Surfing & Cruising
by Bret Kelly
As a designer, I spend about three to five hours a day on the Web; fixing
my own stuff, checking out other designers’ work, gathering ideas or solving
technical problems. As you can imagine I’ve seen a lot of sites in the
past five years. I’ve downloaded thousands of Web pages; a lot of them bad
and a few of them good. I feel it worth honouring some of the truly remark—
able gay designers, some whose work you may have seen and others you
probably have never experienced.
I’m going to start with Jonno (www.jonno.com) because this is where I
started. His site became an inspiration to me. I emailed him about three
years ago to praise him and we‘ve kept in touch to exchange portfolios and
ideas. At that time no one was designing interesting sites — most were just
black backgrounds with endless text and annoying animations (burning
torch ring a bell?). I loved his simple use of graphics and easy navigation.
Today his site is still a superior example of design.
The House of Renadi (www.walrus.com/~ricoxxx/) is run by a friend of
Jonn0’s. The site hasn’t changed much in the last few years but it’s still as
interesting. It’s like a labyrinth and you never know what you will find.
Most of it is comprised of enhanced photography and strange back-
grounds.Simple but unique.
Dave is a guy from Calgary (www.cal.shaw.wave.ca/~goto) that I have
never e—mailed but as a designer, I am very impressed with his site. I was
originally drawn into the site for the nudie pictures but have kept coming
back for the designs. He’s recently revamped the site and the new look is
colourful and complex.
Now this is very kewll RVZ (www.3eg.com/rvz/) is the site of a photog-
rapher whose design skills are beyond amazing. He uses the site to show-
case photos and to sell his art and t—shirts. I can’t really explain this site in
words — it’s for you to experience on your own. Make sure that you have
the Flash plug-in (www.macromedia.com) or you’ll be missing out on the
best parts. His Web portfolio can be found at the top level domain (it’s just
Alienation (www.alienation.com) is the homesite of Story Waters (his
real name?). The use of Flash here is extraordinary and just as impressive
as on RVZ. He updates the site quite a bit and every time it becomes more
and more complex. It’s a little on the slow side but worth the wait.
Mark and Dave are the owners of Groundcontrol
(www.groundcontrol.force9.co.uk/homepage/homepage.html), a site of a
cute young couple from the UK. The guys are so sweet you’ll want to hug
them both. Mark is the one who designed the site and he also shot the pho-
tos. Their site features a live cam but they get especially annoyed it you
request nudity, so be kind when you visit.
Clubex (www.visionload.com/clubex/) is a male exhibitionist site. A lit»
tle on the strange side but visually stimulating and I’m not referring to the
nudity. Every page has a different background image and the photos have
been altered for a really interesting presentation. Arty and experimental.
My latest discovery is Leg Enemies (http://pantheon.yale.edu/~smlee).
The creator e—mailed me recently, to compliment me on one of my sites.
When I checked his portfolio out, I was so impressed that I immediately
returned the praise. He uses a lot of Java and some Flash. to make his
designs visually stunning. I still don’t know what Leg Enemies are… but
does it matter?
What keeps me interested in the Web, is the way a designer can make
one click into a unique experience. That’s really what separates a Web
designer from a Web master. Anyone with Photoshop and a layout program
can be a Web master — someone with creativity and a unique vision, that’s
a Web designer.