We've come a long way in the past 10 years since we launched the LIBD site… It was right around this time in particular, 2010/11, that the digital sphere went through a rapid growth spurt, testing everyone’s ability to adapt!
Partly because we are about to enter another new decade, and partly because we are (still) going through the archive of our work to finally update our site, we’ve been thinking a lot about how web design has evolved over the past decade.Flash
One cannot think back about the good old days without thinking about Adobe Flash right? In the ‘00s, it was The Technology that allowed developers to incorporate animation and interactive content to sites.
In early 2010, MOTHandRUST launched our last Flash site. Shortly before that, all designers at the branding agency I was working at were enrolled on a rather lengthy Flash course. No one wanted to see that its demise was coming. But in April 2010, Steve Jobs wrote his “Thoughts on Flash,” a moment many have defined as “The Death of Flash.” Suddenly it was on the way out and everyone had to (sooner or later) accept this and adapt.
The LIBD site used interactive HTML5 Canvas animations that were just as sophisticated as Flash, but these could be viewed without having to install it (a major downside of Flash). This meant that it worked across most devices, even mobile. Of course today, everything can work pretty seamlessly across all devices, but this was quite amazing at the time. Responsiveness
Just over a decade ago, Nokia’s Symbian and RIM’s Blackberry were ranked as the top 2 mobile operating systems at the time. Things changed quickly, so by about 2010/11Android and iOS were quickly taking the lead. The iPhone was first unveiled in 2007, and its Android competitors showed up in 2010. Apple released the iPad in 2010.
With the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets, everyone had to adapt yet again, this time to designing for various screen sizes and devices: enter responsive web design. Today, the thought of a site not adapting to work on a tablet or mobile is unthinkable, but this was just not really done much before about 2010/11.
The LIBD site was responsive, which really made it stand out at the time. In fact, it did not only resize to tablets, but if you used it on a tablet and you tilted the tablet up and down, or left and right, you would move around the animation accordingly. Pretty cool!Design
One of the decade’s biggest graphic design trends, flat design, was born out of a need to make digital apps clean and accessible. It was developed to ensure that responsive designs work well and load fast (especially important since mobile devices have slower internet speeds). Designers had to adapt their work for easy readability and sparse interfaces. Nowadays, it’s hard not to open a web page (or a brochure or a magazine) without being greeted by flat design (flat colors, minimal vectors and geometric sans serif fonts, etc).
As you can see in the image above, the LIBD site also used flat design. For example, all buttons are large, solid bright colours. Again, today this is not unusual, but in 2010/11 3D buttons where still not that unusual.Onwards
By the middle of the decade, websites were moving away from being The Way to engage audiences, and were becoming more like informational portals. We began to see a rise in single page scrolling websites, and a rise in more and more cookie cutter sites. Even today, it seems sites are still becoming purely informational and less experiential. Cookie cutter sites are more prevalent than ever, due in part to availability of off-the-shelf design templates.
But really, the internet is still young and it definitely still has so much potential. This is still the beginning. We love the internet. We keep seeing amazing developments for those who are able to resist the cookie cutter approach. Just as websites never did completely kill print, such things as Instagram and AR haven’t completely killed websites—they simply exist alongside them. We have so many ways to communicate now, often it is more a matter choosing many ways, not one, depending on the audience. We look forward to doing what we always have done, focusing on the result, not the medium used.The link to the LIBD site is still live
, at least until our upcoming site update.