Showcase of Web Design in Ireland

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This post is the second article of our new series “Global Web Design“. Over the next months we’ll be covering various continents, featuring web developers and web designs from different countries of the world and taking a close look of what is happening in the web design scene worldwide. We started last week with Russian web design1521. We continue now with Ireland (Lee Munroe) and Brazil (Fabio Sasso).

If you’d like to prepare an article for this series, please contact us1532 and we’ll discuss the details.

Ireland. The land of the leprechauns, green fields and Guinness. But what about the web industry in Ireland? There have been a host of interesting things happening both North and South of Ireland recently. Nicholas Felton talked in Belfast, Ze Frank talked in Dublin, FOWA3 came to Dublin for the first time and FOWD4 came to Belfast. Are all these high profile events an indication that there are exciting things happening throughout Ireland?

Screenshot5
Irish Web Design: Destination Dublin6

To give you an insight into some of the interesting stuff happening, I’ve interviewed several high profile Irish designers involved in the web industry and how they feel Ireland is making an impact on the rest of the world, along with a showcase of some of the more inspiring websites being produced.

State Of Things

Q: How do you feel the standard of web design throughout Ireland sits with the rest of the world, and how is it changing?

Alan O’Rourke7: I really felt 2-3 years ago that it was lagging way behind. There were a few really good designers you could count on one hand. But lately there are designers and sites springing out of nowhere with top class international standard portfolio sites and an amazing can-do attitude.

Around about the same time a brilliant grass roots community started building with a new openness and sharing of knowledge. Open coffees, Barcamps, and showcase sites all focusing on highlighting Irish talent. In terms of commercial design, photography and illustration I see Ireland being quite comfortably up there with the best in the world. However, it still has a way to go in terms of experimentation and more artistically driven websites.

blizzards8
Irish Web Design: The Blizzards9

Eoghan McCabe10: Honestly, the standard of web design in Ireland is extraordinarily disappointing. Most people would rather not admit that and make an excuse: “there are great people out there, they’re just not known”, and so on. But the truth is that there are very few people, if any really, influencing web design on a global level from Ireland. You could make a list of 100 influential web designers from around the world, and not one of those would be Irish.

Why is this? We are a small country and maybe that makes a difference. But there are still plenty of web designers here. I think the problem stems from a general lack of global ambition; a lot of Irish designers, entrepreneurs and others strive for local victories only. But that’s another blog post!

The good news is that change is on the way. And it’s coming from the bottom up. It’s coming from the young guys that grew-up in a more confident, peaceful Ireland. And it’s coming from the underdog Universities like University of Ulster11 and their Interactive Multimedia Design course and, all things going to plan, a good Dublin college who will launch a Masters in emerging web technologies soon.

tapmap12
The Tap Map13

Ray Doyle14: The standard of web design in Ireland has come a long way in the past 18 months. We are seeing some new, exciting work from talented Irish designers and developers. More so from the small independent Web studios than the big agencies, who I think are finding it hard to up-skill at the rate that is needed in this fast paced industry. Compared to the rest of the world, I think we are right up there. I feel the majority of the Irish companies are more cautious than, say, companies from New York or London. But with a little time, I think we can shift the mindset to be a bit more daring and forward thinking when it comes to creating engaging web experiences.

Sabrina Dent15: That’s a very complicated question actually. We have a pool of very talented designers here relative to our size, but we’re lacking the trickle-down effect of good aspirational design. To a large degree, people’s standards and expectations are influenced by what they’re exposed to everyday; in the Republic, we don’t have any outstanding broadcast sites like the BBC16, no top-notch newspaper sites like Rue 8917, and no WhiteHouse.gov18 – pretty much every government website here is universally horrendous.

Having said that, I think the biggest change is in the clients. More clients are thinking bigger, and looking for higher-caliber design. I think that’s a really positive step forward.

glenilen19
Irish Web design: Glenilen Farm20

Web Standardistas (Christopher Murphy & Nicklas Persson)21: The island of Ireland is quickly establishing itself as a contender internationally. There’s a real energy emerging in Belfast which makes it very exciting to be working in this field, here, at this time. We’re thrilled to be helping to shape the industry as it grows from strength to strength.

Q: Is education in the web industry important in the web industry and do you feel there is adequate education available, both North & South, for developing professional world class designers?

Alan O’Rourke: Hmm, tough question as I didn’t study design in college myself. For an industry that moves and develops so quickly it must be difficult to build a course around it. Most of the institutions do it very well — judging by the quality of the graduates coming out. In this industry what is important is the ability of self learning. College is a great starting point, but then you need to start tracking the industry’s changing standards and techniques.

However, the business part of web design is not quite there. It does not seem to be covered well as so many designers get quite a shock and, unfortunately, some expensive mistakes are made when they start out in the real world. But then maybe it can’t be taught and you have to learn yourself the hard way.

