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Illustrating the web | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Illustrating the web

The Heads of State

The Heads of State

The Heads of State

The Heads of State

The Heads of State

I wanted to give this post a week before I mentioned anything. Last weekend in the NYT Sunday Magazine there was a great series of illustrations from the Heads of State for the article The Big Fix. It’s a timely series that is uniquely contemporary, and more to the point – great concepts. The thing that bothers me, and this a blank general statement, but the web has yet to figure out how to show great illustration on the web. PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG if you disagree. I want to see those great sites that elevate illustration like paper does. Is it kind of ironic for me to suggest that since my main method of distribution is online? Maybe, but I also think it’s a worthy challenge to strive for.

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  • http://www.1934.cc Callie

    i *heart* the NY Times Sunday magazine.

  • zoltok

    I don't disagree per se, but I do think you're looking at it the wrong way. It's not the job of the web or print to “elevate” illustration. It's the job of content AND illustration to elevate each other. Unfortunately, thanks to the complexity of modifying layout templates online, it's rare to find. However, here are a few examples:

    http://abriefmessage.com/2008/02/06/saffer/
    http://jasonsantamaria.com/articles/cheesesteak

    Both have been built to accommodate illustration and/or photography alongside articles.

    With regards to the Heads of State illustrations, it's true that they work better in print. But I would also suggest that that's because they are somewhat nostalgic illustrations that reference more vintage americana-style typography and printing methods. They are illustrated FOR print. We need not only a method of accommodating illustration online, but a different type of illustration – one that is designed for online viewing.

  • caren litherland

    Funny, I came here specifically to mention A Brief Message, and I chose exactly the same example: http://abriefmessage.com/2007/11/01/saffer/

  • caren litherland

    Also worth a mention is ALA: http://alistapart.com/articles/advanceddebuggin

  • http://www.selikoffco.com jonsel

    Is A Brief Message still alive? Looks like the last post was back in March '08. Too bad.

    Pretty much agreed on the points made prior. In this situation, you're looking at a print article repurposed for the web. I'd be curious to see this coming from a web-based publication.

    I suppose also the really big question is “Does it have to?”

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    I think there's some valuable points being made and I do want to respond to them all – I just want to choose my words a bit more carefully so I don't come across as one of those ranting bloggers…

  • chris

    you yanks do some lovely work.