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The Hottest Trend in Web Design: Intentionally Making Sites Ugly, Difficult to Use


(Photo: zenilorac)

Katherine Acrement of the Washington Post calls the style "Web brutalism" after the architectural movement. According to advertising director Pascal Deville, this school of thought takes a radically different approach, if not utter disregard for, user-friendliness and aesthetic appeal:

In 2014 Deville, now Creative Director at the Freundliche Grüsse ad agency in Zurich, Switzerland, founded brutalistwebsites.com. He meant it as a place to showcase websites that he thought fit the “brutalist” aesthetic: Design marked by a “ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy” in “reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of today’s Web design.” (In architecture, brutalism describes a ’70s architectural movement characterized by large buildings with exposed concrete construction.)

The term’s gotten a lot of pick-up in recent weeks, since Deville’s site appeared on Hacker News and promptly went viral. Deville saw unique visitors to his site rise to over 100,000 in 24 hours, with 160,000 page views. And the interest has not slowed since then: Deville now receives over 100 site submissions a day.

“It’s not only what you can see, it’s also how it’s built,” Deville explained, of the submissions he selects as emblematic of the style. “… In the code you can see if it’s really a streamlined application or it’s a very rough, handmade, HTML website.”

Appropriately, Deville's own website cataloging brutalist websites is itself almost painful to look at.

-via Billy Hoya


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