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Entries in a contest to redesign the

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 08, 2004

Entries in a contest to redesign the Project Gutenberg Web site.

Reader comments

donald tettoMar 08, 2004 at 12:46PM

As much as Project Gutenberg works largely with olde tyme texts, and I always appreciate sites that put information above all, I have to say I’m really surprised by how many 1995-era design entries there are. I mean, check out this animated gif logo, this background gradient, or this one that is just a hair’s breadth away from those post-it-note yellow table cells that were, at one time, entirely inexplicably all-the-rage.

That said, a lot of them did look too sleek and hip for Project Gutenberg — overall, Thomas Hanna would definitely get my vote (with the one caveat that the firefox and ibiblio banners get shrunken a little), though everyone who used a lowercase ‘g’ letterpress managed to score a few bonus points for style.

DanielMar 08, 2004 at 4:30PM

A lackluster bunch of entries with a few exceptions. This one even managed to spell the main title incorrectly.

Sean TevisMar 08, 2004 at 7:15PM

I’ve always wondered if bad designers think they’re good. Why else would they so boldly enter a contest such as this? Many of the best designers I know, conversely, can barely tolerate their own work. Of course, they hate the bad designer’s work even more.

margaretMar 08, 2004 at 7:57PM

i saw FOUC all over the place. very jarring. does no one know how easy it is to fix that?

gogol13Mar 08, 2004 at 9:49PM

hey cool sam vaknin :D

http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040106-041656-1684r

thanks, i would never have known…

http://www.gutenberg.net/browse/IA_V.HTM

rachelMar 09, 2004 at 7:08AM

i don’t profess to be any kind of good web designer, but…ick. several looked like they were already incredibly dated, which is not good for a website that probably only gets redesigned every ten years as it is. that said, the first one i clicked on i really liked.

are they really going to use one of these designs? if so, it will be interesting to see which one they pick.

BobMar 11, 2004 at 2:01PM


sean wrote:
I’ve always wondered if bad designers think they’re good. Why else would they so boldly enter a contest such as this? Many of the best designers I know, conversely, can barely tolerate their own work. Of course, they hate the bad designer’s work even more.

Yep. I think my second point addresses those who are bad and can’t see their mistakes.

Several things I notice about these types of contests:

1. Most good designers are already too busy with paying work to waste their time on these things, unless that designer has a very specific interest in the subject matter, in which case they’ve probably already improved the site or just went off and developed their own.

2. The majority of the designs almost always seem to get far to focused on minutia - “People will be sooo blown away by this cool rollover! How could they not think my design is the best?” - and very little attention paid to basics of design (proximity, weight, white space, balance, consistency, etc.). It’s easy to see from most of those examples that time was spent on a few key graphic elements “My background image is, like, old parchment - isn’t that suh-weet?” while more important things like overall cohesiveness, typography choices, and general page layout were attended to at the last minute.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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