~ 19 July 2005 ~

On the heels of the unconventional, even somewhat “controversial” Vivabit design comes another site launch quite neutral in comparison: English360.com.

Billed as a radical new approach to English language learning, English360 aims to combine technology and connectivity to fill a void in the current global learning economy. (Note: The “radical new approach” is coming at a later date and therefore isn’t featured on the site just yet.)

However, radical approaches need not always require radical design. This design attests to that, relying instead on minimal aesthetics to portray its message.

Prior to site development, I also had the pleasure of creating the identity. The approach was also minimal, and the mark suggests the progression of small, previously unconnected groups attaching themselves larger, connected groups.

English360 logo

I seem to be abusing Avenir of late, but after exhausting several other type options — News Gothic, Nimbus Sans, Trade Gothic, Dax, etc. — Avenir still came out on top.

Hats off to the Cleve Miller (client) and Carson McComas (project manager) for their roles in the two projects. And lest I forget, try the mobile version (currently only one page) on your mobile device, replete with XHTML Mobile Profile and featured at WebVisions 2005.



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1   Hercules Papatheodorou ~ 19 July 2005 at 01:26 PM

Really nice, simplicity is a virtue and seem to master it well.
One small bit that made me post: in Opera 8 (latest build) there’s a horizontal bar (1024x768). I have no time to see why it happens right now but it may as well be some Opera bug.

2   Thomas Michaud ~ 19 July 2005 at 01:28 PM

Beautifully done, Cameron - both site and logo. The site is clean, easy to navigate, and I’m never at a loss of where I’m at or wanting to get to another page.

I’m curious about one thing. The integration of MT into the “recent discussions/blog”. Is there a particular reason to got with MT vs. WordPress or TextPattern? Out of the three, I’ve never used MT. So I ask, in part, out of ignorance.

3   Cameron Moll ~ 19 July 2005 at 01:35 PM

Hercules - I’ll have to give that a look. Thanks for the note.

Thomas - MT was chosen by the client, actually, though I would have pushed for the same simply for time’s sake (I know MT well, but not the others). The biggest push with this client is yet to come, some interface work that is/will consume more time than these two projects combined.

4   Steven Ametjan ~ 19 July 2005 at 01:50 PM

Interesting design, and color choices… I was actually looking at using a very similar color scheme for something I have on the back-burner right now.

One thing of note that I noticed though. On the front page, if you are looking at the #catnav, it looks great, but if you hover just barely off of the p a, you jump back up the hierarchy to the a.on. It appears that the p is not as wide as the hyperlink. It becomes distracting and a little unnerving as well because they’re not all the same size. Learners is by far the most apparent, with Schools being the closest to my expected behavior.

5   garrett ~ 19 July 2005 at 01:50 PM

Oh wow, that is a truely beautiful piece of minimalism. It’s amazing how you can quickly adapt to different styles as this is a radically different design to the vivabit site.

6   Cameron Moll ~ 19 July 2005 at 01:54 PM

Steven - I think I follow. You mean the two hovers on the text and the bg button itself? If so, I hear you — that probably needs to be readdressed, as the two links can offset each other somewhat unexpectedly. I originally thought I’d make the :link and :hover states the same color for each to render it less noticeable, but that meant too much orange.

I’ll keep this mind for attention as time allows.

7   Steven Ametjan ~ 19 July 2005 at 02:53 PM

You basically have the right idea. Just to illustrate more clearly what I was talking about though, here’s a screenshot:

The red border represents the clickable region for a.on and the green border represents the area of the p.

8   Cameron Moll ~ 19 July 2005 at 02:59 PM

Right. Just getting the text to appear in the proper place was tough enough. Then making everything clickable…

Thanks for taking the time to illustrate, Steven.

9   BigA ~ 19 July 2005 at 03:22 PM

Cameron I always enjoy your work and the post game break downs you offer on your completed projects. As someone who is more than a little deficient in the typography department, it would be a great help if you could offer links for the fonts you choose.

