Best websites of the month June 2018 (Issue 1)

At Whale Agency, we are passionate about website design and digital development. We are genuinely curious by new ideas and concepts created by our colleagues in the industry. That is why we picked an afternoon, sat down, had a coffee and together compiled this list. 

In this article, we will talk about our favorite websites. We do not judge. We want to review and share from genuine viewer perspectives, and also add our personal taste that we think would add more value to customer experience. Always learning. Peace!

1. Bjork – Carlos

Shout out to this awesome piece of creativity by this Swedish agency. When we first load their homepage, we felt as if we were welcomed to “a land of fun and joy” by the animation of black and white blocks popping into pieces. It’s like they are saying “come, play with me”. 

Source: Bjork Agency

What do we like about this website? 

Delusional arrow (have you noticed?)

On the home page, they elegantly stir up your curiosity with a tiny little piece of the next page (to the right), covered in a delusional arrow (black and white stripes that prompt your brain not to resist the clicking).

Super fluid transition 

When you do scroll, it is satisfying because the content flow and transition are so smooth and fluid, as if you were going down a water slide and don’t want to (or can’t stop sliding). Notice how each portfolio presented is not grounded to a single page as usual, but it is a continuous stream of IA, one to another, you can’t stop scrolling until you finish visiting their whole category.

No “going back” 

When you finish one portfolio, you don’t even need to hit that “go back” button, because they have prepared “more cases” tab at the end of your journey. Never have to return.

Magic-like use of color 

Another cool thing about Bjork’s website is their magician-like use of colour  We enjoy how the website is designed as a juggling between two basic colors: black and white. I wouldn’t have noticed until Carlos showed me how their logo (upper left corner) has been changing color in front of me the whole time.

Overall, Bjork’s website is a good application of colour use and page transitions, a harmonized combination of aesthetic and dogmatic elements. 
Tip: There is a slight difference between PC and mobile version of the web. Make sure you check out both for full experience. 

2. Basic – Leroy

This is a subpage from Basic Agency in San Diego, USA, used with the purpose to demo their company culture only, but under quite a well-made version. We were welcomed into their casa with a cute warning ahead in the lower left corner saying how there will be flashing images and “weird stuff”.

Source: Basic Agency 

What do we like about this website?

Its purpose as a whole 

The idea of a cultural page per se is good. For many companies selling their product is a number one priority. They showcase work results in breathtaking portfolios but sometimes forget that it’s the process, the people that are important as well. With this website, Basic Agency open doors for not only potential employees but also clients to their homes. Their own values, which are normally kept internally, are publicly stated in a clear yet vivid way, such as “No one will hold your hands because we embrace entrepreneurial mindset” or “Kill that fucking ego and move past your personal bias”… We believe this is a smart way to make commitment and build trust for company that we should learn from. 

“It is like watching a movie”

Basic Agency website embedded awesome features that recalled us of a film. First, it is the very impressive ocean waves background that seems to blow ‘life’ into the site to make it chirpy and vivacious. Also, pay attention to the color use. It was not simply a flat black and white, but rather the carefully-picked sandy texture which recalls the nostalgic TV dark screen. Who wouldn’t like TV when they were kids? Then who wouldn’t like “Basic Agency”.

Doodles and symbols

What can express more creativity than doodling? Before the home pages, there are flashing images of handwritten sketches and crosses. On the homepage, there is a drawing of a hand stabbed by a sword, as if they mean “draft till it hurts” – a spur to creativity. The mouse comes with changing symbols is a cool feature as well. 

Tip: In order to enjoy the site to the fullest, the waving ocean-like background needs a considerably moderate speed to load naturally. You don’t want to see waves that stuck, do you? So, be careful if you were to apply this feature to your own commercial website.

Overall, as Leroy put it “what is more exhilarating than working for an agency with a website like this”. Well, working with Whale agency, perhaps 😉

3. Neurohive – Koko

 It is a webpage designed by (Russia) for an online developing competition. “It blossoms and connects” is the impression we had about this site.  We think they did a pretty good job for a competition-promoting website. 
 What do we like about this website? 

