Archive for June, 2009

Live Creation Process, Step 1: Inspiration

Monday, June 29th, 2009

There’s a fine line between getting inspired and blatant copying. In the web design industry, this line is insanely skinny as it’s so easy to just lift someone else’s design or code. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but there’s nothing worse than putting hours and hours of effort in to creating something unique and seeing someone else just steal it and call it their own.

The Wall of Shame

tim van damme wall of shame

Belgian designer Tim Van Damme has created a brilliant homepage which houses all of his contact details and social networks.  This design was quickly snapped up and copied multiple times, which prompted Tim to create a Wall of Shame dedicated to the copycats.  Tim preaches on his site: ‘Don’t Steal, Be Inspired‘ and backs this up with a Wall of Fame dedicated to people who have taken his idea and created their own.

A peek at my inspiration

So now that we’re in ‘Don’t Steal, Be Inspired‘ mode, let’s get down to the first step of my Live Creation Process. ‘Inspiration‘. I have a million ideas floating around in my head at the minute about what I see happening on my new site, what goals I want for it, what structure, colour scheme, style etc.  They’ve all come together after the last couple of months of getting inspired, sketching little things here and there.  It would be impossible to list all the sources that have inspired me but here is a summary of some of the most influential.

1) Minimal

I am an avid fan of simplicity and minimalism when it comes to web design.  I am a big fan of cutting out things until it’s the bare minimum… and then trying to cut some more.  Here are a few sites whose minimalism inspires really tickles…

Just Watch The Skyjust watch the sky

Site Inspiresite inpsire


Minimal Showcaseminimal showcase

2) Breaking the rules of <cringe>web 2.0</cringe>

The web of 2009 is largely boring.  Let’s face it, every website is following the same road. Huge headers, large call to action buttons, big footers, rounded corners, gradients, drop shadows and reflections galore. Yawn. While there is nothing essentially ‘wrong’ with all these techniques, they’re overused and we’ve slipped into a comfortable style which has forced us to lose our creativity.  Very few web designers are pushing the boundaries now and doing something more creative.  I have a couple of ideas to help my site stay out of the common pitfalls of web 2.0. Here are a few sites which are breaking the rules.

Elliot jay Stockselliot jay stocks




3) Style

Some of these following sites just have that certain style, that certain quality where you know that a lot of work went in to making them just perfect.


Digital Mashdigital mash

Kiss Me I’m Polishkiss me im polish

Hot Meteorhot meteor


Toggletoggle journal

8020 Studio8020

Show and Tell Saleshow and tell

Deluge Studiosdeluge studios

Blow At Lifeblow at life

Alpha Multimediaalpha multimedia

4) Quirkyness

To get that ‘Ah, that’s kinda cool’ reaction out of people, you have to be a little quirky.  Trust me, there will be quirkiness aplenty on the new site. Here’s some other quirky masters who inspire me.

Behind the Websitesbehind the websites

Dustin Curtisdustin curtis

Leg Work Studioleg work studio

I Shot Himi shot him

5) Attention to the details’ details

The following couple of articles and sites fantastically illustrate the importance and effectiveness to attention to detail.  For my new site, no section will be a last minute job.  Pages such as the contact page, about me etc will be given as much priority as portfolio.

Quality within web design
quality in web design function

Elements of great web designelements of great web design

Squared Eyesquared eye

Next up: First sketches

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New website: A live creation process.

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

It’s very hush hush at the minute [that’s why I’m posting it on the Internet] but I’m working on a new ‘I Am Paddy’ website, which will incorporate my blog, interviews, pet projects and other such tidbits.  I have decided to do it a little differently though and have a ‘live’ creation process.

Instead of just the final reveal, I will post sketches and designs along the way so you can see what’s involved in the process.  Also I think it will help give me a little more discipline if I have ‘deliverables’ along the way, and some feedback from you guys would be great too! :)

A different way of working but I think it suits the ‘open source’ world we now live in.

First Teaser

Well the first little nugget is that the new site will involve this little guy and a few of his friends…


I’ll keep you posted with some new sketches this week!

This One Time

Monday, June 15th, 2009

I just love the feel of this movie.

Who’s behind ‘Behind The Websites’?

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Continually frustrated, and quite frankly bored with the plethora of ‘Top 60 Footers’, ‘How to get more followers on Twitter’ posts, endless digs at IE6, and just general bad web design out there at the minute, it’s so refreshing to see a really simple, short, nicely illustrated and funny project!

mac magazineBehind the Websites is a daily take on the well known websites out there. Illustrator Ricardo Gimenes creates a funny illustration based on the characters/story behind a chosen site.  I got to chat with Ricardo about the project.

Could you explain a bit about yourself, your background and ‘Behind the Websites’?

I’ve been studying since I was thirteen. I later graduated in Art and Communication from the Panamericana School of Art and Design in São Paulo. More recently I have taken courses in Digital Cinema and Art Direction. Besides that, I have learnt quite a lot of computer skills myself, like Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, etc.

For a long time I was thinking about making a blog with illustrations, like a personal project and finally I came up with behind the websites.


It is a brilliant project. I love it!  Where did the inspiration come from?

I was working on a very boring project (the project was cool but the client was terrible).  After 5000 changes requested from “the art director client” I sent the final design.  After I sent it I was imagining the client looking at his computer and saying: It’s beautiful, perfect! but I want to change the color, and the font size a little, and swap the photo, etc… This was when I had an idea to illustrate the client behind the website and only complain…I didn’t illustrate the client but was the beginning of behind the websites.

Do you plan to have a new illustration up every day?

Yes, and I have plan to launch a new one behind the websites, a portuguese version, called “Behind the websites Brasil” it will mean, two illustrations everyday!

How do you choose your ‘victims’?

There’s no a specific way, basically I’m trying to associate an old cartoon with something new (as you can see I love Hanna-Barbera characters). Yes Im more than 30 years old.

I am incredibly bored with the Internet at the minute.  Wading through the constant ‘Top 10 Lists’, ‘how to get more followers on twitter’ posts and IE6 bashing sites is getting really tiresome. It’s great to see something different like your blog. Did it take much work to put together?

Thanks! To be honest I wasn’t thinking about creating something different or new, “behind the websites” is a time when I sit back and relax, a pleasure time for me, thats why it doesn’t take much work.  The problem is when I finish the illustration and have come back to “real world”.


What other illustrators/designers inspire you?

At the moment my inspiration is Arthur the Pins, he’s a master of shading, as you can see I’m far away from him but definitely,  I want to be like him when I grow up.

Have you used social media much to promote your blog? What other methods have you used?

I need someone to help me to promote my blog.  I only joined Twitter a month ago and currently there’s no other ways I promote my blog, only twitter and sending the links to friends and a few design sites.

You offer to show people what’s behind their website for very cheap. How cheap? :)

Super cheap, only $7500 dollars if you want you some images behind of any website! Of course I’m talking about if you want 100 images behind your website. ;) The price is $75 dollars for each illustration/character. Also there’s a very good feature in my blog, a donation button, but I guess nobody knows how to use the button, I didn’t get any donation, anyway someone has Paris Hilton email address?


Thanks Ricardo! Looking forward to seeing more illustrations soon! :)

Follow me @PaddyDonnelly on Twitter if you want to keep up with more interviews and thoughts of an irishman in Belgium.