It’s always nice to reflect on the year that was – and so I decided to gather a collection of sites that were particularly inspiring. Here’s a list of the top sites, according to Siiimple, of 2012. Feel free to post a comment and disagree or suggest another nominee.
Focus Lab is simply a gorgeous, typographically based site. The big headline grabs you from the beginning, and adding the subtle fade and movement makes draws you in even more. All in all, the balance of Focus Lab is what makes it such a well-designed, inspiring site.
Clean, simple, completely stunning. Who is this guy? That’s what I want to know when visiting this site. Little details draw you in. Like the unique Table of Contents notice at the bottom left. There’s no way you can’t push it so you do, and then a nice fade introduces you to his collection of designs. Adding the smooth scroll to each full screen image, and you just can’t help scouring every inch of this very intriguing site.
I just love the simplicity of this site. The timeline and scroll effect really captures your imagination and inspires you to read what’s going on here. Nicely arranged, scattered, organized chaos of sorts. Really well done.
Of course, Mr. Schoen is a master. Very simple UI, but pretty damn unique. Love the icons on the left side of the screen, and the bright color highlights. It’s a down-to-business kind of site – with big, easy to read typography and, of course, well written content.
Dustin Curtis is Dustin Curtis. He has taken it upon himself to create “new kind of publishing network” – on a membership only, invite system where a collection of “interesting people” (I applied but never heard back – don’t worry I’m not bitter) can express themselves – as he puts it – “more naturally”. It’s definitely a fascinating idea and the basic design is content focused but very…svbtle.
Like Curtis, Schoen, and others – Brian Hoff has created a unique experience for displaying his work. He grabs you without much struggle. You want to click that x – and when you do you’re in for good. Typography is crisp, the UI is crisper, and the functionality is unique.
Digg is a big site, but I just love it. I’m more of a Reddit guy, but Digg’s design is so well crafted I’m drawn in to have a look every day. Love the grid layout, the spacing, and the smooth scroll navigation. It took some serious design smarts to put together all the information a site like Digg offers into a clean, minimalist aesthetic.
Elevn Made seems to re-design their site as frequently as Stuart Hobday – but I’m not complaining. Each re-design is uniquely inspiring, subtle, yet not overly simplistic. The only complaint I have is I want to see all their designs – because I miss them so much…
Okay, I’ll be honest. I just don’t think it gets much better than this. This is a pretty damned amazing site. The colors, the details, the general movement and flow of the interface – even the circle flips in and out when making a transition to the next page. There was some serious love that was put into this site and you can tell everywhere you look. I love it. It’s definitely one of the top sites of the year.
Without further ado…it’s always difficult to choose the best site. All these sites could really be the “best”, for my money, anyway. But there’s something about Foundry Collective. The grid, perhaps. I don’t know. But I must have visited it a hundred times just to look at it over the last few months. Any site that asks you to return because it’s so beautiful is a good site. And, for me, that’s what this site has done. Anyway, it gets my top pick of the year.