Source: Neurohive

“Like a firework that lingers”
Many of us agree that the globe-like firework design is a piece of art, which serves as the spotlight for the whole site. It utilizes 3D concept to gather countless of mini dots into a grand and splendid globe, as if it is sending a welcoming invitation to all talents on earth to join the ‘hackathon’.

 Smooth burst animation 
The more mesmerizing comes as you scroll down, the firework bursts so smoothly into scattered patterns that float in the background. You might not even notice this, but perhaps that is what keeps you on their site.

Gradient color 
Another unique thing about this site is the color use. No color switch between pages. One gradient mixture of light and dark purple. It delivers a good sense of consistency.

Tips: We noticed that the landing page for “Login/Sign up” tab has a total different theme of light white, which creates quite a visual contrast. We wonder if this was done on purpose?

4. Cappen – Natasha

Next is a Brazilian digital production agency with their headquarter in New York, which we are impressed by their a pretty dope home page. We like to call it a hidden charm because … there are charms that are hidden.

Source: Cappen Agency

What do we like about this website?

Impressive homepage: Animations and (hidden) interactions
At first glance, Cappen homepage has animations of constant movements of different adjectives, which (to be honest!) quite annoying and you just want to make it stop. That is indeed how they brilliantly surprise us with their cool interactions, utilized by their own resources of staff as models. Check [it] out yourself.

Embedded video that runs smoothly
Cappen websites has a lot of running videos embedded. And best of all, they works! It would be a nightmares for websites that stuck from heavy vids. From “About us” page to “Works” page, the videos do a good job in helping them demonstrate their points and works in a vivacious way.

Tips: In “Works” tab, Cappen used an per-page transition style, which adds focus on each project. However, this transition type could be a bit dangerous as it might distorts impatient page visitors.

5. Totem Media –  Carlos

This is a website made for a Dutch filmmaking company. We feel as if the film-making-style was applied perceptively in their website. After the Totem logo is loaded on a simple white background, its homepage becomes a theater-like screen welcoming its audience like how a Hollywood movie would do, from a drone view camera perspective of mesmerizing beaches and mountains to cutting-edge action scenes and so on. Before we know, we are already led into the world of blockbusters.

Source: Totem

What do we like about this website?

Visual speaks louder than words
We like the idea how selected videos are displayed to speak the company’s work of art instead of lengthy text explaining what and why they do what do. Not overwhelming as attacking visitors with non-consent views, short film options are given to page visitors with smooth animations as they move their mouses through the page. With just one click can you be drawn into exhilarating films made by Totem.

Portfolios are souls to any agencies within media industry. They deliver an overall representative image of the company to its clients.  Hence, agency’s projects need to be demonstrated in a way that is simple enough, but still able to express their intrinsic souls and spirits. That is what we can see in Totem’s website because each of their pages is so unique, which give each project their own stance.

Totem, totem, totem, ….
Another feature that distinguishes Totem website from others is how they choose to load the logo before each new page. There are debatable opinions among us about this feature, some think that it takes time (almost 1 second each webpage, which is like an hour in the offline world); others believe it worth the exchange for brand awareness (cuz’ how good movies always need a name, right?)

6. Baubauhaus – Jurre  

When looking at a website, content is no less important than its visual ‘bro’. Baubauhaus started as a website, or rather a daily dose of inspiration by two cool Romanian guys, Stefan and Andrei in their free time (awesome bros!). Presumably, comparing to other websites, Baubauhaus does not have explicit appearance, but we have decided to put it on the list because:

Source: Baubauhaus

Design made simple  
We like how this is an art-related page made simplistic so that the real artworks can be highlighted. The site is made based on the most simple background that you could think of, and best of all, it works. If this website is a painting, all you need is a bucket of black paint and a scissor. First, you paint the upper banner black, and then you use the scissor to cut out its logo. Bang!!! There we go. That is how simple it is.

No non-sense content 
This website is simply user-generated, created by passionate people and to passionate people. The artworks collected include illustrations, photographs, also fashion or anything art-related selected through the eyes of the web creators with approvals and credits from their authors, which is very important in the creativity world.

We highly appreciate how valuable these types of websites are to our community.

*Disclaimer: We are trying to make this a ‘monthly thing’ so you can expect a fresh new article with best websites of the month, every month from a very Whale perspective. So Stay Tune and Enjoy!

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