The retro looking domains are a throwback to the days of GeoCities and AltaVista. They were the big webpage companies, years before mobile optimization and beta-tested user interfaces brought a uniformity to modern web design.
So, Who’s Doing It?
Heading over to Arcade Fire’s website for their upcoming album, Everything Now, visitors need to click-through a cluttered webpage of Windows 98-style pop-ups.
Clothing line Balenciaga‘s new website resembles a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with plain black boxes and Arial font.
Solange Knowles’ home page looks like the desktop of a candy-coloured iMac. Even with QuickTime windows and rows of blue folders.
“They’re tipping their hat to the 1990s,” said David Lee, the chief creative officer of a web platform company based in New York. He hinted he has seen a recent uptick in what he calls an “anti-design brutalism.” He said clients are opting for more bare-bones, retro-looking sites. Lee added,
“There’s a lot of animated GIFs and flames, but mixing it with something new.”
French music and art duo Jankenpopp & Zombectro have been working on a neat project. They created a website that resembled the Microsoft operating system – had it been released in 1993. In case you forgot, there was a two-year development delay and Microsoft opted to instead release Windows 95. Windows93.net has had more than 8-million visitors.
Paul Ford is an instructor of interactive design at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He says that the web today can feel disappointing to early adopters. “It’s almost like if your indie band went on to be, not the size of U2, but a $4 trillion industry.”
Paul added, “I think there’s a sense of, ‘How do we get back to that?’”