Web Design Index

by Joe Gillespie — Jul 1, 2002

To complement the article on portfolio presentation, I thought a review of a few inspirational references would be these two useful books.

The sites linked-to from these references will help show you a wide range of design possibilities. Some of the sites are excellent examples of how things should be done. Some are more experimental in nature - but you can also learn from mistakes.

Web Design Index, compiled by Günter Beer, is a fully illustrated listing of over 1000 Web sites taking the form of large thumbnail images, three to a page. There are no comments about the Web sites whatsoever other than the URLs and a brief, multi-lingual introduction. It's very much a matter of, "Here they are. The designs speak for themselves".

The home page screen shots are arranged by color and cover a vast range of styles and techniques - just the sort of thing you want when you are sitting there with a new job to do and a blank screen. Arranging the sites by color is an interesting way to present them rather than by alphabetical means or by random.

The standard of the designs included goes from good to exceptional and a CD-ROM included with the book provides Mac and PC drag and drop link-icons for quick access to the actual sites for further exploration. Of course, sites change and disappear over time and a few of the links are no longer available.

Another interesting use for the book is to compare the published screen-shots with what you see in your own browser. There can be some quite significant differences and you can learn a lot about Web design generally by investigating the underlying causes.

Having such a reference on your bookshelf and being able to flick through it instantly rather than having to trawl through bookmarks, click on links and wait for the sometimes graphically intensive pages to load, is great for those times when your inspiration is dormant and you just need a spark to kindle the fire.

Web Design Index
Publisher The Pepin Press
Author Günter Beer
Price US $ 30.00
ISBN 90 5768 018 1

The second book has a slightly different slant. Search: The Graphics Web Guide by Ken Coupland, has more verbal descriptions and less by way of screen shots.

The book is a directory of Web sites of interest to graphic designers, typographers, illustrators, photographers and film and video makers so its scope goes well beyond that of just Web design. It is arranged alphabetically, but in sections devoted to discovery: (schools, museums, history); media: (publishers and magazines); practice:(designers and studios); projects: (experimental design, digital art, games); groups and events: (associations and conferences) and services: (type foundries and photo libraries).

The short descriptions of each site are helpful in identifying the type of information you'll find when you get there. The illustrations, on the other hand, are fairly arbitrary and seem to be there for decoration more than anything.

Unfortunately, there's no CD-ROM with this book. Sure, it would have added a little to the price but would be very useful instead of having to type-in each link manually - but you still will find the links invaluable in your search for knowledge and inspiration.

Search: The Graphics Web
Publisher Universe Publishing
Author Ken Coupland
Price USA: $22.50
ISBN 0 7893 0779 0
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