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Author Topic: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.  (Read 5919 times)

superboyac

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I'm looking for ideas for a very simple, yet elegant website design.  If there's something that hits me good, I'll start designing it with my websites theme designer.  Here are my requirements:
--simple and elegant

--no sites with banners and ads all over the place, even if done tastefully

--top menu driven navigation scheme (not sidebar)

--one or two column only

--I'm very interested in nice color schemes

--not one of those flash-heavy sites where there's a lot of animation and very creative movements, shapes, etc.  A lot of musicians' websites do this.

OK, please recommend, thank you.

The feel I want for the website is like when you walk into the library of someone's 100 year old, well-maintained mansion.  There's a nice leather armchair, with mahogany tables around, and on the table is a book.  The book is my content, the room is the aura.  That's the feel I want.  This doesn't mean I want a mahogany wood background.  I'm just talking about the feel.

Thanks!

Eóin

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 06:19:09 PM »
You should browse through some wordpress themes. Even if what you want is nothing to do with wordpress or blogging they are still an excellent source of inspiration.

Paul Keith

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 09:06:50 PM »
This Quora topic may interest you: http://www.quora.com...killer-landing-pages

I also gave my answer there but it's kind of long and many either don't apply or no longer exist.

Also subscribe to the official Wordpress blog. They often announce new themes there like the recently popular (but I didn't like) Wu Wei - http://en.blog.wordp...14/new-theme-wu-wei/

Tumblr themes are also generally high on most people's list of great themes.

I've also recently praised Posterous' new M82 theme in Twitter but I'm not sure you're looking for a blog theme.

Some suggestions that may narrow down the choices:

Quote
--top menu driven navigation scheme (not sidebar)

Nowadays with blog services allowing for both, it's really an issue more of "does this ABSOLUTELY mean no sidebar?" or just top menu driven navigation scheme?

It just seems weird because then you mention two columns but generally two column design is sidebar plus body.

Quote
--I'm very interested in nice color schemes

Could you narrow it down to dark/white/minimal...that kind of thing? For example Wu Wei isn't viewed as having nice color schemes in the sense of colorful but it works.

Generally any set of color that mixes well with contrast checkers work.

Quote
The feel I want for the website is like when you walk into the library of someone's 100 year old, well-maintained mansion.  There's a nice leather armchair, with mahogany tables around, and on the table is a book.  The book is my content, the room is the aura.  That's the feel I want.  This doesn't mean I want a mahogany wood background.  I'm just talking about the feel.

Feel is relative. (Although this may be because I know nothing of design)

The description you mentioned goes in contrast to:

Quote
--not one of those flash-heavy sites where there's a lot of animation and very creative movements, shapes, etc.  A lot of musicians' websites do this.

See this site for example: http://www.boscoffeeclub.com/

I'm not sure if that's working because it's currently isn't on my part but it's a flash site that gives a feel of the type of environment you are describing to me...but it's a flash site.

The biggest issue is this:

Quote
There's a nice leather armchair, with mahogany tables around, and on the table is a book.  The book is my content, the room is the aura.

This often connotates movement and in fact your eyes have to shift to get this sensation if this were a physical room.

The only static theme that I can think of is the general design for Ubuntu but many feel the design of the operating system is very "dry" and ugly with a mix of orange and brown.

You could try the main page or the Ubuntu Wiki look but that's not exactly a vivid image of a library.

You could try searching for Parchment templates like this:

parchment-med.gif

Source: http://www.eblogtemp...t-templates/page/12/

...but they aren't exactly "out of the book" if you know what I mean.

Still you could combine them with things like this:

55.jpg

Source: http://www.themza.co...e-library-theme.html

But generally my guess would be that you'll end up discovering and liking a theme that doesn't match with your description (or only barely matches that) based on how you are currently describing your design.

Still... I'm no designer. I'm not really trying to criticize your original thread as much as elaborating where I think you could be much more specific.

