I often meet up with a co-worker (Michael Bach, Product Manger & Designer for Microsoft.com/Web) and we talk all things design. As it for us is therapy given we are constantly surrounded by engineers within Microsoft :)

One insight Michael came up with the other night is that Apple own white. It got me thinking and the more we looked at how other sites are designed, the more we both agreed that in the end its very hard today to come up with a site design that uses a big picture and is done in white without someone saying “dude, that’s so apple”.

I’ve done some design mockups for microsoft.com/silverlight that i want to pitch to the team, but am very annoyed as the more i look at them the more i can see them being labeled “that’s so apple”.

Another insight is that we noticed these days a lot of the brightest and best website designs seem to evolve around a central image, in that photography is playing a vital role in the way sites are designed.

A big vibrant picture can actually hide a lot of “meh” in a design.

Example:

http://sethsaid.com/

With a big vibrant image, i found my initial reaction to this site to be well designed.

image

Now without.

image

It just seems flat? and very monochrome. You can find more at (Web Creme Web design inspiration) and have a look at BIG Image vs SMALL Image.

Now lets take a throw-away design I was tinkering with for Microsoft.com/Silverlight.

image

The design is ok, but the image for me lacks life in that without the image, the design would look very basic.

Now lets see what happens if I add some other elements that i got from another site (as it struck me as a great concept to mood-board together from).

image

The two look completely different imho, and it sort of brings new energy levels to the design – even though its a very very basic design in the first place.

Damn you Apple, damn you and your white space designs.

image

Scott Out.