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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 18:41 GMT
Design of the times
Colour and form
The new website features artwork by Peter Saville
By BBC News Online's Nathalie Knowles

Accessible and clean are the best words to describe the relaunched site from the Design Museum.

Created by the now defunct Deepend group, it is easy to navigate with appealing content and a "less is more" approach to design.

The front page is decorated with a specially commissioned piece of work by graphic designer Peter Saville, and offers the user a choice of a flash or html experience.

This is always a good idea given the download times of some flash pages.

Speed of access need not be a worry here. The flash work is very tight and the movement does not compete with the content but cleverly complements it instead.

On entering the site, a square pop-up window appears. Exploring the site in a window this shape and size takes time to get used to but with the navigation bar at the bottom and in sections with minimal text it really does make sense.

Luis Barragan's Casa Gilardi
Luis Barragan was one of Mexico's most influential architects
The site contains all you need to know about current and future exhibitions, but navigation through the exhibition area needs either simplifying or explaining. Other information is easy to find and accompanying images attractively demonstrate innovative design.

Two new sections move the site on from its original content. Design at the Design Museum currently features 21 key designers, with relevant essays and images. The essays are slightly long for the web but engagingly written.

Should the database of designer information expand and be searchable, then the aim of providing "an indispensable research resource" will be met.

Where the site really comes into its own is with the new Digital Design Museum section. This area aims to highlight the work of some of the world's leading web and interactive designers.

Dalit Singh features in the gallery while Flash wizard Joshua Davies is the subject of the first designer profile.


The digital commission belongs to Graphic designer Peter Saville and the Designers In Conversation section provides valuable insights which help put some of the more obscure work into an understandable perspective.

All in all, the site is very good. But the excellent design is sometimes let down by text better suited to print than the web and the content needs expanding.

However, the website does make the design world accessible and a visit to the museum more likely, which is after all the most important thing.

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