Finally going back to the book is your aura thing. You might be interested in how ubook looks in case you haven't known of the application before. You could theoretically zoom that out into a background showing a library of any kind and it would seem the book is the focus.

ubook.gif

Source: http://dearauthor.co...p-ereading-programs/


cmpm

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010, 09:38:21 PM »
Aesthetics would explain the feel of a web site, or anywhere really.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetics

Aesthetically pleasing for a particular feel of a library like atmosphere.
Or similar.

http://www.google.co...mp;oe=utf-8&aq=t

Or use a thesaurus to get another word to search, to find more.

Hope you find what you have in mind.

superboyac

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2010, 11:17:12 PM »
People, maybe I wasn't clear...
I'm not looking for an actual theme.  I'm just looking for ideas.  The theme will be built by myself and the theme author.

Also, I'm looking for sites that YOU guys think are beautiful.  Please don't ask me to go and google something or browse the wordpress themes.  I already know how to do that.  If there is a favorite SPECIFIC site that is a favorite of yours, just link that site or put a screenshot or something like that.  That's going to be the most helpful thing to me.

Also, and I kind of knew this would happen, when i brought up the whole mahogany library thing, I didn't mean that I actually want my website looking like mahogany and have pictures of books and such int he background.  I meant to impart that I want people to feel the kind of peace and elegance one would feel when walking into an old traditional library like that.

OK, that being said, there are some nice ideas in the links you guys have provided so far.
I like the color scheme of that Bo's coffee site.  Nice brown/orange use.  Really nice.
That purple Moodle theme is also bery nice.  I didn't think of purple, but the way they've used the purple and the dark gray is elegant.


Maybe a better question I should have asked is:
What is YOUR favorite website layout, and why?

cmpm

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2010, 07:05:59 AM »
ok.....one of my favorite sites

http://mrguess.redbubble.com/

and you can contact him for ideas
he does design websites as well

40hz

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2010, 07:34:02 AM »
I'm big on minimalist web design. I prefer sites that make good use of legible typography, and that employ understated color, or creative monochrome palettes.

Three of my favorite examples:

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/

http://www.markwieman.com/

http://maketea.co.uk/

 :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: July 03, 2010, 07:38:07 AM by 40hz »

Renegade

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2010, 10:16:52 AM »
...
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/
...

+1 for that! Awesome site!

I don't really have any serious recommendations, but for the look & feel that you want, I think some kind of background for the site could work very well. Nudone and I did this site with a background (NSFW: click here). He got the concept perfect, and the background really works for it. (The design there isn't anything near what you're looking for -- just pointing out a design element that distinguishes sites a lot -- few use backgrounds.)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Paul Keith

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2010, 11:06:23 AM »
Nice detail on the pentagram halo. First time I've seen of the concept.  :up:

Renegade

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2010, 11:30:39 AM »
Nice detail on the pentagram halo. First time I've seen of the concept.  :up:

Yeah. We worked on things there for a while and Nudone nailed it.

This was the original art for it, but I lost contact with the artist. Nudone's style is different, but right on target -- cute. :D
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

superboyac

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2010, 12:04:50 AM »
I'm big on minimalist web design. I prefer sites that make good use of legible typography, and that employ understated color, or creative monochrome palettes.

Three of my favorite examples:

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/

http://www.markwieman.com/

http://maketea.co.uk/

 :Thmbsup:
Thanks, 40.  As usual, i agree with your taste.  I, too, like the minimalist approach, but maybe not quite so much.  I like some color around the edges to frame the content, rather than have it white all around.

There are elements to those 3 sites that I love.  I think I'm going to have to copy them.  First of all, the font in the alistapart site is GORGEOUS.  Wow.  Whatever that font is, I'm copying that.  I also love those soft colors.  I think I may have to go that way.
That mark wieman site is also great.  i don't like the font as much, but I love the cleanliness of the site.  My site may end up looking like that, more or less.
The maketea site also has a great font.  I'm going to use that or the one above.

