are you a virgin?

are you a virgin?

When I first stumbled across this site last evening I immediately loved it, and it’s been a while since I’ve felt that way about a website design. AIGA DC’s ‘Are you a virgin?’ site is littered with great attention to detail, subtle flash and javascript effects, and some excellent copy. Granted there’s a few things that could be improved, but overall the site accomplishes what it sets out to do — with style.

classy, yet bold

Detail screenshot of the logo

There’s no denying that the concept of the site sets some expectations for a few good puns. Yet somehow, the design maintains a high level of class while remaining bold and out there. The contrast between the black and pink makes a statement and sets a tone. The bold headlines are excellent, and the illustrative work is fun as well.

Detail screenshot of the body content typography

Like many sites we’ve reviewed, there is an excellent balance and harmony between both serif and sans serif typefaces. There are a few instances of Helvetica that were hard to read or hard to click on due to their small size, it wouldn’t hurt to bump it up a bit bigger.

scannable content

Detail screenshot of content formatting

One thing that I absolutely love is the list style of most of the content, the numbering is correctly placed in gutter, and the headlines are both easy to scan due to the layout and make for excellent eye candy with the simple addition of some oblique articles. The horizontal rules provide a clear break between sections that solve the issue of simply reading the content column as if it was an article jumping from topic to topic.

flash degradation

Detail screenshot of Flash content

I was happy to see that the flash pieces are being placed by swfObject, so if a user does not have javascript or Flash enabled, they’ll see a static image. This is a great technique that is well executed to create a more accessible site not only to humans, but for SEO purposes as well.


Overall, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable microsite for a competition, and if you’re in a position to enter, could make for some good publicity within the AIGA organization. How do you fine folks feel about the design?

  1. Guy Leech

    Kyle, I think you’ve missed something in your complaint about the Flash Degradation. If you take a look in the code, they do actually have a paragraph with exactly the same copy as the flash text included in it.

    I’m not actually sure why they didn’t just use the plain HTML text (nicer rendering?), but the HTML text is there, which makes it both accessible and SEO-friendly.

  2. Kyle Meyer

    @Guy: You are indeed correct, it must have been that the content in question is not in the div for replacement that caused me to miss it. In that case I have some edits to make. They’ve done a great job on accessibility then!

  3. Kevin Zak

    An interesting design to review. I must confess, the title of the site certainly did its job and caught my attention. However, after a title and introduction, the theme of “it’s a euphemism!” quickly becomes arduous. When running a competition, offering information in a straight-forward manner reduces questions from contestants and confusion among submissions. Beginning each page with a quip alluding to sex is only going to throw people off; you’ve got their attention, and being overly redundant will only deter that attention.

    As for the actual design, I’m in love. The color scheme is brilliant. As you said, the contrast between the pink and the black elements certainly make a statement. When considering the type, I cannot help but to consider the target audience. I must once again offer the opinion that information should be straightforward; the due date on the homepage is anything but. If this design was used on a personal weblog or something similar, this would be understandable. However, when designing it is instrumental to remember your audience. This stems from usability.

    As you mentioned, the ordered lists on the inner pages are styled fantastically but they are quite unnecessary. The information being displayed is not a set of instructions nor does it rely on being in a specific order, therefore using ordered lists once again only adds another layer of confusion.

    The flash animations are unobtrusive and add a level of personality to the site. As I said, I find the euphemistic content to be annoying, however the author obviously does not and thus the designs make sense. I am not a fan of flash except for very rare cases, and this is one of them.

    If we ignore the site’s purpose and audience and focus solely on the design, it is a wonderful piece of work in terms of both aesthetics and typography. When we consider the purpose and audience, though, it is clear that usability was not given enough consideration when the site was designed.

  4. Kyle Meyer

    As you mentioned, the ordered lists on the inner pages are styled fantastically but they are quite unnecessary. The information being displayed is not a set of instructions nor does it rely on being in a specific order, therefore using ordered lists once again only adds another layer of confusion.

    @Kevin: I disagree, the content fits well in the format of lists. You have a list of meta information about the competition, a list of steps to enter, a list of judges and so on. While it’s somewhat petty to argue semantics I find it to be a well executed metaphor.

  5. Kevin Zak

    @Kyle: I must admit that I missed the How to Enter page. An ordered list does indeed make sense in that situation. However, I still maintain that the competition information has no reason to be put in an ordered list. Order may be important between two sections of information, such as Eligibility before Awards (because you must be eligible in order to win an award), but the point I was trying to make is that the numbering is unnecessary.

    The Judges page focuses on giving us information regarding the judges (and the merits that give them the right to judge). The number and order of Judges, however, is completely irrelevant. A design will not change based on whether there are three judges or four. A design may change based upon that judge’s field of expertise and background information. For instance, if one judge worked as a usability consultant for a design firm, I’d make damn sure that my design had thought out usability. This is why the unordered lists on these two pages is unnecessary.

    One could argue that that it is to keep the pages more uniformed, but I do not believe that negates the fact that order is irrelevant.

  6. Robert

    The way they have the content laid out with the h2’s on the left and the rest on the right is just incredible. I love it.

    Also, I’m not sure if you noticed it or not, but just in case, I’d like to point out that the em’s are in Georgia. I thought that that was a really neat touch.

  7. John

    This site is awesome, and I probably wouldn’t have seen it if not for this site. The subtle animated illustrations are sweet.

    The site uses a little more image as type than I expected, but its beautiful none-the-less. I was also hoping to see a nice web entry form, but the PDF is well designed as well.

  8. Brian

    All of your points are really good, though I think some of the small-caps headlines are spaced a bit too wide, like there’s just ordinary spaces between them. You’ll notice them under Categories, on the Competition page, or on the navigation, though it works better there. The spacing forces you to read the letters much slower, each letter one-by-one.

  9. allgiggles1984

    Good and informative. Love it! I love it all!

  10. pat taylor

    Now this is what a great website looks like!

  11. Brock Boyts

    The site is excellent. I have had the chance to meet and speak with the creators, Design Army. They are a top notch design firm. I actually won this competition. Today they called me and revealed my work won the best of show. Sunday they will reveal the winners online. Good review.