aesthetically loyal

aesthetically loyal

Armed with a salmon pink color palette and loads of Courier New, Anthony Kolber’s graphic design portfolio is certainly one of a kind. If you make it past the initial shock and take the time to squint here and there, you’ll find an amazing body of work housed in a site that isn’t afraid to take some risks.

the airing of grievances

Detail shot of the low contrast issue

Let’s begin as they do in Festivus with the airing of grievances. The homepage has some issues, biggest of all being readability. The column headings, project keywords, and other light pink text are lost due to lack of contrast. This is most likely an intentional design choice supporting the thought that “if everything stands out, nothing stands out.” But the result is text that is so hard to read it may as well not be there at all.

Another glowing problem is the big yellow circle reminding us that writings are soon to come. This site succeeds as a simple portfolio showcase. But this overly optimistic sun is constantly calling our attention away from the work just to make what very well could be an empty promise.

lots and lots of courier new

Detail shot of the headlines set in Courier New

I feel better now, so let’s shift modes and discuss some of the really cool aspects of the site. Number one, Anthony has designed an entire site using Courier New. And I’ll be the first to express my surprise when I say that this monospaced font looks great at large sizes set in uppercase. Sure there are some weird kerning issues, especially noticeable to the right of the “O,” but the fact that it’s all HTML text, and accessible, is enough for me to let it slide.

let there be white!

Detail shot of an interior screen

There’s a huge sigh of relief when you click on a project and see a nice large white block containing the details. The same Courier type that we saw on the homepage is now enhanced with better contrast and great big colorful pictures of killer work.

Seeing just one project is enough to make any visitor stick around and view them all.

Hype Posters

Seeing just one project is enough to make any visitor stick around and view them all. Fortunately, Anthony has spent time on some of the finer details to make the experience quite effortless. So easy, but so often forgotten, the visited link state (in this case a very clear strikethrough) reminds us of where we’ve been and the small text superscripted to the right of the “PORTFOLIO” heading now says “back.”

there’s nothing worse than being forgettable

I’m excited to hear the forthcoming discussion as I’m sure there will be some strong opinions on this site. One thing that I don’t think anyone will argue with is that Aesthetically Loyal is memorable. It’s the pink site that uses courier, and it’s full of amazing work.

  1. Mitch

    Other than the pink, I’m lovin’ the whole look of this site. Salmon is not my color. Change it to a light grey (#eee anyone?), and I would love it even more.

  2. Kyle Meyer

    Interesting choice. I really dig the interior pages but I’m not sure about the home page and that damn sun spot that is the ‘writings coming soon’ blurb.

    I think he could improve the site greatly simply by applying the white background to the home page and using a different technique to deemphasize the unimportant sections rather than making it near migraine inducing to read. That said, once you’re off the front page I enjoy how the focus is on the work in his portfolio, and the simple grid used to lay things out. No need to click thumbnails, no need to do anything — just scroll and view away. His portfolio pieces are awesome, and there’s some great work hiding in them too, just like Bearskinrug.

    Just needs some love on the home page.

  3. Kevin Zak

    Oh, boy! When I first set eyes on this design, I immediately thought that you were insane for reviewing it. Further investigation left me exasperated. Not because I disliked the design, but because I was oddly attracted to it when my mind told me I should be repulsed. As far as first impressions go, aesthetically loyal does not make a good one. When delving deeper, however, one begins to understand the theory and reasoning behind the design.

    I will start with something positive. While I have always despised Courier in any form it may take, the unique use of it that this site employs makes it strangely appealing. Using a monospaced font to such a large extent is a bold choice (not pun intended), but I must admit the design actually pulls it off quite nicely. When used with large, uppercased lettering, you start to notice rough edges that resemble artifacts on a poorly created image. This somewhat reduces my initial impression, as it is not as seamlessly employed as I originally thought.

    When looking at the negatives, I feel that all imperfections are exponentially exceeded by the large yellow circle distastefully proclaiming “writings”. It is such an eyesore on an otherwise aesthetically-pleasing design that it almost appears to be added to the design later on in a fit of drunken rage. By removing the sun-like atrocity and improving the contrast of the less important text somewhat, it is actually quite a remarkable design.

    I believe there is a lot to be gained by adopting the white background from the pages within the homepage itself. Not only would it improve the contrast problem considerably, it also offers a nice balance of color and substance, whereas the homepage currently is overwhelmingly pink.

    An interesting choice of site to review, but a good one nonetheless. I think it will spark some interesting debate between people who carefully examine the site and people who just glance it. As I said in my introduction paragraph, this site does not make a good first impression.

  4. DigiKev Digital Media

    What really excites me about this site is the use of the courier font with the use of column labels such as “column 1”. When I studied graphic communication at University one of the first things taught back in year 1 was that courier is used as a placeholder before a typeface is selected to compliment the work. With the visual aids of the column labels and the stuck on yellow sun as you’ve described it are brilliantly clever. They hint at a work in progress but really it is purposefully placed as not to distract from the beautiful work in this portfolio. I would personally describe the yellow sun as a post-it note left by Anthony as a reminder to himself of what needs to be achieved but allowing this to permeate to the end user. An accomplished design indeed.

  5. Scott Nellé

    I know it’s not type related, but the keyword search filter is pretty cool. It’s utterly useless when javascript is turned off (it doesn’t fall back as a regular search) but fortunately its just filtering the content that’s already on the page.

  6. kevadamson

    This website he designed, and also the illustration, is really nice : http://freelancing-gods.com
    Possibly shows off the designers awareness of space and layout better than that showcased …

  7. kuldeep

    I really wish, we had neon signs (hype) like that in reality, less intense and cool. Looks awesome.

    Good post!!

  8. Elyse

    Honestly, I can’t say I liked it. I like Courier used really large, but even on the white pages it’s so difficult to read. I’m not fond of the navigation either, as you have to either scroll to the bottom to go prev/next, or just go back. Why not prev/next at the top also? I guess you can’t please everyone! :)

  9. matt k

    The search is really cool - I like the way it highlights the word. It’s a bit confusing though how the page jumps about when there is nothing found in the search. I think that either each link should dissapear if no key letters are found ot the section blocks should stay on the screen but maybe go darker.

  10. Andi Farr

    “It’s the pink site that uses courier, and it’s full of amazing work.”

    This just about sums it up, doesn’t it. To be honest, the work is of such a high standard that there is zero possibility of any element of the design being left to chance. But I still think the pink is a mistake - even if I can forgive the low-contrast text!

  11. Benek

    Thanks for this review. I hadn’t seen the site before. I can’t say I like everything about it, but the more I looked the more it grew on me. I have to give it props for taking chances and being unique.

  12. Robert McCarthy

    For me the best part is the ‘more information’ link. I was expecting what it states, more information in a written form and this was delivered in a different but lovely way. A photograph of inspirational and conceptual thinking that is obviously a key part of Anthony Kolber’s life and is uniquely and visibly expressed within his work.