Screenshot22
White Noise Studios23

Eoghan McCabe: I don’t know if I could consider formal education a fundamental part of the solution, but it certainly plays an important role. For a start, if universities were to stop teaching old techniques and technologies, they might not hinder or turn-off those young students that would like to explore their creativity on the web. But in addition, forward-looking courses that can point passionate students in the right direction can really make a difference. One example of this is the mass of excited, talented people coming out of the previously mentioned University of Ulster course. A few of these guys will play a big part in web design over the next five years.

On top of this, grassroots initiatives like the Build conference24 will invigorate those that have lost their way and inspire a whole new generation of web designers. For this, Ireland cannot thank Andy McMillan25, the young, independent organiser of this event, enough. I don’t think even Andy understands the effect he will have on the Irish web industry and, as a result, the Irish economy, by bringing international heroes like Eric Meyer, Mark Boulton, Andy Budd, et al, to our shores. Andy also runs Refresh Belfast26 which is another example of a grassroots initiative that will make a great impact here.

Screenshot27
Gareth Dickey28

Ray Doyle: Good question, let’s open a can of worms :). I personally feel that in the digital media industry experience is more important than education. I often ask myself would I’ve been a better man, designer, drinker if I had chosen the path of the student and not that of bedroom designer/HTML monkey on minimum wage. I like think to not, well, probably a better drinker.

The main reason I opted for the experience route and not education was the lack of good facilities in Southern Ireland at the time and, based on some of the student portfolios I have seen recently, this is still the case. What we are lacking is an institute dedicated to shaping young talented individuals into digital media hot shots. What we need is our very own “Hyper Island29“.

Winston Binch of Crispin Porter + Bogusky sums it up perfectly “Our Industry desperately needs more schools that specialize in creating and developing digital talent at the level and capacity of Hyper Island”.

standard30
Web Standardistas31

Sabrina Dent: I’m probably biased because when I started doing what I do, there was no formal education available — no certifications, and certainly no degrees. I’m one of those people who believes that good design skill is innate; you can learn everything there is to be taught about user interface design, CSS and XHTML and still not be a good web designer. I’d always choose a good portfolio over a good degree.

There’s a lot of value to being self-taught, not least of which is that you develop the ability to self-teach. Standards and trends in this industry evolve dramatically; tables shift to CSS, ASP shifts to PHP, soulless stock photos shift to quirky illustration, and suddenly everyone wants Ajax for everything. You have to be able to learn new skills as you go along — you’re not going to be in a classroom for the Next Big Thing.

Web Standardistas: As educators, we passionately believe in the importance of establishing a strong foundation on which aspiring professionals can build. We’re constantly refreshing our teaching materials and building upon the solid foundations we have established on our existing courses to offer new programmes tailored to this field. Watch this space.

Screenshot32
Brown Bag Films33

Q: Do you feel it is important for designers (and front end coders) to have working knowledge of development (back end coding) and to what extent?

Alan O’Rourke: Yes, very. I know it had a positive effect on my design after spending a year in a company of developers. It gives you insight into how your design will function, what is required to make it work (or better ways to do it), and how you communicate your design to a developer. I don’t know syntax or functions and ‘object orientated’ twists my noodle but I know what is possible, what is not, and what is just expensive to build.

Eoghan McCabe: I believe in experts with common sense and a healthy appreciation for what their peers do. I have a Computer Science background and I love to try to understand what the developers in Contrast do for our apps. That doesn’t mean I ever could do their work, but it does mean that I can excel at mine in the context of what they need from me.

Beautiful things happen when you throw a bunch of passionate experts in a room together and let them learn from and help each other to achieve a common goal. I always seek feedback on my design work from everyone in the company, no matter what they do, because there’s always insight to be gleaned from different perspectives. Likewise, I love to brainstorm technical solutions with the other guys before they get to work with the code.

Screenshot34
ndrc35

Ray Doyle: Definitely, it’s vital for a web designer to know and understand the limitations of web design. I have seen developers cringe when they are handed a design to code up that’s been put together by a print designer. It’s quite funny to see them flip out. Any serious web designer should have a basic knowledge of CSS/XHTML.

Sabrina Dent: It is certainly a bonus. When you’re developing a front end UI, it’s nice if you know which calls to the database are cheap and which are spendy, for example, or how to avoid little design features that are just not worth their weight in development overhead. But as long as you’re open to feedback from the team actually coding on the ground, it isn’t necessary.

Web Standardistas: We feel it’s absolutely critical for designers to have a working knowledge of development principles. The recent debate between Lukas Mathis36 and Mike Rundell37 goes to the heart of the matter. Their posts, Designers Are Not Programmers38 and Designers Who Are Technical: The More You Know, The Better Your Work39, respectively, offer a comprehensive and well-reasoned look at this topic. In the words of Mr. Rundle, “Designers Don’t Just Make The Pretty.”

