creative and effective websites

brand identity | site design | SEO


A collection of website resources we use/admire/envy — from well-designed websites to open source software, and some oddities...

how it should be done

Some sites we thought stood out from the herd for their clarity of design, fascinating content or just plain oddness. And sometimes a combination of all three.

  • McSWEENEYS — a minimalist approach in these days of internet clutter. The store looks nice too, if a bit wee on the text side
  • LJCFYI — the colourful and well-designed site of Jenny C: what more blogs should look like.

design sites & blogs

Been too busy reading them to add any sites — more to follow...

  • DAVID AIREY — blog of a Belfast-based graphic designer who shows the importance of good graphic and logo design.

open source & online services

With the recession biting everyone's trying to cut corners and save money, so why pay for expensive software when there's a whole galaxy of free and open source applications out there? Here's some of the best hunting grounds and a few personal favourites.

  • DROPBOX — online file back-up, synched across all your computers. Incredibly simple to install and use — passes the 'Don't-make-me-think' test, and free too. Extra 250MB if you sign up with this link (we get some too ;) ).
  • LIFEHACKER's open source list — a condensed list of the best free/open source apps of 2009 for Windows or Mac. A larger and more daunting list can be found at Wikipedia.
  • FIREFOX ADD-ONS — over 5000 add-ons for the Firefox browser that can improve your business productivity, save your clicking finger and generally make life a lot easier. If your still using it, the IE list resides here.
  • OPEN OFFICE — free open source substitute for (and compatible with) the Microsoft Office suite.
  • ANTIVIR — free and easy to configure anti-virus software.
  • OUTPOST — free and simple to use firewall download.

hosting and domains

A small clearing hacked in the jungle of internet services.

  • 5QUIDHOST — terrible name, but no-nonsense well-reviewed UK company with a wide range of packages based on website size; no artificial limits on email, sub-domains or bandwidth. Their sister site TENTAHOST caters for web designers or re-sellers.
  • DYNADOT — the new Dotster? Cheap reliable US domain company if you need a .com, with some handy features (like 'grace deletion' if you change your mind). For UK domain purchases 123-REG is more reliable than most (avoid the hosting though).

curiouser and curiouser...

Back-alleys of the web. Rogue taxidermists and cops with computers.

  • BEASTBLENDER — online taxidermy mash-up fun
  • WEBSITEHELPERS — a curiously useful list of design tips in a curiously badly-designed page.
  • WEB PAGES THAT SUCK — Vincent Flanders' round-up of the worst of the web. The Cops and Chiropracters section is worth a visit, but only virtually. You wouldn't want to be stuck in those towns.