10   Cameron Moll ~ 19 July 2005 at 03:30 PM

Most of them are linked to here and those that aren’t can be easily found at almost any of the vendor sites listed.

11   Malarkey ~ 19 July 2005 at 03:42 PM

I think it looks lovely Cameron.

12   Devin Boyle ~ 19 July 2005 at 04:04 PM

Avenir, ahh good font. I used that a lot last year, and Univers LT.

Lately I’ve been toying with Neue Helvetica. With the right kerning I really get a good outcome. That’s my boring wisdom.


13   Wesley Walser ~ 19 July 2005 at 04:40 PM

I really like the logo design. I am also looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts on the mobile web.

14   Jens Meiert ~ 19 July 2005 at 05:47 PM

Hmm, I do not fully understand the logo design, and I believe having detected some usability flaws […], but the site looks attractive and apparently well-thought. Nice.

15   KR15 ~ 19 July 2005 at 11:40 PM

I too am currently having a wild love affair with Avenir. Nice site. I got really excited when I found this link buried in the code: http://pro.html.it/esempio/nifty/

16   AkaXakA ~ 20 July 2005 at 04:24 AM

Looks fantastic Cameron!

Well done :)

17   Scott ~ 20 July 2005 at 07:40 AM

Looks good. I have to question the recent trend of maintaining separate mobile versions, however. I fail to see how it’s any different than building separate pages for Netscape and IE in the old days. I’m pretty sure it’s been determined a bad idea.

On the other hand, Moveable type can probably be used to just publish both versions, which will make managing the content duplication simple. Still, it probably makes the dogmatists see red.

18   jeem ~ 20 July 2005 at 08:10 AM

beauty site…one for the bookmarks for inspiration.

only nitpick…in IE6, the logo hover flickers…need to place the logo as a background image behind the logo to prevent. not that you don’t know that already. :)

19   Cameron Moll ~ 20 July 2005 at 11:02 AM

Scott - That’s an issue must be addressed (sep. mobile version) in any mobile strategy discussion. It’s one I addressed in my presentation, and I hope to readdress it here soon should time allow.

Jeem - Another helpful tip. Thanks.

20   Katie ~ 20 July 2005 at 12:12 PM

Hi Cameron!

I just want to say that I really like this site! I wish I had found it earlier though since I wanted to organize my text for a project similarly as what you have done. I usually use coloured blocks or borders/lines to separate my content. I find it difficult to divide columns of text and make it look “clean” but you did such a wonderful job on this site! I really like the use of white space, the colours, and everything else in it!

Thanks again for providing yet another great inspirational site on the web! :)

21   Andy Hawkes ~ 21 July 2005 at 05:37 AM

Visually it’s a very nice site - well structured, clean, and crisp.

There are some downsides, however. I’m particularly talking about accessibility in terms of a lack of text scaling (in IE).

Other than that, I like it!

22   bennion ~ 21 July 2005 at 09:58 AM

Great site cameron. I guess you finally got your ‘white’ design in! Very nice.

23   Chris K ~ 21 July 2005 at 11:42 AM

Nicew job Cameron. Sites like this show why you’re in the upper tier of web designers (end of shameless praise). I’m curious on your choices for the color scheme. Just my opinion, it seems orange has become the color of choice, especially in technology and the web. I in no way mean that as a critique, just an observation. I recently developed a logo design for an engineering company and used almost the exact same colors. When and how did orange become so popular? And don’t blame Zeldman.

24   Cameron Moll ~ 21 July 2005 at 01:16 PM

Must be the Dukes O’ Hazzard theme dictating my every move of late…

25   hink ~ 22 July 2005 at 11:52 PM

I dig it, Mr. Moll. All of the sudden, I want to learn English. Again.

Most impressive is how you managed, through some sort of wizardry, to tame the mess that Windows makes of bold Lucida Sans. Such a great font, but—perhaps its just me—the way XP renders it in bold has always salted my grog.


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