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it is interesting to note how design trends, just as fads in real life, follow ups and downs, just like rollercoasters. a few years back, it was the set-in-stone gui look that did not care what your browser size was, because everything was laid out pixel-perfect with something incredible the author made in photoshop. that was cool for a while, till everyone got over grunge.

eye http://www.idigitalemotion.com/cover.html
effectlab http://www.effectlab.com/

then it moved on to a very minimalistic style, that we are still in today. this site is an example of it. very clean, subtle colors, and well placed type are key characteristics. one of the main pushes behind this sort of style was a reaction to the grunge, hard set look, and also a look into the standards-compliant side of things. trends are mirrored in real life, as the store target seems to be a reflection (or vica-versa) of the web in style and hipness. wondering what the next style will be? go to target!

apple http://www.apple.com
overdesign http://www.9rules.com/whitespace/design/overdesign.php

now the web seems to be maturing, opting for a �best of both worlds� approach. standards-compliance is here to stayfor most web designers that are embracing the future, if you will ;), but the need for a few more colors in the palletteis also returning. thus the merge of cross-browser compliant css with the beauty of artwork.

fyrebase http://www.fyrebase.com/
firewheel design http://www.firewheeldesign.com/

it is also interesting to note the discordance between the writing style of such sites (in particularly blogs) with the layout and look they contain. often times, you’ll have ultra-minimalist, two colors, and twenty pages of text. a minimalistic style site should call for a minimalistic style of writing, otherwise you are contradicting yourself. this is not an opinion but a formulated matter of design. on the same token, if you have a very heavily graphical site, then
your writings should be longer, more involved, and varied. many designers and webmasters out there don’t seem to have caught the drift yet of the connection between image style and writing style.

i myself often have trouble with this concept, and also have trouble with trying to maintain a style that i like, since my skills are still developing. but hey, where would anyone be in the world if no one was progressing? thus, there are a couple of solutions. one, coordinate perfectly your writing style to the style you’ve made on the screen. two, coordinate it the other way around, pick your strong point. or thirdly, in some far off universe where content is entirely
seperated from your overall design, use css classes to seperate what content ends up on the screen from what doesn’t. but this is an entirely other topic out there for me to cover at a later date! good luck coordinating you incredible designers!

note all sites were chosen for what they looked like, though some do contain some good stuff to learn!