Guidelines for brutalist web design


THIS! A THOUSAND TIMES THIS! Why do I have to download an effing PDF on EVERY SINGLE occasion I want to look at the menu on a restaurant’s website? WHY?

(Probably their laziness - they produce the PDF to print and put on tables, so it’s easy for them to use the same doc rather than actually update a web page. But that is STILL NO EXCUSE!)

@gracchus - good rant! :wink:


I do like that writer’s attitude. It actually IS brutal, too.


Exemplary! Most useful, for to focus upon the didactic myriad posts provided by the minions of Xeni.


How does integrating garbage content provided by mgid, outbrain and their ilk fit into this philosoph?


Awesome. I had no idea. Needs ascii representations of the article images though. Boingboing needs to hire a cadre of ascii artists!


My apologies for reminding you.


Did you mean Functional, functional, Functional, or functional?


I woke up at ~2:00am one day and noticed that on netflix. I figured that it would put me to sleep and it didn’t …Of course I had to recommend it to my father who is a bit of a type nerd.




I assume from the style and content, it’s Maddox.


And for those that want to see a condensed view of just the header image and title (My fav):


If you tell your client that you used brutalist web design they will not be happy with you haha


I like the fact it’s one html page. Not because of nostalgia for Geocities but more for the fact it respects the idea of HTML files as documents first and data stores second. The idea that an HTML file should or would become an application I think will be seen as a dead end in the future as better approaches are adopted.


I agree except that I hate an endless loading page bottom. A page should be finite. God I’m old.


I agree that it would be extremely unlikely to see a reversal of HTML and HTTP from being casks for pseudo-applications but I think the fact we’re seeing WebAssembly and other standards evolve means we’ve reached the peak of HTML + JS + API approaches to online applications. It’s likely this approach as I’ve said in another post will be seen as a dead end or digression from effective and good software design.


I like the attitude, but the target is wrong. It’s not web developers who want websites to look like that. Clients, designers and PR want all this garbage, not us. Ok, well, some firms are out there just to “Push the Medium,” but in large part to attract the attention of these silly clients.

I was working as a contractor once to make a web app that allowed people to generate a visual business card for their email signature. We wanted to test, but everyone on the team had text-only email clients…

If you really want to blame somebody, blame the CMS companies. CMSs are the Trojan horse for not only all the bloat, but also the Hipsters-sipping-coffee aesthetic becoming standard.

I hate Javascript web-bloat and surveillance for many reasons, but one of the biggest ones is the hate-on that it gives people for Javascript generally. Used responsibly, it can be really fucking cool and helpful. I just got out of a meeting with four women recording data about their home visiting with child care workers. I showed them that I could easily show and hide parts of the form that they don’t always need to tidy up the interface. They literally blessed me. Javascript doesn’t ruin websites, people ruin websites.


I would hazard that the only clients who would want this would ask for it. The clients who need it anyway would be sold it as “minimalism”, “high performance”, “retro”, etc – and you’d skip the 1990s fetishwork (blue underlined links, Times New Roman) and the like.


This isn’t brutalist style. This is closer minimalism or pragmatism. The authors design manifesto has nearly zero connection to the aesthetic design aspect of brutalism.




At one particularly low point in my career, I taught a media and design class at a (now defunct) for-profit college. I came across “Helvetica” while looking for resources I could use to supplement the obsolete and inadequate official class materials. I showed the movie to the class thinking that the students would be amazed at the care and reverence that had gone into this ubiquitous, unremarked-on part of their daily lives, and hoping it might kindle some curiosity in them about art and aesthetics.


They never forgave me. There was a valuable lesson taught that day, and I was the one that learned it.