Screenshot40
5pieces41

If I was to offer you a pint, what would you go for?

Alan O’Rourke: Any Laager is fine for me.

Eoghan McCabe: I’d give it the whole “oh… what do they have” thing and then settle on a Guinness when the disappointment sets in. But in a perfect world, it would be a Brooklyn Pilsner, a Vedett, a Sierra Nevada IPA or a Galway Hooker.

Ray Doyle: Is it your round? I would have to go for JD instead of the pint.

Sabrina Dent: A pint of Coke with ice. I know, it’s dreadfully boring, but I try to make up for it by being entertaining company.

Web Standardistas: That depends on where we are. Right now we’re in Berlin enjoying a couple of Erdingers. A firm favourite in Sweden would be Norrlands Guld. When in Hong Kong, it would have to be Tsingtao.

What’s going on in Ireland?

There are a host of upcoming events happening in Ireland in the near future. As previously mentioned, Build11842 will be happening Thursday 5th November 2009 and featuring the likes of Eric Meyer, Andy Budd, Mark Boulton and co. Renowned designer Elliot Jay Stocks43 will be talking at the University of Ulster Thursday 3rd December 2009 (a Web Standardistas44 event).

The first Refresh Dublin45 will be held on Thursday October 29th 2009 and will feature speakers including Sabrina Dent. Run by Niamh Redmond, Refresh Dublin is an event that promotes design, technology, usability, and standards.

For information on other upcoming web-related events, check out Digital Media Island46 and Digital Circle47.

Showcase of beautiful web design from Ireland

Evolveni48

Screenshot49

Stakeholder50

Screenshot51

iq36052

Screenshot53

nopostie54

Screenshot55

Living Lyric56

Screenshot57

Amanda Holden58

Screenshot59

paper jam60

Screenshot61

The Ability Awards62

Screenshot63

Dublin Espanol64

Screenshot65

The Exception66

Screenshot67

Country Kitchens Bakery68

Screenshot69

Rob Hearne70

Screenshot71

Arrival72

Screenshot73

Outdoorni74

Screenshot75

Sponsor Lee76

Screenshot77

Skipskap78

Screenshot79

Dead Good Design Agency80

Screenshot81

Mark Wallis82

Screenshot83

Kanchi84

Screenshot85

John Hayes Film86

Screenshot87

Locle88

Screenshot89

Totally Dublin90

Screenshot91

next bus92

Screenshot93

Gift Genies94

Screenshot95

Discover Craigavon96

Screenshot97

Stanley Kubrick: Taming Light98

Screenshot99

Oliver Jeffers100

Screenshot101

pixelcraft design studio102

Screenshot103

Jordan Moore104

Screenshot105

Freshest106

Screenshot107

The Menace108

Screenshot109

Abbey Theatre110

abbey111

Design Innovation112

Screenshot113

Apps114

app115

Plan Ireland116

plan117

Build11842

build119

Mr Brian Burns120

burns121

QFT122

qft123

The Good Little Company124

goodlittle125

Luv That Design126

luv127

The Creative District128

creative129

Strange Victory130

strange131

The Peoples Forest132

peoples133

Contrast134

contrast135

Muzu136

muzu137

Webfactory138

webfactory139

BBC Irish140

bbc141

The Harper Organisation142

harper143

fntnhrl144

fnt145

U Music146

umusic147

Organic Supermarket148

supermarket149

Agtel150

agtel151

What do you think?

What do you think of the Irish web industry? Are there any exceptional sites that haven’t been covered? Share your thoughts.

Stay Tuned and Get in Touch!

This article is the second of our new series “Global Web Design“. Over the next months we’ll be covering various continents, featuring web developers and web designs from different countries of the world and taking a close look of what is happening in the web design scene worldwide. We started last week with Russian web design1521. We’ll continue next with Brazil (Fabio Sasso).

If you’d like to prepare an article for this series, please contact us1532 and we’ll discuss the details.

