2004 Weblog Awards


The contest is over, and commenting is closed.  All hail the Big Winner: Michael Heilemann!  Read the announcement over here.

This contest is a frickin' joke.  Going through the Best Blog Design category I was appalled at how you say "crappy" most of the designs were.  None of the them could hold a candle to Michael and the Bonsai, or Persian for that matter.

It reminds me again that the online community has gone the way of all things, and is a popularity contest now, merit and ability don't even begin to enter into the picture.  Just sad really.

If I were making a list of sites to judge in the area of "Best Overall Design", they would be as follows:

  1. Michael Heilemann (19)
  2. Dunstan Orchard (3)
  3. Cameron Moll (3)
  4. Jon Hicks (5)
  5. Ryan Sims (17)
  6. Shaun Inman (7)
  7. Ryan Keberly (2)
  8. Jeremy Hedley (2)

Jason Santa Maria made a very good point in the comments that in my righteous indignation I had commited the same error as the aforementioned site.  So I have decided to list here a bit of meat as he said for each listee.

Michael Heilemann

I chose Michael for this list due to his fresh use of colour and font face.  His colour palette at the bonsai has always been good, but I think the latest one is inspired, as we have already seen the rise of pink and blue on the net since he launched Freya.  And of course I am a fan of his chosen font face, since you know, I am using it as well.

Dunstan Orchard

Dunstan was a logical choice of course, his design ability is rivaled only by his attention to detail and features.  I also believe he has the most imaginative and well executed header I have ever seen on a weblog.

Cameron Moll

Cameron, Cameron.  Cameron Moll has one of the most interesting, if not busy blogs out there.  I elected to add him to this list, since he was instrumental, for good or ill we cannot tell yet, for ushering in the "Wicked Worn Look" which was a breath of Fresh Air in the blogoshphere after the long reign of rounded corners and drop shadows.

And please notice, I did not credit him as the inventor of the "worn" look, merely that he brought it the attention that would eventually make it a household name.

Jon Hicks

Jon Hicks is a personal favorite of mine.  His Journal is a beautiful experiment in design and content, his latest refresh is daring enough to push the limits of the old adage:

Ve must design for ze 800 x 600 rezolution!  1998 heil!

I could pull in his work for the Mozilla project, or any of the other entries in his portfolio, but I will keep this to the blogs of each designer.

Ryan Sims

My God people, do I really need to post here why someone like Ryan is listed here?  Well if I must, I must.  Ryan Sims has one of the cleanest, crispest designs I have ever lain eyes on.  From his very well placed use of flash, to the wonderful graphic harmony and colour harmony he has created, his blog is second-to-none.

Infinitely readable with a good use of space, I wold prefer a little more but I am a freak about that sort of thing, there is no wonder his layout is one of the most "appropriated" out there on the net.

Shaun Inman

Shaun Inman, the man... the myth.  I chose Inman for many reasons, his innovative use of transparency, and of course the much loved sIFR, not to mention the fact that he is brave enough to continue to design by the old adage:

Ve must design for ze 800 x 600 rezolution!  1998 heil!

Ryan Keberly

Ryan Keberly is the relative unknown of this group I would say, but that is not because his design-foo is weak.  Ryan's site is my new favourite spot on the net; not only does his photography make me weep, but I find his focus on the humanity of the subject so appropriate.

His design is both accessible and usable, simple and direct.  The wonderfully understated design gets out of the way and lets the content shine, which is why his site works so well.

Jeremy Hedley

This is a late nomination from Dr Dave, and I agree a wonderful design.  Excellent content as well.

The wrap-up: Parting words

Jason asked for some meat, some reasons for my choices.  I have given you some, but also freely admit that these are the designers I am impressed by and look to for inspiration, and as such I make no apologies for listing them here.  Feel free to write in a choice in the comments, or via track/pingback, and I might just add them to the list.

Everyone of these sites completely and utterly trounces on those listed in the awards, a few of my selections actually beats them so bad they go home crying to their mommies.  So this is what I propose, lets vote on these sites listed here and the winner will get the:

Non-Stupid 2004 Weblog Awards

So all of you guys vote here in the comments of this post and on Friday I will close voting and declare a winner, I don't know maybe the winner will get something, other than the satisfaction of knowing they can design.  I will see what I can scrape up.  This post has been updated with the prize that will be awarded to the deisgner who is chosen to have the most design-foo.

I have decided to extend voting for a two week period; post about this on your sites, come here and vote, or vote on your site and notify me via a track/pingback I don't care.  Let us reward and congratulate those among us who are our beacons, our muses and our peers.  Voting ends on the 18th of December, winner to be announced on the 20th of December.