While 2008 may be over, it’s never too late to recap or look forward…
While some of you rejoiced when last year ended, we personally thought 2008 was a dandy. We had Manga avatars, saw Twitter explode with new users, and watched helplessly as thousands of new design blogs and galleries crowded the net. In our opinion, 2008 isn’t dead until we get a few things (or plugs) off our chests…
Inspirational Blog of 2008:
Winner: 24 Ways
With a staff of experienced professionals, 24 Ways brings design and development into a single blog better than anybody. On 24 Ways, client sales, project management, and wireframing are good examples of important topics not usually found on your typical blog farm. It truly covers a little of everything for people in our trade.
There’s really not much to dislike about 24 Ways… except waiting for December to roll around again.
Honorable Mention: Freelance Switch
2008 Papyrus Award:
Winner [que obnoxious drumroll]: Sketch Rockwell
For better or worse, there was no other font that came close to being as widely used as Artill’s Sketch Rockwell in 2008. Hardly shunning the spotlight, this handset font became the poster child for coffee houses, non-profits and “trend” bloggers across the globe. You knew the Sketch Rockwell fad had arrived when Starbucks got in on the action in April — nestled comfortably on its homepage, no less.
Like a lingering illness with a late punch, Sketch only became more common as 2008 went on, leaving the world to wonder how long it will take for Microsoft to buy it for their operating systems.
Honorable Mention: Gotham Bold & Black
[Biased] Complete Font of 2008:
Archer is simply fantastic! Whether for web displays or printed materials, it has enough scalability in weights to cover everything you’d need — plus it’s flat out gorgeous in detail. 2008 would have been better if I could have used and abused it more.
[Biased] “Whoa, Cool!” Font of 2008:
Winner: Burgues Script
It was a toss up again this year with Burgues and Calgary, two incredibly beautiful fonts that made waves in the early-half of the year. Ale Paul does it again with the seemingly limitless Burgues, an OpenType font that will act as a cornerstone to your script library.
2009’s First Font to Watch:
Winner: Sugar Pie
When the specimen leaked in July for Sugar Pie, type blogs began flooding with questions of norm. When would it come out? Would it be Open? Sugar Pie just dropped a few weeks back, giving ’09 its first strong loopy-swash face of the year. It should start showing up in display type near you soon.
Best CSS Web Gallery:
Winner: The Best Designs
While there are sites that give better previews and have easier search categories, there is no gallery with better return statistics than The Best Designs (TBD). A few galleries have given OnWired more hits over a lengthier time, but the fact that TBD doesn’t update often (and searches well to boot) means that its listed websites carry steam longer.
Best Web Trend of 2008:
Winner: Vintage & Hand-Drawn
Like handset fonts over the past 18 months, the vintage and texture trend was hot in 2008. While gloss and sheen took a backseat, illustrators of the world danced in the streets as they found work in the web. Identities, self-promotions and typography got in their “Doc” Emmett Brown DeLorean’s and went back in time. Crafty, hand-drawn elements gave the web (and print) a human-like feel, as textures pushed “just alright” web designs over the edge.
Call it eternal, call it timeless, call it what you will — there’s no denying that vintage, old-school patterns, type and textures are the “it” of web design going into the new year.
2009’s Portfolio Trend to Avoid:
I’m speaking to the web designers of the world…
If you’ve been a designer long, chances are you have used a wood texture and/or background. I have — before and after it was cool (guilty as charged). But as hot as mulberry and chestnut may have been in 2007, it’s equally as unoriginal and anti-innovative today. While the hip-factor seems to be finally decreasing, it’d be fair to say that the wood trend still acts as one of the most commonly used styles for designer portfolios.
Wood is a beautiful aesthetic for the right clients, make no doubts, but we’re not carpenters and we don’t sell furnishings; let’s keep our own portfolios wood-free in 2009!
Best CMS of 2008:
Most Intriguing: Symphony 2
I asked my colleagues in the development lab this question, knowing they’d jump at the opportunity to get their two cents in. While they told me that there’s no such thing as a “best” content management system, Symphony 2 is the most fresh and innovative rolling onwards. “XSLT is a natural choice for site templating, so to build a CMS around that idea is really neat,” Brett mentioned.
While it has a somewhat underground following now, look for Symphony to become a big player in the wild world of CMS platforms in ’09.
Best Logo Blog: Brand New
Best Packaging Design Blog: The Dieline
Best Print Magazine: Print
Best Web Design Magazine: Web Designer (UK)
Best Tutorial Website: Abduzeedo
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