About the author

Lee Munroe154 is a web designer from Belfast Northern Ireland who runs an Irish web design gallery155 and a user review site for Northern Ireland156. You can follow him on Twitter157.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/10/17/global-web-design-russia/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/before-sending-an-email-please-note/
  3. 3 http://events.carsonified.com/fowa
  4. 4 http://events.carsonified.com/fowd
  5. 5 http://www.avalon-house.ie/dd/index.php
  6. 6 http://www.avalon-house.ie/dd/index.php
  7. 7 http://www.spoiltchild.com/
  8. 8 http://theblizzards.ie/
  9. 9 http://theblizzards.ie/
  10. 10 http://contrast.ie
  11. 11 http://ulster.ac.uk/
  12. 12 http://thetapmap.com/
  13. 13 http://thetapmap.com/
  14. 14 http://www.thecreativedistrict.ie/
  15. 15 http://www.sabrinadent.com/
  16. 16 http://www.bbc.co.uk
  17. 17 http://www.rue89.com/
  18. 18 http://www.whitehouse.gov/
  19. 19 http://www.glenilenfarm.com/
  20. 20 http://www.glenilenfarm.com/
  21. 21 http://www.webstandardistas.com/
  22. 22 http://www.whitenoisestudios.com/
  23. 23 http://www.whitenoisestudios.com/
  24. 24 http://buildconference.com/
  25. 25 http://goodonpaper.org
  26. 26 http://refreshbelfast.org/
  27. 27 http://www.garethdickey.com/
  28. 28 http://www.garethdickey.com/
  29. 29 http://www.hyperisland.se
  30. 30 http://webstandardistas.com
  31. 31 http://webstandardistas.com
  32. 32 http://www.brownbagfilms.com/
  33. 33 http://www.brownbagfilms.com/
  34. 34 http://www.ndrc.ie
  35. 35 http://www.ndrc.ie
  36. 36 http://ignorethecode.net
  37. 37 http://www.flyosity.com
  38. 38 http://ignorethecode.net/blog/2009/03/10/designers-are-not-programmers/
  39. 39 http://flyosity.com/application-design/designers-who-are-technical-the-more-you-know-the-better-your-work.php
  40. 40 http://5pieces.com/
  41. 41 http://5pieces.com/
  42. 42 http://buildconference.com/
  43. 43 http://elliotjaystocks.com/
  44. 44 http://www.webstandardistas.com/
  45. 45 http://www.refreshdublin.org/
  46. 46 http://digitalmediaisland.com/
  47. 47 http://digitalcircle.ning.com/
  48. 48 http://www.evolveni.com/
  49. 49 http://www.evolveni.com/
  50. 50 http://www.stakeholdermedia.com/
  51. 51 http://www.stakeholdermedia.com/
  52. 52 http://www.iq360.eu/
  53. 53 http://www.iq360.eu/
  54. 54 http://www.carteblanchegreetings.com/nopostie/
  55. 55 http://www.carteblanchegreetings.com/nopostie/
  56. 56 http://www.supportthelyric.com/
  57. 57 http://www.supportthelyric.com/
  58. 58 http://www.officialamandaholden.com/
  59. 59 http://www.officialamandaholden.com/
  60. 60 http://paperjamdesign.com/site/page/home
  61. 61 http://paperjamdesign.com/site/page/home
  62. 62 http://theabilityawards.com/
  63. 63 http://theabilityawards.com/
  64. 64 http://www.dublinenespanol.com
  65. 65 http://www.dublinenespanol.com
  66. 66 http://theexception.eu/
  67. 67 http://theexception.eu/
  68. 68 http://www.countrykitchensbakery.ie/
  69. 69 http://www.countrykitchensbakery.ie/
  70. 70 http://www.robphoto.ie/
  71. 71 http://www.robphoto.ie/
  72. 72 http://www.arrival.ie/
  73. 73 http://www.arrival.ie/
  74. 74 http://www.outdoorni.com/
  75. 75 http://www.outdoorni.com/
  76. 76 http://sponsorlee.org/
  77. 77 http://sponsorlee.org/
  78. 78 http://www.skipskap.com/
  79. 79 http://www.skipskap.com/
  80. 80 http://www.dead-good.com/
  81. 81 http://www.dead-good.com/
  82. 82 http://www.markwallis.ie/
  83. 83 http://www.markwallis.ie/
  84. 84 http://www.kanchi.org/home/
  85. 85 http://www.kanchi.org/home/
  86. 86 http://www.johnhayesfilm.com/
  87. 87 http://www.johnhayesfilm.com/
  88. 88 http://www.locle.com/
  89. 89 http://www.locle.com/
  90. 90 http://www.totallydublin.ie/
  91. 91 http://www.totallydublin.ie/
  92. 92 http://nextbus.ie/
  93. 93 http://nextbus.ie/
  94. 94 http://www.giftgenies.com/
  95. 95 http://www.giftgenies.com/
  96. 96 http://www.discovercraigavon.com/
  97. 97 http://www.discovercraigavon.com/
  98. 98 http://www.kubricktaminglight.com/
  99. 99 http://www.kubricktaminglight.com/
  100. 100 http://www.oliverjeffers.com/
  101. 101 http://www.oliverjeffers.com/
  102. 102 http://www.pixelcraft.ie/
  103. 103 http://www.pixelcraft.ie/
  104. 104 http://www.jordanmooredesign.com/
  105. 105 http://www.jordanmooredesign.com/
  106. 106 http://freshe.st/
  107. 107 http://freshe.st/
  108. 108 http://www.themenace.com/
  109. 109 http://www.themenace.com/
  110. 110 http://www.abbeytheatre.ie/
  111. 111 http://www.abbeytheatre.ie/
  112. 112 http://www.designinnovation.ie/
  113. 113 http://www.designinnovation.ie/
  114. 114 http://apps.ie/
  115. 115 http://apps.ie/
  116. 116 http://plan.ie/
  117. 117 http://plan.ie/
  118. 118 http://buildconference.com/
  119. 119 http://buildconference.com/
  120. 120 http://www.mrbrianburns.com/
  121. 121 http://www.mrbrianburns.com/
  122. 122 http://www.queensfilmtheatre.com/
  123. 123 http://www.queensfilmtheatre.com/
  124. 124 http://goodlittlecompany.com/
  125. 125 http://goodlittlecompany.com/
  126. 126 http://www.luvthatdesign.com/
  127. 127 http://www.luvthatdesign.com/
  128. 128 http://www.thecreativedistrict.ie/
  129. 129 http://www.thecreativedistrict.ie/
  130. 130 http://strangevictory.co.uk/
  131. 131 http://strangevictory.co.uk/
  132. 132 http://www.peoplesforest.ie/
  133. 133 http://www.peoplesforest.ie/
  134. 134 http://www.contrast.ie/
  135. 135 http://www.contrast.ie/
  136. 136 http://www.muzu.tv/
  137. 137 http://www.muzu.tv/
  138. 138 http://www.webfactory.ie/
  139. 139 http://www.webfactory.ie/
  140. 140 http://www.bbc.co.uk/irish/
  141. 141 http://www.bbc.co.uk/irish/
  142. 142 http://www.harperfreedom.org/
  143. 143 http://www.harperfreedom.org/
  144. 144 http://www.fntnhrl.com/
  145. 145 http://www.fntnhrl.com/
  146. 146 http://www.umusic.ie/
  147. 147 http://www.umusic.ie/
  148. 148 http://www.organicsupermarket.ie/
  149. 149 http://www.organicsupermarket.ie/
  150. 150 http://www.agtel.ie/
  151. 151 http://www.agtel.ie/
  152. 152 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/10/17/global-web-design-russia/
  153. 153 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/before-sending-an-email-please-note/
  154. 154 http://www.leemunroe.com
  155. 155 http://webdesignire.com/
  156. 156 http://lookaly.com
  157. 157 http://twitter.com/leemunroe

