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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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.

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 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 Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori was an Italian graphic designer who is most well-known for his work with Italian manufacturer Olivetti. Pintori is known for his minimalist style and use of geometric shapes. After leaving Olivetti, Pintori designed advertising, books, and magazines. In later life, Pintori concentrated on painting until he died in 1999 at the age of 87.

“I do not attempt to speak on behalf of the machines. Instead, I have tried to make them speak for themselves, through the graphic presentation of their elements, their operations and their use.“

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 Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori was an Italian graphic designer who is most well-known for his work with Italian manufacturer Olivetti. Pintori is known for his minimalist style and use of geometric shapes. After leaving Olivetti, Pintori designed advertising, books, and magazines. In later life, Pintori concentrated on painting until he died in 1999 at the age of 87.

“I do not attempt to speak on behalf of the machines. Instead, I have tried to make them speak for themselves, through the graphic presentation of their elements, their operations and their use.“

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori was an Italian graphic designer who is most well-known for his work with Italian manufacturer Olivetti. Pintori is known for his minimalist style and use of geometric shapes. After leaving Olivetti, Pintori designed advertising, books, and magazines. In later life, Pintori concentrated on painting until he died in 1999 at the age of 87.

“I do not attempt to speak on behalf of the machines. Instead, I have tried to make them speak for themselves, through the graphic presentation of their elements, their operations and their use.“

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Neville Brody

Neville Brody

The Face magazine became a pop culture mirror to the political and social turmoil in Britain during the 1980s. Its unconventional and thought-provoking designs and Neville Brody’s work redefined the British music press from the 1980s onwards and influenced a generation of designers. Even twenty-five years after he created them, Brody’s pages from The Face magazine are still remarkable designs. I’m still inspired by them every day.

The Face was a living laboratory where I could experiment and have it published. Our golden rule was to question everything.

—Neville Brody
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 Emmett McBain

Emmett McBain

Emmett McBain was an African American Graphic Designer who’s work highlighted themes of the African American community and helped bring a positive image of African Americans to the mainstream. He designed impactful advertising, during the Civil Rights era and a series of iconic album covers throughout the sixties and seventies. McBain’s acquaintance Bruce Bendinger said:

“In the life of an ad man, you can be well paid but you’ll likely do a lot of trivial work. Emmett did work that mattered.”

#blacklivesmatter

Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Herbert Matter

Herbert Matter

Herbert Matter was a Swiss-born American photographer and graphic designer known for his pioneering use of photo-montage in commercial art. His experimental work helped shape the vocabulary of 20th-century graphic design.

“If you love something, the work will be just fine.”

—Herbert Matter
Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Dan Friedman

Dan Friedman

Dan Friedman was an American graphic and furniture designer. He studied under Armin Hofmann at the Ulm School of Design and became a major contributor to the new wave typography movement. While working at Pentagram until 1984, Friedman designed letterheads, logos, and posters. Sadly, Friedman died of AIDS in 1995 in New York.

“Bridge the boundaries that separate us from other creative professions and unexpected possibilities”

—Dan Friedman
Inspiration for my design
My final design
This design was inspired by Erik Nitsche

Erik Nitsche

Erik Nitsche was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1908 and was a pioneer in the design of books, reports, and other printed materials. In 1955, Nitsche began working as art director at engineering company General Dynamics where he designed a 420-page book on the company’s history entitled Dynamic America.

Nitsche paid meticulous attention to details of page composition, typography presentation, and the juxtaposition of design elements. His hallmarks were clarity, vibrant colors, smart typography, and geometric principles.

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

More design inspiration

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Say thank-you with a $10 one-off donation or shop the magazines.