40hz

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2010, 08:05:23 AM »
If you're designing websites, a good color palette design tool is an essential bit of kit.

Adobe has a particularly nice one called Kuler.

Quote
Explore, create and share color themes

Discover Adobe® Kuler™ — the web-hosted application for generating color themes that can inspire any project. No matter what you're creating, with Kuler you can experiment quickly with color variations and browse thousands of themes from the Kuler community.

You can run it from the website (Flash required), on your desktop (AdobeAir required), or as part of their fabulous (as in powerful and expensive) design suite.

If you register, you can save the themes you create online and optionally share them with the rest of the community.

You can easily browse what others have created:

click to enlarge

ghostcity.jpgPlease recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.

And when you're ready, you can take a crack at designing your own:

click to enlarge

Nowhere.jpgPlease recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.

I tend to favor muted themes with complimentary colors and (at most) one bold element. Here's some samples of themes I liked that were created by Kuler community members.:

Alligator Eraser:
 KULER00.jpg

Barking Up the Maple

KULER.jpg

Blush:
AlligatorEraser.jpg

Cielo:
BarkingUpTheMaple.jpg

Ghost City:
Blush.jpg

Nowhere:
Cielo.jpg


Kuler - very cool tool. Highly recommended. Link HERE :Thmbsup:

 8)

------------

Addendum: despite the lack of Flash support, you can still get Kuler on an iPhone with a free app called ColorSlide. I'm sure there are similiar apps for other smartphones.

Whenever I get bored surfing or checking feeds while on the road I'll often check up on new submitted themes using this app. Great for keeping your creative juices flowing.
 


« Last Edit: July 05, 2010, 11:29:11 AM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2010, 07:19:46 PM »
40hz, thanks again for the very helpful advice.  I dig that Ghost City scheme, as well as the others.  And I didn't know about Kuler, I'll have to play with it in the CS suite.

tomos

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2010, 07:00:34 AM »
maybe a bit late:

This photographer's site is more 'western' in style/colouring but I still thought of it when you mentioned the library 'feel'
Steve McCurry

There's nothing exactly like what you're looking for here, but you might still get some ideas from this Smashing Magazine article:
Principles Of Minimalist Web Design, With Examples
Tom

Edvard

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2010, 08:11:41 PM »
Two sites a little more on the "Beautiful" side, but they do demonstrate wonderful things that can be done with a seemingly "minimal" site.

CSS Beauty
Lots of articles, resources and even a forum, all focused on web design with CSS, with reviews of some shining examples.
Check out the links under the "clean" tag...
http://www.cssbeauty.com/

CSS Zen Garden
Showcase of many different CSS styles applied to the same content.
Each one radically different, any one of which can be amazing, bewildering, or (dare I say it?) cathartic but all hand-picked for awesome, IMHO.
http://www.csszengarden.com
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 08:13:39 PM by Edvard »

Radiola

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2010, 01:40:30 AM »
You can find nice design at free web templates

Curt

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superboyac

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2011, 05:35:00 PM »
well, just FYI (even though I know most of you won't care about this), I've made a lot of changes to my website's "look", you can see it here:
http://aram.dcmember...ts-parity-rules-all/

I'm pretty excited about this design.  I love the earth tones, I love the font styles, and I like how simple and elegant it looks.  I stole a lot of ideas from ethervane's site, alistapart, and some ideas from myself.  I'm still having trouble choosing the best colors for the special styles like the comment box, quotations, etc.  If anyone has ideas, please let me know.  I'd like it to match well with the brown tones I've already chosen, but I'd like them to stand out in a subtle way with a little extra color.  I feel like the pastel blues and oranges I've chosen currently are a little TOO colorful and don't match the spirit of the rest of the site.  But I've run out of ideas.

Thanks 40 for the kuler suggestion, it came in handy.

40hz

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Re: Please recommend beautiful websites with simple, elegant designs.
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2011, 07:26:49 PM »
@dcmembers.com?

Wow! When did DC start hosting? Very cool.