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Lee Munroe is a freelance web designer from Belfast. You can see his other writings on web design on his blog.

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  1. 1

    An excellent show all around as usual. Some talented designers I need to look into :P

    My favorites so far are: nopostie and Sponsor Lee.

  2. 2

    I wonder how the vertical nosedive the Irish economy is in, is effecting the web industry, especially with rumours of some of big IT guns jumping ship to other countries, Dell, Apple etc.

    • 3

      Apple and Dell have their own countries?

    • 5

      I work for a small agency in the center of Dublin and we are totally swamped. I’ve spoken to another few guys at different agencies and they say the same. So right now, doin’ not too bad at all!

  3. 6

    I love these regions based showcases ! It’s a really good idea. Keep it on !

  4. 7

    Great selection, perhaps missing some great designers. But cant complain, you are showing a few of mine. Mind you, there is an error: above THE EXCEPTION, the green site is dublinenespanol.com it has no title and the link is wrong!! And take the chance to visit quomo.org will ya? ;)

  5. 8

    Some great looking designs, but can never understand how rip offs and sites with cross browser compatibility make it onto these lists…

  6. 9

    Great article, some nice websites!

  7. 10

    what a refreshing list! i particularly like the use of asymmetry in many of the designs. i am getting so tired of seeing the same grids everywhere i look, as if everyone in the u.s. is lazily using the same css frameworks. although i see them used in this showcase to some extent, their implementation is more thoughtful.

    bravo to irish designers!

  8. 11

    “Hello, I’m a website… please click my buttons gently”

    LOL that made my day, there are many many cool designers and suberb web graphics.

  9. 12

    Some great designs there, but there are a few of them are that are pretty unoriginal too.

  10. 13

    I really like the regional design showcases. I didn’t really see anything that made me go “wow, that’s something I’ve never seen.” I guess I did see green used in ways I’d not seen before :)

  11. 14

    Fascinating article! This series had me hooked from the start, keep it up :)

  12. 15

    Russia vs Ireland – holywar?:)

  13. 16

    Great article. Waiting for Italy… and for my book! ‘cmon guys!

  14. 17

    Im disapointed that rehab studio is nowhere to be found on this article. only last month rehab studio won an FWA award for the work on Doritos ID3, (http://id3.doritos.co.uk/) developed and partially designed in Belfast! also named Invest NI’s fastest growing company just last month… the company does work for some of the biggest brands in the world..

    check it out at http://www.rehabstudio.com and tell me you think its wrong that rehabstudio wasnt included…

  15. 18

    I am not impressed!!!
    PS. “Hello, I’m a website… please click my buttons gently” was at least funny.

