i'm not really sure where to start with web design. like a lot of people my age i feel like I grew up on the internet trawling through weird and then-mysterious websites: big (for the early 00's) weird-humor websites like ytmnd, mysterious or eerie artistic experiential websites with no understandable purpose, interactive puzzle sites that required my friends and i to delve into the HTML and look up code-deciphering tactics, and my personal favorite "towel.com" which used to just be the word "towel" on a black background, with a guestbook. now it's a place that actually sells towels, apparently, and whenever anything weird surfaces on the internet CNN runs a story on it. i miss the weird stuff, but it's still out there -- it's just harder to find under the layers of professional companies and businesses that have knitted together the web, making it more digestible and less joyfully cryptic.
anyway! since for this project i'm intent on making a portfolio website, which i've been hoping to do for a long time, i won't be able to focus on making weird experimental content. but i am interested in learning how a site can be both clean and simple as well as non-boxy, and molded to an artist's individual hand. designer marisa passos' website (here) is an example of a website that i like in some ways and dislike in a lot of other ways -- it's entrancing, with a beautiful auto-playing video of swirling ink, but it takes time to load and it completely distracts from the actual portfolio, which is boxy and way more boring than the ink in the background!
lucia soto's website (here) is closer to the kind of portfolio site i enjoy -- it's very fun and cute and even though it's interactive it loads very quickly. it shows off her personal artistic style in the design itself. that said, its navigation gets pretty annoying pretty quickly -- you'll see what i mean if you try to go back and forth between her bio work and contact. adorable and appealing, but time consuming, and her "work" section requires you to scroll through image by image, with no indication of the number of items in her gallery. marc dahmen's site is even more frustrating, in my opinion -- if a website requires a keyboard tutorial to tell you how to navigate, it's gone too far, no matter how pretty or fast it is.
i really like the simplicity of camellie.com (especially that animated elephant, i love non-distracting bits of animation) though it's not perfect! meg hunt's site is lovely -- simple and immediately appealing with big thumbnails.
so -- i'm inspired by a lot of these portfolio sites, especially the ones that are simple, weird, and colorful while not being overly-ambitious in design. right now the portfolio site i'm making is very subdued (and i want it that way), but i hope that in time i can try to create something this appealing.