Recently, a new friend walked into my study. “Are you a designer?” she asked. I gasped. “God, no!” I said, a little defensively.

“Oh, OK,” she calmly replied. “It’s just that you have so many design books.”


“Oh, my design books. Right. Well, I DO design websites. But I wouldn’t call myself a designer.”
Friend: (pause) “Oh. Well then. OK.”

During the 1997-2000 era, I found it very annoying when my friends would refer to themselves as “designers.” It seemed unnecessarily lofty, even if they were getting paid a lot of money in New York.

At times, however, I have called myself a web designer, mostly because I can create websites. Decent websites. I know HTML, if that still counts, use the programs, appreciate a certain style and touch, and I love good color. I was even a judge in the 2002 Council for Advancement and Support of Education Web site awards. But no, I’d never call myself a designer. Sometimes I wonder what design is.

In general, if a site is delivering text, I like it really simple:
This new [white-background] + [text separated by lines of dashes] thing; see Choire Sicha for an example, or Gawker. I like the offbeat black and white of One Gecko’s Dada poetry generator. But I also liked the steeped orange of No Breakfast, which is just someone’s blog. I find that kind of color inspiring.

Then there’s the not simple:
The strange and beautiful world of Uncontrol. And a fun site like SodaConstructor is always good.

What’s bad in 2003? Too much Flash in a site that is supposed to deliver text-based content.
And all this from a non-designer.