  16. 19

    move on to glocal comprehensions! :)

  17. 20

    Definitely like them :)

  18. 21

    At Sabrina Dent as manager of the NICS web team I take offence at your remark that government sites are
    horrendous. My team have produced nidirect.gov.uk and c4ni.com I think both could easily be showcased here. Granted legacy sites (which we didn’t design) are poor but we are knocking out some
    excellent work.

  19. 22

    I love the Organic Supermarket and The Peoples Forest.

  20. 23

    Living away from home, it’s nice to finally see a showcase of Irish design. I’d like to see an article about Irish graphic designers or illustrators. There has to be plenty to choose from! I agree with Alan O Rourke about the lack of experimental sites. I think you only see these sites only really with either personal or high-end studios.

    Anyone care to recommend an Irish design community other that creativeireland.com?

  21. 24

    Ireland sure like their paper

  22. 25

    DT: you might want to put a redirect in place there for nidirect… and psni…… Only the www versions work from here.

  23. 26

    Cool that they mention Hyper Island. It´s a great school indeed.

  24. 27

    Great collection on Ireland web designs, the Global Web Design series are gold!

    Instead of one person doing all the research on a particular country, which can be limited , why not have a form where designers/developers can submit their work as well. This way, the author has a stack of web sites to choose from.

    Would love to see Australia web designs!

  25. 28

    Great, thanks for all the comments and thanks @smashingmag for publishing this. There are a lot of great designers, established and emerging, from Ireland and I hope this encourages and inspires so many more.

    @Richard: I’ve featured at least one site, possibly a couple, from Rehab. They’re an excellent studio but the intention wasn’t to pimp any particular companies directly with this article, but to showcase to the rest of the world what we’re up to.

    @Darren Taylor: I would agree with Sabrina that typically government sites are poor but it’s great to see you’re making a difference (very impressed with PSNI site for example) so there are a few good gov related sites starting to emerge.

    @Danny Coyne: A graphic designer/illustrator post would be great to see – any takers?

    Looking forward to the other countries.

    • 29

      Hey Lee
      ‘the intention wasn’t to pimp any particular companies directly’

      you seem to be doing a good job of pimping yourself with a website of your own in this article?

      i dont particularly think the article showcases the best in web design. 50% of these are good but the rest are very average.. in fact id wager that my 4 year old nephew can do better than the web standardistas site!

      i think a lot of guys were missed out, theres some talented designers around belfast and none of them were showcased.. sorry but its not a fair portrayal of web design in ireland.

  26. 30

    Ian Sayers @iwsayers

    October 23, 2009 4:25 pm

    I have to say the comment regarding Governement websites would have been true a few years ago but now there is a team of really inspirational and very highly talented people working towards making Governement sites in NI both user friendly and highly creative (all within the strict guidelines available)

    I have trained them and worked with them over the past few years and believe me they are a lot better than some “professional design companies” out there.

    Some great sites listed and its even better to see some folk getting a mention – Andy (@goodonpaper) deserves a knighhood for his commitment to proper Design Events. I for one am glad to be part of Build (even in a demonstration / sponsoring side) and Refresh Belfast should now be covered for Video/sponsorship (in some way) for some of the events.

    Both Chris and Nick deserve a lot of credit for what they are doing in the Art College and their Book – again foundational topics for healthy development.

    Anything we can do to raise the level and quality of Design / Web Design is a plus for me. We (Giant Training) are bringing Adobe to Dublin and Belfast on the 24th Novermber (Dublin) and the 25th November (Belfast) to showcase their software together with Apple and Extensis.

    Along with this we have the NI Design Alliance Launch happening on the 3rd November so its moving things in the right direction.

    We have a lot of really talented designers out there that are hungry and thirsty for both work and knowledge – time to give them what they want and see what the future holds !

  27. 31

    Christopher Anderton

    October 23, 2009 4:52 pm

    Who will the first one to create a “Hello, i’m a…” generator?

  28. 32

    Great list SM.
    That’s really awesomw homepages.

  29. 33

    A brilliant showcase of work in Ireland. Shows what talent our country has

  30. 34

    Thanks for mentioning all those conferences happening on our doorstep, hadn’t a clue about any of them (Viscom UUB tends to only advertise the print designer talks… tch).

    I do kind of feel that as a small country with relatively high broadband coverage we could be quite good at this stuff if we put our minds to it… after all we need some industry to replace the mills and shipyards!

  31. 35

    @Darren Taylor and @Ian Sayer: My comment was in reference to Republic of Ireland websites. It actually says, “In the Republic” in fact. I’m sure your police site is lovely; ours would make you weep blood. The UK and NI have an enourmous advantage in that the public sector has embraced standards and open data; here, Dáil Éireann can’t even publish their own records without collosal output issues for 71 days in a row. It’s a very, very different world here.

