Indexhibit is the brainchild of Daniel Eatock and Jeffery Vaska. It was started in 2006 and has since become a very popular tool for artists looking to establish their online presence. Creating an online portfolio for yourself can be extremely difficult, and Indexhibit ameliorates that process by simplifying the format side of the equation. (Both of the creators webpages are good examples.) In their words:
[Indexhibit] is a web application used to build and maintain an archetypal, invisible website format that combines text, image, movie and sound…Content flows to the edge of the browser, images can be displayed as thumbnails that can be enlarged etc., this is a break from traditional fixed layout design associated with print, and a move towards an interactive experience where the user creates their own viewing experience.(link)
What is the general consensus on Indexibit sites? I’m curious to hear how people feel about the frame format from a user perspective. Is this type of layout standardization a good thing? Personally I like landing on sites created with the Indexhibit format because the work is given center stage; navigation is clear and there is nothing about the layout or format to distract from the portfolio. Obviously it’s not right for every designer, and you lose an opportunity to develop a badass format of your own, but it’s nice to have some level of clarity at work. I am tempted to implement it for my own online portfolio, if only for the simplicity, though I’m worried people might land and say “Ah, one of those sites,” and have it be distracting in a ‘played out’ kind of way. Maybe that concern is unfounded, but I’d like to hear what people think. Also, if anyone has experience installing and working with the platform I’d be interested to hear your feedback about the process.
As you probably know, CBGB — the cradle of the NYC punk scene — was shut down in 2006. But not to worry, this site has got you covered with a 360° panoramic tour of the entire club photographed shortly before (or after?) it closed it’s doors forever. While this concept would surely make most of the bands who made the place famous roll over in their graves, it’s nice to know that the place is preserved in some form. The tour is solid as far as functionality is concerned (nice that it’s in Flash and not Quicktime VR) but the downright awful — and un-hideable — interface elements sort of detract from the experience. At any rate, the photos are high quality and you can zoom in and explore the very detailed shots of the interior and exterior of the club. Link
Loworks is a design company based in Japan. I’ve been on a wacky illustration kick recently, and it’s always fun to see what Loworks is up to. Their old site is one of my all time favorite website designs. It may not be the best design from an accessibility standpoint, but you can’t beat the creativity and absolute craziness at work. I wish it was still active, always made me happy. Computer Arts did a small feature on Loworks if you are interested.
Muxtape is a new platform for bands to create profiles and showcase their music. It was originally designed as a place for users to upload MP3 mixtapes (like Apple iMixes) of their favorite music. This didn’t fly with the RIAA, and Muxtape had to shutdown in August of 2008; the year’s “most heartbreaking death” according to Wired. Rather than spend all of eternity in a futile legal battle, creator Justin Ouellette decided to switch gears and develop a new Muxtape centered around original content.
I haven’t had a chance to use it myself (new bands can only be invited by participating bands), but I see great potential for Muxtape. As a musician, I am constantly frustrated by the chaotic mess that is Myspace. If it wasn’t a necessary evil in the pursuit of a successful music career, I would gladly never visit Myspace again. The possibility of a new (and aesthetically pleasing!) platform is definitely exciting.
The layout of each Muxtape page is very simple and works off a strict three column grid. This creates a pleasing consistency between pages, and still allows a band’s personality to come through with creative implementations of the grid (without crashing my browser *cough* Myspace). It will of course be very difficult to compete with the reach and popularity of Myspace, but I think the simplicity of Muxtape’s design might be refreshing enough to draw a substantial number of users away. Some may miss the social networking component, but I like how Muxtape puts the focus back on the music and doesn’t allow for as many unnecessary distractions. Good luck Muxtape!
Social image bookmarking sites are a dime a dozen these days (think ffffound, Dropular, and their ilk) but Buamai takes the concept to a new level. The brainchild of Michael Paul Young (co-creator of Youworkforthem), Buamai has thus far kept their contributor list closed — something I think is a must if you’re going to keep quality up. It seems that free-for-all sites’ content suffers incrementally as their user count rises. Buamai also has some novel sorting features along with the “Destoy” and “Mutate” options that make for some interesting modes of discovery. Here’s to hoping for an invitation. Buamai
So considering all the infinite hype surrounding it, I’ve finally been experimenting with Twitter over the past couple weeks and I have to say, it’s been surprisingly fun. I hooked the blog up so that all the posts are linked up on my Twitter page (using Twitter Tools) and it’s been an interesting way to communicate via a more direct route than is possible with the blog alone. I’ll be posting up giveaways, extras that didn’t make the blog, process stuff (pictures of the daily work), and random other tidbits here and there. It will also be the front lines so you’ll be the first to hear about anything useful or interesting before it hits the blog.
Read Between the Leading is a design podcast started by SCAD students Aaron Heth and Matt McInerney. They release just about one show per week and discuss a diverse range of design topics; everything from the Tropicana fiasco to a new name for the @ symbol. They usually have one guest per show, and they’ve already had Mark Simonson, Antonio from AisleOne, and the Grain Edit team on so far. You can listen on their website or subscribe in iTunes.
I never listen to the radio, and have never been able to incorporate podcasts into my routine, but I’ve been trying to keep up with RBTL. I love geeking out over design, and I don’t find many opportunities to do so outside of school. I also continue to be fascinated by differences between design programs across the country, and it’s great to hear the perspectives of students from schools like SCAD. Aaron and Matt do a good job compiling relevant and interesting issues to talk about; their passion for design is definitely contagious. They are still working out some kinks, but I could see the show really blowing up as they hit their stride. Anyone else had a chance to listen? I’d be interested to hear what you all think of the show.
Michelle McCormick recently posted Dave Cuzner’s Grain Edit on her Inspiration Resource blog. If you’ve been to Grain Edit before, you’ll know what a great collection of classic design artifacts Dave has. Above are just a few small glimpses into that collection. Dave is a vintage bookseller out of Oakland, CA who I first met at an ADAC event in Sacramento. He had a booth there and I was pretty blown away by the books he brought out. I later met him again here in San Francisco where he showed me part of an amazing Czech stamp collection which he is working on. All very inspirational stuff indeed! Link