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By: Gary Klingsheim
The Internet has dramatically altered how we humans communicate with each another. Anyone can create a website to host their ideas, creations, or products; however, the flashy web designs of today were subjected to a long, ugly evolution. Amateur web designers experimented with fonts and colors, displaying their hideous design choices for all to witness; here are four of the worst choices ever made by website creators; have you ever committed any of these sins?


Typography snobs are a bit of a laughingstock in some circles, but proper font choice is a subtle but vital part of graphic design. When graphical word processors like Microsoft Office became widely available in the 1990s, the world went crazy for the huge variety of fonts that came as options in the program. Courier New evoked an old typewriter; if you wanted to make things fun, you could always throw in a little Curlz MT. However, these showy fonts are distracting, inauthentic, and very unprofessional; they made the websites look cheap and were difficult to read. And what's the only thing worse than one bad font? Ten bad fonts scattered throughout one web page in a scatterbrained mess. Going font crazy was a clear sign that the website owner had no idea what he or she was doing.

Clashing Colors

When designing a website, even the most basic page, you're certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to design elements. There are hundreds of colors to choose from for the font, the background, the hyperlinks, and many other elements. But we lost count of the number of times a website was completely unreadable because an overexcited webmaster had elected to make the background their favorite shade of bright blue, and chosen a low contrast primary red hue for their text. Worse yet, if they chose to use a different color for every letter of their headings, creating a rainbow effect. Just because you have all the colors of the rainbow at your disposal doesn't mean you need to use each one on your webpage.

While We're On the Subject of Backgrounds...

Everyone has pictures that they love. Using that photo as a tiled background, endlessly repeating across a webpage, is a special level of web design hell. And background sins can be committed on the aural plane as well: looping background music was a horrendous assault on the eardrums of unsuspecting web surfers.

Clip Art? How Original

So you're a web user, struck with a sudden burst of inspiration for a website of your very own. You're seized with the anxiety that if you don't get this idea out on the Internet by the end of the day, it will be too late. So you leap into action: designing the background, choosing fonts, proudly announcing your intentions to sell your products or provide informative content about a beloved topic. You need a few graphics to spice up the page and as luck would have it, your Windows computer is stuffed with clip art to match almost every subject, emotion, or conceptual need. But everyone has seen that clip art thousands of times; it smacks of an amateur rush job, instead of a website with some investment and thought put into it.

It's a relief to know that many of these sins no longer occur on modern websites, although there are still a few DIY sites out there that didn't get the memo on updated web design techniques. When you are ready to explore your own website design, listen to this sage professional advice: take advantage of design templates available from Wordpress, or keep your design choices simple - the KISS principle does apply. Your website visitors will thank you for it.


Gary Klingsheim is the Vice President of Moonrise Media LLC. Together with his design team, Gary is dedicated to providing distinctive web design services for clients from all areas; creating stunning Social Network, Mobile, E-Commerce websites and more. Discover more about the art of web design by reading Gary Klingsheim's articles.
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