  32. 36

    Really Nice:

    Much creative than russians in webdesigning as a post on abduzeedo.com

    you can write your view on this topic on

    (note: only a comment, don’t take it personnel)

  33. 37

    Excellent showcase, inded! You’re the best to showcase never-seen-before designs, I admire you a lot for that. Much inspiring stuff up there… :) Plus I love Ireland!

  34. 38

    I really enjoyed browsing through these sites, many of which I had admired before but been unaware these were based in Ireland!

    Thanks for continuing this series – I’m certainly looking forward to future instalments!

  35. 39

    Christopher Murphy

    October 24, 2009 1:58 am

    An interesting roundup Lee, I was surprised at the number of sites I’d not seen before or stumbled across. Thanks for putting in the work researching everything, getting the questions together and tying it all up in a well presented package.

    @Chris Armstrong I used to be one of the staff on Visual Communication, I now run the Masters course that Lee studied on (MA Multidisciplinary Design), I also teach the final year Interactive Design students.

    We’re constantly bringing over good speakers, to inspire the students. Recently we’ve had: Nicholas Felton, Poke London, Hulger, Adrian Shaughnessy, Graphic Though Facility… You’re more than welcome to attend these events and it would be good to see more students from Visual Communication doing so. I’ve always thought it odd that we don’t see more students from your area attending these events, I was under the impression they were announced?

    We announce all of our talks and presentations over at Web Standardistas’, you might want to follow us on Twitter (@standardistas) to get a heads up on forthcoming events.

    It’s great to see the level of work that’s being done throughout the island of Ireland. As an educator, I feel a real sense of pride in what we’re achieving and really feel we’re punching above our weight. Great work everyone, keep it up.

  36. 40

    Well done to everyone covered here. Great to see the locals getting a bit of good press. @digmo

  37. 41

    Really love this posts on web design around the world. I would like to a similar round up for italy, but italian web design really sucks!!!

  38. 42

    Fantastic article – some really clever sites in this list – particularly liked http://www.organicsupermarket.ie/ – very clever use of flash. Thanks for the research.

  39. 43

    As alluded to already, there is a chasm between designers and clients and not just in Ireland. The former tend to be somewhat opiniated and have an attitude that only their design is the best -and yours is crap. A better way for designers to win clients over is instead to say “Hey here’s a better look for you that will win more business”. So do try that.

    Consider as an example the Irish web award winning Killdarestreet.com -Nothing fancy, text oriented but still a winner (in some eyes). Designers should know that whilst looks are important, speed and performance of the application matter just as much.

    Remember there is nothing fancy at all about the Google homepage -but it sure runs quick.

    AJA.

  40. 44

    I think what smashing mag needs to do next is an article on web design in Government. From the inside, not the sites suppliers create. In Gov we’re faced with many complications that a typical private sector company doesn’t. For instance, we’ve around 18,000 users on IE6, to most that is the Internet, so sites have to perform reasonably well in our least favourtie browser! Take http://www.nidirect.gov.uk, it has content contributors from 11 Departments, not to mention some other public sector organisations starting to get involved. The co-ordination of such an operation with a very small fraction of people compared to Directgov really does deserve praise. Last but not least, we’ve been developing to AA standards for 5 years, we’ve a pre go live audit process in place and I’m confident that in N.Ireland we’re ahead of GB in that respect.

  41. 45

    Thank you very much Lee for the article!

  42. 46

    some very beautiful work here. Maybe this could be a recurring theme… A country showcase.

  43. 47

    Nice designs’ but nothing really unic….

  44. 48

    I’m disappointed that my design company, Simplified Impact isn’t included in the design showcase. Especially since it’s a nice simple design that has been featured elsewhere (in CSS galleries) and that the code is top-notch W3C standards.

    Any chance of an inclusion?

    Thanks,
    Edmund.

  45. 49

    @Darren Taylor: I have to agree with Lee, government websites are generally poor.

    I’d also include nidirect in the list of poor sites

  46. 50

    You can definitely see that Irish web design has come quite a long way in the last few years. However there are only a select few individuals and companies raising the bar in terms of overall quality, too many are undervaluing their service and churning out lackluster work!

    Hopefully 2010 will see the quality of design raise on a wider scale as Ireland’s web community becomes more aware and people begin to see the ‘true value’ in their web presence.

    Oh and thanks for showcasing one of mine :)

  47. 52

    hm) Not so beautiful as Russian design..but thanx!

  48. 53

    :) is really cool the stuff you has been posted, i think que desing have a diferents inspirations , related whit the enviroment who round the idea. i hope you look around the Latin american Web desing and chilean of coourse..

    i lov ur website..

    take care!

    Viva chile… vamos al mudial de sudafrica!!1

  49. 54

    Great article—and great idea for a series!

