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Espen Brunborg is Head of Design at Primate, a web agency driven by an overwhelming passion for the web industry and a slightly unsettling love for monkeys, and is an advocate of content-led design, simplicity and typographic principles. He writes about his design convictions at 8 Gram Gorilla and his tweets are occasionally worth reading.
The internet is a wonderful place (mostly). An unprecedented revolution in communication, it continues to empower more people to publish and share their knowledge than any other phenomenon in history. It is a limitless playground of ideas and unbridled creativity. Or is it?
In 2014, Elliot Jay Stocks declared that designers have stopped dreaming. That we’ve stopped being creative. That every site looks the same. A crazy notion, considering the magnitude of tools and resources we have at our disposal. But Elliot’s been right before, and he’s not alone either.
Vertical rhythm is clearly an important part of Web design, yet on the subject of baseline, our community seems divided and there is no consensus as to how it fits in — if at all — with our growing and evolving toolkit for designing online.
This may be due to a lack of understanding and appreciation of the benefits that follow from a baseline grid, but it is more likely because baseline is notoriously difficult to get right, and no one yet holds the blueprint to its successful implementation.
Since Elliot Jay Stocks so poignantly told us to destroy the Web 2.0 look, we’ve witnessed a de-shinification of the Web, with fewer glass buttons, beveled edges, reflections, special-offer badges, vulgar gradients with vibrant colors and diagonal background patterns. The transformation has been welcomed with relief by all but the most hardened gloss-enthusiasts.
However, design and aesthetics work in mysterious ways, and no sooner does one Web design trend leave us before another appears. We'll start by looking at some of the most common symptoms, many of which you have probably noticed. They are easy to spot, and as with many other conditions, they often appear in conjunction with each other.
Good typography shouldn’t have to rely on ornamental crutches to stand tall. Yet despite all the tools and knowledge available to us, we readily embrace a flourishing, decorative typography, with cheap tricks used in a misguided attempt to make it “pop”. This ancient art may rapidly be gaining popularity, but are we paying it the respect it deserves?
Take a snapshot of the visual culture that surrounds you—magazines, movie posters, packaging, websites—how much of it relies on typography? How much of the typography around you is actually well considered?