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Paper Strips Menus

The beauty of an excellent design lies in designer’s attention to smallest details. Conventions are our friends; however, to stand out, a design needs a creative spin, an elegant play of colors, some unique flavour — a small detail that would make a big difference.

Where the boundaries between traditional solutions and unusual approaches become fuzzy, designers tend to get creative. However, to come up with unusual ideas isn’t that easy, particularly if you are dealing with some daily routine-tasks. [Content Care Oct/05/2016 – No Links here, the original designs do not exist anymore].

Still, nothing is impossible. Even if you’re designing a navigation menu there are a number of possibilites you can explore. For instance, have you ever thought of… navigation in form of paper strips?

Paper Strips Menu
Deb Sofield sticks posts on a paper pile.

Paper Strips Menu
A menu in the shape of coloured loops.

Paper Strips Menu
These ties will never hang on the neck of a web-developer.

Paper Strips Menu
The navigation menu is simple, nice and fits perfectly to the overall design; navigation options appear to stick out of the content area.

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Sven is the co-founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. He's now writing Science-Fiction and at his Conterest Blog, where he focuses on blogs, content strategy, writing and publishing — all in German.

  1. 1

    very nice!

  2. 2

    Very Boring!

  3. 3

    A bit short, hmm?

  4. 4

    hmm.. holidays got smashing down? posts have been thin lately… thanks for the monday post

  5. 5

    Interesting, but not very inspiring. :-)

  6. 6

    One post per week and this short?

    I still love this site though ;-)

  7. 7

    I think subjects have finished for your blog.

  8. 8

    dagobert renouf

    December 18, 2007 1:38 am

    i love you guys but this post is just not what i can expect from this wonderful magazine.

    1 post a week and still that short ? we got a problem here ..

  9. 9

    uhh…smashing rules, think maybe they have lives? or family? calm down guys!

  10. 10

    I would suggest staying away from the mystery nav like example 3. Most people will have no idea what those are supposed to mean.

  11. 11

    Nice gallery and idea. Smashing magazine is the best webDesign Gallery.

  12. 12

    somehow i hope SM will find better topics, but i’m yet thankful for those great resources of the past.

  13. 13

    And you guys are paying … how much? … for this content?


    Thanks for the creative finds, SM. The world does NOT need another stupid web resource with unimaginative posts every day. Take your time to find neat stuff like this!

  14. 14

    Interesting, thanks!

  15. 15

    Next week on smashing magazine : How to build a 3 column, 2 row table using only .html

  16. 16

    looks really effective, love the tie idea.

    Good stuff!!

  17. 17

    Please tell me the spelling of “Tonight” on the first website is a deliberate mistake! If not, that voice coach needs to change jobs.

  18. 18

    Carlos Eduardo

    December 18, 2007 4:07 am

    I dont like the third example… These icons doesn’t show clearly what they mean…. =/

  19. 19

    not inspiring, sory

  20. 20

    From the “About us” section of this site (emphasis is my own):

    We don’t try to convince you with the quantity, but with the quality of the information we present. That’s what makes us different. In fact, we smash you with the information which will make your life easier. Really.

  21. 21

    I’m at college having to design a cool site with cool navigation (and over the xmas holidays) so this is a GREAT help, thanks!

  22. 22

    Beautiful. If only I could do cool site design…I’m learning, at least. :)

  23. 23

    Nice but useless

  24. 24

    Thx! Very intresting links!

  25. 25

    Something we didn’t all know would have been nice!

  26. 26

    These menus are nice to look at. Difficult to use.

  27. 27

    Been there… done that. Shall wait for next Monday’s Inspiration.

  28. 28

    quite different menus, I like it !

  29. 29

    I was wondering if you had some samples not requiring the use of flash or javascript, but just straight html/css. Thx for the post.

  30. 30

    this was ok.
    i dont know anything about design, or poofs for that matter.
    I subscribed to your feed, but its doesnt come through enough.
    I usually like it when it does.
    keep on trying!

  31. 31

    cmon guys.. it’s almost end of year… I don’t mind a short post. got a bit on anyway.

  32. 32

    good jobs !
    but they are difficult to use in commercial websites

  33. 33

    I thought about designing a paperstrip navigation months before, but this does not help me to create something brand new. It’s not as inspiring as the last weeks post was.
    Merry Christmas (i guess this is the reason for the few posts in the last time)

  34. 34

    Michael Skirde

    December 18, 2007 7:00 pm

    Great idea! This will make the web more beautiful.

  35. 35

    Smashing Magazine is awesome, keep up the good work…

    Those who criticize, you would almost think you were paying for the service!

  36. 36

    i don’t think these is greatest article you do. the paper strips is ugly. but smashing magazine is the best. i love you. will you marry me?

  37. 37

    A good introduction to this style and some nice examples. It’s about time we had a short post ;) – it is Christmas after all and, a very Merry time to one and all..

  38. 38

    decent post, not sure why everyone feels the need to be 133t, but what i cant get over is when a site is very nice looking and its get butchered by a developer. Im a developer myself and i would never goof up like the first navigation did. Text is running into an image….eh whatever now i sound l33t, haha.

  39. 39

    Very very nice indeed.
    Great post dude.

  40. 40

    WoW :-O

  41. 41

    They look nice but for my taste too playful to use on a serious website.

  42. 42

    err.. outline:none;

  43. 43

    Happy Christmas Smashing Magazine + F**k the begrudgers and moaners!

  44. 44

    Hmmm… not sure about that. Interesting, but not very inspiring to be honest… still worth bringing to our attention though.

    Keep up the good work.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  45. 45


    that is very nice

    (a lot of a lot)

  46. 46

    very nice!

  47. 47

    Great Resource

  48. 48

    I agree with the people saying that menu #3 is no good. It isn’t. There is no way that anybody could easily tell where the links go to.

  49. 49

    Keep up the good work.

  50. 50

    To the critics with menu#3: Are you going blind? Didn’t you see the hover effect on those big-big-reallyBIG letters on the top of the frame?

  51. 51

    no inspiring


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