the big noob

the big noob

The Big Noob has been a favorite of mine ever since Ryan, Brad, and Keegan shared a workspace at Neubix and became known as the studio that gave Purevolume its look. The noobs seemed to hit a rough spot earlier in 2007 when the crew split up between VIRB and Firewheel Design, however on May 11th, 2007, The Big Noob returned with a bang.

new paintjob

The Big Noob logo

The same familiar faces and blue/green color scheme held strong, but everything got a fresh coat of paint. The new logotype, now set in Century Schoolbook, made the serif seem cool again. And after so much round candy coated sans-serifs that have choked the web in recent years, I can appreciate the change of pace. Not to say the design hasn’t taken a que or two from Web 2.0 though. A green quote bubble filled with random humorous musings adds a bit of flair to the header.

Type driven sidebar content

The site does a great job when it comes to attacking visual hierarchy. Your eye should have no problem figuring out where the “important” content lives. From the portrait photo on a white backdrop at the top, to the large type driven popular posts in the far right column, you’ll know where to begin.

the important stuff

Detail shot of the post content on The Big Noob

As we reach the actual content, we’re presented with headlines set in Century Schoolbook, and body copy set in Lucida Grande. Light on dark can often times be a tall order, but the noobs have done a nice job handling legibility with a friendly contrast that doesn’t hurt the eye and sufficient leading for your reading pleasure. And a bright green link with light blue border-bottom won’t have you guessing where to click.

Detail of hand drawn illustrations

As you dig a bit deeper, you’ll notice that the details have not been ignored. Look for some nice hand drawn style on individual “solider” pages (did you know that Brad enjoys Ryan Adams?), and the tiny uppercase subheaders set in Georgia. The subheadings do however make up my one complaint. Because of the small size and the higher contrast on the subheadings, they quickly become a strain on the eye. Perhaps just a subtle shift from #fff to #eee?

in conclusion

Overall though, finding design flaws in the site is extremely difficult. And no one can fault the noobs for a lack of personality. Clever quips and witty body copy greet you around every corner. If you have resisted becoming a noob thus far, I’d say it’s time to take a dive and dig the style of The Big Noob.

  1. Kevin Zak

    It’s an interesting site. My first impression is that the bright white background on the image under the header not only distracts me from the logo and the content, but hurts my eyes because of harsh contrast with the dark blue background. I also dislike how the portion about the author is dull until hovered over. It is hardly readable unless you’re hovering and that makes for unnecessary mouse movement if you want to read it.

    I like the color scheme, but the background effect reminds me less of a subtle texture and more of a grainy image saved in a crappy format. It is distracting when reading the content and should either be more defined, or not there at all. I actually dig the advertisements/plugs at the bottom. Being a fan of Threadless, I can appreciate a link to it. My t-shirt collection would be significantly smaller had it not been for a friend who linked me to it.

    Another annoyance resides in the “Popular Posts” column. If each entire section is going to change on a mouseover, the entire thing should be clickable. I really like the format of the titles with the differentiating large capital letters and small capital letters, but making only the title clickable instead of the whole element is a mistake.

    All in all, The Big Noob has some very unique features and was a great site to review. I think the article could’ve delved a little deeper in terms of criticism, though. Plugging a site is nice and all, but if I ran the site, I would be more interested in advice on how to approve. It was a well-written article nonetheless.

  2. elyse holladay

    I absolutely love both their color scheme and their typography - the popular posts are gorgeous. No complaints from me!

  3. ty

    The big noob-doobie huh…
    Sure fits the bill for a typesites review.
    Couldn’t help but notice, they use:
    http://21degrees.com.au/products/symphony/ as a publishing CMS.
    It’s pretty heavy on knowing some XML knowledge, I think.
    I always feel a big whoop about big noob, maybe I’m just not a nerd on a parallel level, and that could be.
    I like the redesign, and it looks like they are kicking out content with a renewed ve·he·mence ;)

  4. Dennis

    Great pic. Always loved this site.

  5. Greg William

    Great article, always lovin’ the nooooooob.

  6. kevadamson

    I’ve always been a big fan of the NOOB lot, they are right at the fore-front of ‘web understanding’ on all levels.

    I’m also proud to say that I own my very own “I’m a noob” t-shirt, and wear it even long after it requires washing (”,)

  7. Brendan Falkowski

    I’m a sucker for wide banner images; always liked the Big Noob site.

  8. Luke

    Yeah, I bought one of their tees too—huge mistake. Everytime I wear it out in public at least one stranger asks me what a “noob” is. Normally this would be a good in for making friends, but to answer their question I have to invariably divulge them in my interests: the web & computers. The conversation always goes downhill after that.

    I’m a huge fan of their headers too.

  9. Simmy

    @Luke - Any conversation I have with people about web and computers that goes downhill is usually the last I’ll have with them. So, in essence, I find the noob shirt to be a wonderful friend filtering device. ;)

  10. Jenaé Plymale

    @Luke, @Simmy,

    I agree with both of you. I, too, of course am in LOVE with my noob t-shirt. Yes, conversations just go painfully stale afterward. However, the day I find somebody who calls my noob shirt out, will be a day of rejoicing and opulent satisfaction. And whoever the person is will instantly become my best friend.

  11. Noob Gamers

    Funny picture :D