Web Design: At the Moment

An article by David Brooks on November 8, 2007


I just came to the realization that it’s a good thing I’m a web designer and not interior designer or clothing designer. My reason is simple, what I like about web design translates into something really expensive in any of those other categories.

I’m defining my own style as somewhat traditional and not overly modern. By adding in the “traditional” tag it automatically sets me up for something that’s going to cost more than it should because it’s old. And you know, I really do like the “old world style.” Well, some of it anyway.

That’s not to say that modern is cheap, that would be ridiculous. But, what I do like about modern design is often expensive also. I wouldn’t have chosen the white background for this site had I not appreciated the cleanliness of it. Admittedly part of me wants to change the site again, this time to include something more traditional, something older. (What does ornate dark wood walls translate into on the web?) I have to remind that part of me that I didn’t settle on “Warnock Pro”, “Baskerville” or “Times New Roman” type faces without reason.

The beauty of web design is that there isn’t much in the area of tangibility. You don’t have to worry about gold leaf overlays, dark ornate wood imported from somewhere else, exclusive Egyptian woven fabrics and Italian marble floors. You could use those elements in your design, but it’s only going to be a photo or a texture, not the real item. Thankfully I don’t have to charge clients for luxurious woodwork and elaborate textiles.

Still, web design is an interesting conundrum. I have read recently that people are starting to question the manner in which websites are developed. Armin Vit pointed out that we don’t have many (if any) websites that are as memorable as some of print’s best work.


I don’t feel I’m qualified to answer the question, but I am glad that it has been presented. Khoi Vinh wrote an article expressing the dynamic in his own way, it’s worth reading if you are interested in the subject.

I think ultimately it’s difficult for a new medium to catch on. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s even more difficult when the medium is intangible when compared to others. What I think we have done is catered to the technological side. We have endorsed the presentational manner of the web and we’ve stayed away from being tangible with it. But fair enough, because I can’t remember the last time I could install marble flooring on my site.

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About David Brooks

David Brooks is the owner of the small creative studio, Northward Compass, based out of Orlando, Florida. He writes electronic and ambient music as Light The Deep, and fantasy stories about a place called Elerien.

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