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Paint My World: Childlike wonder enhances website design

Heidi Cohen sent me a tweet earlier in the month inviting me to join her Blogger Love Contest. I'm always happy to have a creative writing assignment. Since I struggle with titles, I'm delighted one of the rules of the content is to use a pre-crafted title. When I saw the section on creativity, I knew exactly what I wanted to blog about web design.

I often write about the importance of design in asset based marketing. I don't believe content can ever move into the `great' realm without a good design behind it. While I'm not about to weigh in on the complexities of web design, it's undeniable much of what is on the web is tired, boring or taken right out of the box. Much like content full of gobbledygook, boring design encourages your visitor to move on to something more inviting. The converse is also true, great design entices people to hang around.

As Heidi mentions in her post:

"The key is to think like a child! Childlike wonder is great. It's not hindered by all of the negative thoughts that our parents and teachers have put in the way. (Of course, their intentions were good, but the net effect is that we still carry those prohibitions around inside our heads.)"

In the spirit of the Blogger Love Contest and with Heidi's advice firmly planted in mind, here are some of my favourite websites where a whole lot of childlike wonder turned out some pretty cool designs.

Childlike Drawing
Attorneys are notoriously conservative. Their websites are often as risk averse as the profession. In other words, they're boring. Watermark is a firm specialising in trademarks, patents and intellectual property. The design is clever with childlike drawings demonstrating their area of expertise. The copy is tight and sophisticated. It's a great website.

Funny Pictures
One of my clients, The Zella Company, put together a smart website with a clean design. They included four fun images that continue to stand out in my mind. It's a small thing but it's positioned their company beautifully and increased the stickiness factor of their content. It's hard not to have a look around and see if they have any more creative ideas on their website. (They do.)

Telling Stories
You don't expect restraint when you think of Indian film but that's exactly what you get at the On The Road Productions website. Both design and copy are sparse. Very cool storyboard-style navigation fittingly represents their business. The overall effect is one of a major player who knows how to edit out the junk leaving only the most essential parts of the story. Check it out.

Pile it On
CampaignMakers, a Perth advertising agency, took the `more is better' approach to imagery on their website. The home page is crammed full with the city landscape. Each one expands into a different page of information. The interactive graphic makes it hard to quit poking around.

Do you see what I mean? All these websites have an element of wanting to do something different while still maintaining a strong focus on content. Creativity abounds in every one. Each takes a different approach but they've all stuck in my mind as examples of great website design. That, of course, moves them out of the marketing expense category and into business asset territory.

What cool website design have you seen lately?

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*Image Credit: Swiped right off the www.watermark.com.au site!