talent seldom goes unrewarded.

Pixel Criminals landing - unmatched color palette usage

Pixel Criminals landing - unmatched color palette usage

RussianBodyArt by Pixel Criminals conveys the artist's wish

RussianBodyArt by Pixel Criminals conveys the artist's wish

2Advanced Studios is the most visually and technically stunning of the sites listed. 2Advanced was founded by Eric Jordan, Tony Novak and John Carroll in 1999. The studio’s client list reads like a “who’s who” of the digital world including Eidos, Ford Motor Company, Lucas Arts, Nintendo, Adobe and countless others. 2Advanced Quantum of Solace Game involvement (below) illustrates clearly, the company’s continued leadership in the design arts.

2Advanced Studio World

2Advanced Studio World

In game with Bond, James Bond

In game with Bond, James Bond

Exemplary Art

The preceding examples of Web design work may not be everyone’s picks, but they are indicative of the creators of some of the most beautiful websites in the world. They show us that advanced vector graphics, flash, and other programming and engineering wizardry do go hand in hand with aesthetically compelling imagery and animation. The resultant works are simply art by definition, beautiful both in form and function. I know that there are so many others, and invite the reader to submit their favorite examples. Web development has evolved light years beyond cookie cutter Web pages and primitive applications. The world’s greatest developers are artists in every sense; the best see the Web as a canvas in motion – a living work.

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  • http://www.kavoir.com yangyang

    That’s quite a view with all of them!

    Thanks for the share, Phil!

  • inservo

    Wow… I especially like the 2Advanced showcase. Although the second image looks a little more like Lord of the Rings – Khazad Dhum than James Bond it is still amazing!!!

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Hi Guys,

      I was fairly amazed by some of this talent myself. I have seen some of these works in Stumbling or just surfing around, but the depth of talent some of these designers show is truly awe inspiring. I am sure there are hundreds of others I could not find on short notice. I think we need to emulate the very best, and perhaps to change development into a more aesthetic-centric art for clients and their clients. We seem to have gone Google minimalist too far.

      Always,
      Phil

  • Chris A

    I liked this article. While the most important part of web app/website design is functionality and usability, some thought should be given to aesthetics. It doesn’t have to be to the degree in the examples above but adding some color, graphics, custom buttons or maybe a menu built in Silverlight/Flash goes a long way. Our society is very visual.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Totally agree Chris. There are always drawbacks, and I did not search these to find the optimal usability aspects either. Arkh has pointed out that some functionality is lost in these, but I could have easily found one especially in the 2Advanced portfolio, which could do everything but warm morning coffee. I am no designer, far from it, but I do know what the best looks like. The question is “Why sacrifice beauty if you don’t have to?” There are a billion examples of every type of programming language imaginable. I don’t think at this point we need to sacrifice much of anything to get the whole package…that is with enough money.

      Always,
      Phil

  • Patrik

    Great post! You’re absolutely right about the fact that aesthetics and design is often overlooked in technical/web projects. It’s also a very tricky field to judge since design can have so many different meanings to different people. Guess the fact that design tools today are so easy to use makes it more likely that a non-design person would happily go ahead and create what he/she feels to be a striking design when in fact a tool can never replace the eye and hand of a true master.

  • Arkh

    You can’t even use the mousewheel button to open links in another tab on some of these “website”. Sorry, that’s not design, just beautiful graphism.

  • Pavithren

    i am speechless.

  • wayne

    Very impressive selection of design work there.

    Like some of the other commenters i found many of these guys while stumbling or searching for ‘top lists’

    really class stuff

  • http://altoonadesign.com halfasleeps

    I have been a fan of 2advanced almost as long as I have been in the flash field. They change their website entirely every couple of years, they are currently on v5 they should be do for v6 very soon, I am excited to see what ground breaking things it will include.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      I am actually happy to be able to show you guys these and hope a few are new to you. I will do a more extensive search for later on, but everyone should submit what they have found so we can share them. It is a little difficult to be honest, as Google is losing as little steam in the relevancy department I think. The same site keeps popping up. :)

      Always,
      Phil

  • @mkraft

    Phil,
    nice collection of excellent graphics. I’ve been a fan of 2Advanced since I saw them a while back.

    Love the “random finds while stumbling” thing. Serendipity lives on the web!

  • http://www.magain.com/ mattymcg

    Great stuff. Thanks for distracting me—I was in the middle of something important too, dammit!

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      LOL,

      You should been looking through these sites with me Matt and Matt! Though most of the flash loaded fairly quickly, I must say navigating flash at speed can be frustrating after about 300 pages looking for great screens. :)
      I do wish however, that all websites had this sort of gripping aesthetic, it has been a pet peave of mine since I started testing betas 3 or 4 years ago. It is one reason I have adopted the term “Facepoop” to rebrand Facebook. :)
      I actually admire programmers and graphic design people their relative creativeness. Superb stuff from these people. Superb. (BTW – I know which graphic was the most stunning to most of you GUYS). :)

      Always,
      Phil

      • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

        I received and email from a design firm in Tel Aviv in response to this posting. it is a little uncommon for authors to link to other sites after something is said, but I took a look at a fairly impressive array of websites created by Inkod Hypera and one in particular struck me as something the readers here might like to look at. Here is a link to a very crisp and tailored website these guys made. It is exemplary evidence that beauty need not be elaborate to be beautiful. The site conveys the business underneath very well, and it is very balanced as well.

        Another aspect to look at for this site is in how to go “minimalist”. From my experience and taste, I would just say; “If you are going to do it, make it brilliant both in color scheme and organization spatially.” That being said, I hope everyone will comment on this addition as well.

        Always,
        Phil

  • http://www.limevisual.com Christiano

    The reason I decided to become a Web-Developer was simply down to one thing:

    http://v3.2a-archive.com/flashindex.htm

    Can remember the impact this had on me to this day.

    • http://www.pamil-visions.com Phil Butler

      Wow Christiano, That is so cool. I see what you mean. Thanks!
      Always,
      Phil