  50. 55

    Podveg Razvedcheka

    October 25, 2009 11:53 pm

    As to me, phrase “Hello, I’m a website… please click my buttons gently” have irritated me

  51. 56

    OK what i think is : IRISH RULE!

    thanks smashing ^-^

  52. 57

    I’m Northern Irish however I studied in London and will continue to work in London as a Flash developer because I don’t think there are enough possibilities in Ireland, especially if you want to work for a company that creates innovative pieces. This hasn’t changed my mind!

  53. 58

    >>> Maybe a rank ?!? – then we can choose the region of the best web design :)
    Fantastic idea anyway.

  54. 59

    Ireland much better than russia. More organic, more elegant, more ecologic. Beautiful information design, pleasing to the eye, good work with typography.

  55. 60

    I’m an often guest on http://www.enya.com (official website for Enya, Irish singer) and I have to say that this website is nice from design site, but code is terrible. Too many mistakes in flash, and no “return” buttons that are needed a lot because of loxian games announced in it. In this game you need to travel between websites to fing some key words but it is very hard to do without any good navigation ((

  56. 61

    @Steven Hylands thanks for your feedback but can you be more constructive than just saying poor?

  57. 62

    please write an article on India . I m great fan of ur site . atleast let me know what you think of india.

  58. 63

    Eoghan McCabe – “a more confident, peaceful Ireland” lolwut?

    Is this guy for real?

  59. 64

    With the exception of NDRC, it would seem that the Irish have reached the same heights of mediocrity and templatyism as any other web-savvy nation. This work could have just as easily come from a shop here in Canada.

  60. 65

    I really don’t get these kinds of articles. Yeah, it’s good to see what people are doing with the web but this article proves that location is irrelevant.

    It would be interesting to see differences between countries, but Ireland? Really? It’s not like there is any major cultural differences between the emerald isles and and say the UK, or the US.

  61. 66

    i did not know that Irish can build beautiful websites ;P nice!

  62. 67

    I think this post is another evidence that Global Web Design today is actually Global. Thanks for interesting set!

  63. 68

    Nothing unique here.

    Mundane comments from so called professionals in Ireland who don’t really know what they are talking about – everyone can learn without going to university, this does not mean its the right thing to do. Of course university is important. A good website should have intuitive navigation, fast load times etc. User interface design is definitely something that can and should be taught formally.

    Most of those sites look pretty (although lots are copied from elsewhere) but they are not new or innovative, usable, cross browser compatible, they don’t suit all screen resolutions, they are not easily navigated etc. These aspects of a website are more important than how “beautiful” it is.

  64. 70

    these sites give me great inspiration… thanks again!!!

  65. 71

    Hi Guys – Just spotted your post on global web design and wanted to say please dont forget the Caribbean. They’re making great strides in Trinidad and Tobago, in particular, sites like Draconian Switch, tnttimes.com. Mango Media Caribbean. Carlton Savannah. Above studios, these are just a few of my favs.

    Totally love what you guys do!
    nn

  66. 72

    I love this “global design” posts, i’ll be waiting for de next…

    Greeting from Montevideo, Uruguay

  67. 73

    just inspired with Irish love them

  68. 74

    So many cool looking sites— so little time to check them all out :-(

  69. 75

    After being there so long I didn’t even know these guys… webdesign is not developed here as other countries and I’m sure there really are talented designers hidden behind their mac ;)

    The idea of discover “what’s going onoutside” is great !

    Cheers from Dublin

  70. 76

    Great piece,
    great work,
    Irish humor in parts.. clean design’s …
    lovely..
    cheers..

  71. 77

    Excellent article, I recently emigrated from Ireland with a non-web design degree and ended up as a web designer. Great to see that some of my compatriots are doing some excellent work and driving the industry forward.

  72. 78

    hy guys

    i want to say something…………..i think this look of site is not comfertable for your viewer or user ur prev look is too gud and very user friendlly.

    thanks

  73. 79

    Peter - Emagine Media

    November 11, 2009 2:57 pm

    Great article – we’re a web design firm in Waterford, Ireland and love seeing all this home grown creative talent.

  74. 80

    Hey !
    Do you plan to make a showcase of web design in France someday ? Or maybe I missed it ?

    And thanks for all good posts you publish here !

  75. 81

    Great list, thanks a lot

  76. 82

    Hello, luvthatdesign has been relaunched as http://www.insp-ire.com

  77. 83

    I was a little underwhelmed looking back at this showcase compared to some of the other regions we’ve looked at. Some solid work, but the bar has room to be raised! Go go go!

  78. 84

    Some great designs. Especially loved the one with of the organic supermarket.
    I love that you guys do showcases on webdesign all over the world :)
    If you like free and creative Twitter backgrounds then come and visit us at viuu.co.uk

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