A new year, a new Universal Head


Universal Head

January is a-wastin’, but happy new year to you all out there. I’ve been putting off my first entry of the year as I wanted to start with a bang—I’ve finally got around to totally revamping my design business website: Universal Head. If you’re at all interested in graphic design, I do invite you to go and have a look around.

I’ve been in business for myself for nigh on twelve years now, and it was high time I made a site as clear and easy to use as this one. My last one was good for its time, but it relied too heavily on the bells and whistles of Flash animation. So for a while now I’ve been a little embarrassed to preach to my clients about ‘fast-loading’ and ‘easy-to-navigate’ and ‘standards-compatible’ websites, and then direct them to a business site that was anything but. That’s all been fixed. And I must admit, now that I get all of that work out in such a coherent format, I’m quite chuffed with the variety and quality of work on display (and this is only a small selection of many, many jobs over more than the past decade).

The object of this site is to present some of the best of that body of work in a clear, fast and easy to navigate format, and I think I’ve succeeded.

So anyway, let’s kick off this 2006 business shall we?

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jedimacfan
    Jan 18, 2006 @ 01:33:33

    Flash is of the devil. It’s an acronym for “Forget Lots of Animation. Stick with HTML.
    Your new web site is very nice looking, and the fact that it doesn’t use Flash makes it all the better. Nice job.

  2. steelbuddha
    Jan 18, 2006 @ 04:03:33

    Very, very sharp. I’ll be sure to use you as an example for my usability class.

  3. UniversalHead
    Jan 18, 2006 @ 07:57:32

    Thanks lads.
    Yes, Flash is sliding down the slippery slope of popularity lately. At the time I made the last site it was all the rage and to some extent a designer’s site had to reflect the zeitgeist, especially since lots of clients had just enough information to ask “can I have a Flash site?” Those days are gone thank goodness, but Flash still occasionally has it’s place when used in extreme moderation (or for a specific thing such as a web-based app). The best balance I’ve been able to get so far was on my band site at http://www.thetelltales.com where not only are the Flash images non-essential information and fast to load, but a low res bitmap loads first while the high-res image comes down the pipe. Adds a bit of glisten to the site.
    And I still love bandwidth-heavy completely over-the-top bells and whistles sites for movies, a la Pirates of the Caribbean and Underworld.

  4. Smokey
    Jan 18, 2006 @ 13:37:07

    Aren’t you a little concerned that the new site might be too understated for most clients underdeveloped design sensibilities? While we can all agree that it looks great and that it’s on the cutting edge of clean, smart design, I don’t know if the general public is educated enough to understand what you’re going for. To them it might simply look sterile and dull.
    I suppose that’s the risk you take leaning over the edge.

  5. UniversalHead
    Jan 18, 2006 @ 13:59:15

    I don’t think it’s ‘leaning over the edge’—in fact I wasn’t setting out to do anything at the cutting edge of design at all, though I certainly didn’t want to look sterile and dull. I think it isn’t dull, but then perhaps to you it is.
    Making a stronger design statement is a risky thing for a design company that doesn’t want to alienate itself from a wide range of clients. If you look through the work you’ll see I’ve done everything from the most conservative newspaper site design to ‘out there’ 3D interface design. If I did something more cutting-edge the former client would not take me seriously as a designer for their project, and if I was conservative the latter may think my design wasn’t cutting-edge enough.
    So the solution to this conundrum for me was to create a simple, elegant (or understated if you will) and easy-to-use framework in which the work does the talking, not the interface. Something that won’t go out of fashion in a few months. If I miss out on some web design awards, well, so be it.
    Some clients go to a designer to get that designer’s ‘style’ applied to their project, others go to a designer to get a solution to a visual communication problem. I think of myself as the latter type of designer.
    If there’s one thing I know it’s that you can’t please everybody and shouldn’t try. I even had a friend think the way the right hand column has a shadow behind it at the top was a bit ‘odd’. There you go …
    Thanks for your comment!

  6. steelbuddha
    Jan 19, 2006 @ 05:37:51

    Heads up. There’s a typo on your “About” page. “We never loses sight of that fact.”

  7. UniversalHead
    Jan 19, 2006 @ 07:22:50

    Thanks ‘buddha, fixed.