Inspired Design Decisions

Look outside the web and be inspired to make better design decisions

A weekly series of 52 website designs by Andy Clarke, influenced by the most inspiring art directors and graphic designers of the twentieth century. Learn about the background to each design, the techniques and technologies used to implement it, and how it might inspire more compelling, creative design for the web.

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PDF magazines and eHTML/CSS code from Andy’s popular series of Inspired Design Decisions articles available for only £3.99 + VAT per issue. Issue #1 is free.

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I made this project to educate and motivate web professionals. I do not own the inspirational designs and my understanding is that using them is in correlation to Fair Right Use as this project is for teaching purposes and has no negative impact on any original works.
Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Otto Storch

Otto Storch

An influential member of the New York School of editorial and advertising designers, Otto Storch is best known for his work as the art director of woman’s magazine McCall’s in the 1950s and ’60s. Born in Brooklyn in 1913, Storch took classes with legendary Harper’s Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch. Inspired by Brodovitch’s opinionated approach to design, Storch wrote:

“Good art direction does not come from an uncertain person. I am capable of intense feeling and was willing to lose a popularity contest with departmental editors when necessary. The visual responsibility of the magazine was mine.”

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Herb Lubalin

Herb Lubalin

Herb Lubalin was fascinated by how typography could be used for communication. He understood how a choice of typeface could fundamentally alter the look and sound of words to communicate messages to his readers. Lubalin is well-known for his work on Eros and Fact magazines, as well as Avant Garde for which he designed the ITC Avant Garde typeface. His studio worked on magazines, packaging, posters, and corporate identity designs, but his most adventurous and interesting work was for his own U&lc typographic journal. The most complete reference for Lubalin’s work is Adrian Shaughnessy’s ‘Herb Lubalin: American Graphic Designer’, first published by Unit Editions in 2012.

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Bea Feitler

Bea Feitler

Bea Feitler has been described as “the pioneering female art director you’ve never heard of.” Only one exhibition has been staged about her work and one retrospective book published. “O Design de Bea Feitler,” written by her nephew, was published in her native Brazil in 2012. It took me months to track down a copy, but eventually, I found one.

Feitler combined Brodovitch’s mastery of the double-page spread with her choices of bold colors which were inspired by pop artists Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, as well as street fashion and youth culture. I find her typographic designs especially fascinating, and especially how she often combined typography with deconstructed grids.

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Alexey Brodovitch

Alexey Brodovitch

Alexey Brodovitch’s knowledge of photography gave his work its classic feel. Brodovitch often cropped photographs in unexpected ways, and he placed them off-centre—sometimes bleeding them outside the margins of a page—to create compositions which were full of energy and movement.

“Surprise quality can be achieved in many ways. It may be produced by a certain stimulating geometrical relationship between elements in the picture, or through the human interest of the situation photographed, or by calling our attention to some commonplace but fascinating thing we have never noticed before, or it can be achieved by looking at an everyday thing in a new interesting way.”

—Alexey Brodovitch
Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Bradbury Thompson

Bradbury Thompson

Although less well-known than many of his contemporaries, Bradbury Thompson has been called “one of the giants of 20th-century graphic design.” Thompson had an talent for blend modernist typographic approaches with classical typefaces and formal illustrations. It’s this blending which makes much of Thompson’s work distinctive and is something which inspires my work today. He said:

The art of typography, like architecture, is concerned with beauty and utility in contemporary terms… the typographic designer must present the arts and sciences of past centuries as well as those of today.

—Bradbury Thompson
Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Alvin Lustig

Alvin Lustig

Alvin Lustig’s work as a book, graphic, and typeface designer has been influential long after his death in 1955. His book cover for New Directions Publishing over a ten-year relationship included designs for James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and several Tennessee Williams plays including ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’ Having been diagnosed with diabetes in his teens, by 1954 he was virtually blind and died at the age of only 40. Lustig said:

I make solutions that nobody wants to problems that don’t exist.

—Alvin Lustig
Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Max Huber

Max Huber

Max Huber found a balance between serving his clients and his own need to experiment with his designs. He experimented with bold colours and shapes, typographic elements and images. I love how Huber rarely adopted a typical approach to using photographs, instead combining them with those elements to create designs which always surprise me.

Moving from Switzerland to Milan and back again after the Second World War, Huber worked commercially on iconic and influential designs. He also taught graphic design in the Swiss town of Lugano, which coincidentally is where I stay when I go to work in Switzerland. He died in Mendrisio—where my Swiss office is—in 1992.

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Lester Beall

Lester Beall

Lester Beall was an American modernist graphic designer. His modernist designs included bright, often primary, colours and he used bold lines shapes. He combined these graphic elements with photomontage to make covers and posters in a style which became his signature. While he is possibly best-known for his covers and posters, Beall also made designs for advertising, corporate identities, editorial, and packaging. Of Lester Beall, Herb Lubalin wrote:

Beall was responsible for taking American graphic design of the 1930s out of its mundane, tasteless form into the beginnings of what we know now as effective visual communication.

—Herb Lubalin
Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Herb Lubalin

Herb Lubalin

Herb Lubalin was fascinated by how typography could be used for communication. He understood how a choice of typeface could fundamentally alter the look and sound of words to communicate messages to his readers. Lubalin is well-known for his work on Eros and Fact magazines, as well as Avant Garde for which he designed the ITC Avant Garde typeface. His studio worked on magazines, packaging, posters, and corporate identity designs, but his most adventurous and interesting work was for his own U&lc typographic journal. The most complete reference for Lubalin’s work is Adrian Shaughnessy’s ‘Herb Lubalin: American Graphic Designer’, first published by Unit Editions in 2012.

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Ladislav Sutnar

Ladislav Sutnar

Ladislav Sutnar was a Czechoslovakian graphic designer born in 1897. Sutnar was one of the first designers to practice information design. Much of his work involved using design to present large amounts of data and make it accessible and understandable. He created information graphics and designs for a variety of manufacturing catalogues. Heavily influenced by Modernism, Sutnar’s work is characterised by his use of typography and limited colour palettes.

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Max Huber

Max Huber

Max Huber found a balance between serving his clients and his own need to experiment with his designs. He experimented with bold colours and shapes, typographic elements and images. I love how Huber rarely adopted a typical approach to using photographs, instead combining them with those elements to create designs which always surprise me.

Moving from Switzerland to Milan and back again after the Second World War, Huber worked commercially on iconic and influential designs. He also taught graphic design in the Swiss town of Lugano, which coincidentally is where I stay when I go to work in Switzerland. He died in Mendrisio—where my Swiss office is—in 1992.

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Armin Hofmann

Armin Hofmann

Armin Hofmann is a Swiss graphic designer whose work is known for its abstract shapes and lines. Born in 1920 and now 99 years old, Hofmann first taught, then became head of the Basel School of Design. His work has been widely exhibited in major galleries, including the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Throughout his long career, Armin Hofmann designed posters in the Swiss International Style, in particular for the Basel Stadt Theater. He valued visual communication above everything else in design, used techniques including photo-montage, experimental compositions, and primarily sans-serif typography.

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by David Carson

David Carson

David Carson is an American art director and graphic designer. He’s well known for innovative magazine designs—including the alternative rock-and-roll magazine Ray Gun—and his use of experimental typography. Famously, Carson was art director and designer at Ray Gun magazine for over three years. In one issue, he notoriously used Dingbat for what he considered a dull interview with Bryan Ferry.

Inspired by Cipe Pineles

Coming next week

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