Internet
13. November 2007
a trier Web Design
Design Reviews
Brian
Gottfried Helnwein - Website Design Classics
By in large, I like to stay on the beaten track with website design reviews. I usually pick big corporates that should know better or who have the funds to produce something of high quality. However today’s review focuses on the power of one. The website up for review is that of the extraordinary artist Gottfried Helnwein. Helnwein was born in Vienna but has both Austrian and Irish citizenship, and resides in Tipperary for half of the year. His art is in one word: incredible. I’m not an art critic and I am do not possess the skills to convey the quality of this man’s work so visit the website and judge for yourself. By all accounts Helnwein is comfortable in the web setting. While his art is known for its shocking and often controversial visuals, he ironically displays the work in a way that adheres to web standards and here-in lies the key. Art should break standards and websites should adhere to standards. Helnwein excels at this whereas as most artists are happy to pedal conventional art on websites that break standards. Gottfried we salute you.
In my review of the McDonald’s corporate website I hit out at the fact that the corporate homepage was of very poor quality with blurred images, crappy Flash animation and lacked quality standards or coherence. Contrast this to the website of Gottfried Helnwein. This is the website of 1 man yet offers content in multiple languages and across multiple domains and the interface remains crisp, clean and intuitive.
What I like most about this is that it is an artist’s website that is easy to use, clearly presented and provides decent accessibility. Most artistic websites are full of either convoluted Flash or JavaScript. Artists forget that the work should speak for itself and not be tarted up by web trickery. Helnwein is obviously confident in his work judging by the way it is presented. His art is displayed as images plain and simple. However it should be noted that the images used are all of high quality and quite some effort has gone into presenting them in a way that is suitable for the web. There are no amateur scars of photographic over exposure or drop shadow to detract from the pieces themselves. If you are in any doubt to the quality of the work look at the image on the homepage and ask yourself how would you create that with oil and acrylic paint!
The primary navigation is immediately available at the top of the page with deeper navigation at the bottom of the page. The drop-down list at the top adds braces to the navigation belt by providing the same functionality as the deeper navigation but in the header area. By in large drop-down lists are not ideal for navigation, but if they are a back-up to traditional text or images they can work well. This is one of the finest examples of such navigation that I have found, mainly due to the well spaced writing and colour-coding.
By all accounts Helnwein is comfortable in the web setting. While his art is known for its shocking and often controversial visuals, he ironically displays the work in a way that adheres to web standards and here-in lies the key. Art should break standards and websites should adhere to standards. Helnwein excels at this whereas as most artists are happy to pedal conventional art on websites that break standards.
Gottfried we salute you.
brian@atrier.com




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