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SURF's UP... web surfing

Web SurfWhat a great time we've had discovering all these rave, hot, cool, shock & awe web sites sent in by readers. Actually there were many more, but these are the ones voted most fun, interesting and beneficial. We will be adding, so stay tuned...


With the country's trend toward voting for the next music idol to the sole survivor, people want a voice, and they have chosen as their favorite restaurant Web site in the recent "Webby" Awards. The site, created by the partnership of Tijuana Flats and PUSH incorporates flash-animated objects like hot sauce bottles, chimichangas, pieces of paper catching on fire, napkins flipping, and a tattooed, screen-clearing arm with quirky descriptions and customized sound effects. WOW. You'll have to poke around to see everything there is to see. But don't get too caught up -- come back here to see more! See:

There are tons of other great sites at the Webby Awards -- but they also have some real dogs. Sometimes you just can't understand why a site wins. Hmmmmmm. (links later)

NEXT The Seventh Sense

Thomas Dorsch pointed us in the direction of 7th Sense Graphics, a design firm in Texas. Our first thought was to run -- having seen hundreds of "designer" sites submitted each month. But obligated we were -- and paid a visit. WOW! 7th Sense Graphics is virtually connected with Freelance Graphic Designers, Copywriters, Multimedia Gurus, High-End Programmers, Photographers, Translators, and Artists and is a visually captivating site in its own right. Folks, this one definitely deserves a look:

NEXT Big Happy Fun House

Then, one of our 'prize' entries pointed us to this little gem. Graphic Designer Betsy Hern writes...
      As a graphic designer/photographer/prepress professional I often get so bogged down in the details that I forget to laugh. Among my duties that have multiplied due to technological advances in the way graphic design prodfessionals work these days, I'm a product photographer and find myself tuning my psyche into how to light the product in the best way possible, how to produce a crisp, clear image - so much so that the joy of my craft often slips into the background. This site never fails to make me laugh - crummy photos of everyone's Aunt Jane or Uncle Harry or Cousin Fred. It reignites my photographic creative juices as it puts a smile on my face. I go there for comic relief when the deadlines get to me. I know that it is not a true "design" site but is worth a look, if only for it's "free pie."
* Betsy, you know how to have a good time, I see! Good choice! We'll put you on our prize winner's list for sure ...

NEXT Chill In The Ville dot com

Britt French sent in this tip for a rather spectacular time investigating the nooks and crannies of this most unusual site... Britt writes:
      Neat intro... interactive site based on a comedy show, great graphics. Naviation is a little confusing at first but essentially you have to click on all of the characters and buildings to navigate through the site. No Spam!, great speed and the content is very amusing. (Will Ferrell, Tom Wilson, Brent Butt, Harland Williams, Dave Allen) See:

NEXT Visual Treat

Kudos to Curtis Mcclain, designer, who came up with the Portfolio for Norma Jean Markus Inc. The site was inspired by Norma Jean's Rorschach-esque logo (2 mirrored image weimaraners) where 3D letters of the each photographer's first name where used in mirror image for the backgrounds. The site employs intuitive navigation trying to limit any traditional "buttons".
* WOW -- superb... we'll give it a TEN... the transistions between artists are simply stunning -- well worth the trip!

NEXT Virtual Body Jam

Well, just when we thought we had seen it all, Lisa Dillon sends us to the Virtual BODYJAM site. Even though it was developed for Les Mills international to help promote one of it's fitness classes -- once you have played the game you might just catch the fever. And, if you register you are able to challenge other people on the dance chart. Get that booty movin'!

NEXT Minimal... just minimal

IN the tradition of the great architects of our times -- minimal is cool.
      Shaun Morris sent in this web-site for an architecture studio in Barcelona, which 'reveals' the work in a playful, thought provoking manner. (Although the page is in Catalan language, the visuals and actions are worth the trip.) The site may be a little 'difficult' to get into, but once you are drawn into the intrigue, your curiosity takes over. Some very nice things happening here...

NEXT Now for something totally different

Well, this is not one of those sites you like to surf every day, but when William McCullough posted this one under our "Novelty: weird, curiosity, unique" category, how could we resist. Are you ready for a site of memorials to the dearly departed? Actually it's kind of a nice idea -- and we couldn't help passing it along. See:

NEXT needs more desktops...

While this is just another portfolio site, it offers some nice visuals and a lot of creative ideas. Too bad the designer ran out of steam and couldn't design a nice desktop for each department. Instead, we're treated to frames. Oh, well. But do enjoy the art -- which is plentiful...

NEXT John & Russell... what a pair

Natalie Dowd, a design professional in Austin, Texas sent along two of her favorite sites -- but we think they are favorites of a lot more people too... Natalie writes: The first url is for Before & After Magazine. Mcwade is always very informative and they do not have any ads in their mag. They are a strictly, no bones about it design mag. The second is Russell Brown who has a great selection of downloadable videos for learning tips and techniques in Photoshop and Illustrator. He is very thorough and witty too! These are my two favorites urls! I work on a Mac G4 & G5 and my favorite software is Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand and Indesign.
* We agree! And Natalie, I'll be sending you a copy of Russell's fabulous book "The Russell Brown Show" ... howz that?

NEXT Graphic design world blogs, sites, magazines and arcives

CAFE listee frequent contributor Brenda Klinger sends this great tip:
      UnBeige is the site I like to surf. Here the user can find a vast display of interesting items pertaining to the graphic design world including blogs, sites of interest, magazines and arcives of all the previous issues discussed. You can get useful info on things like digital retouching or migrating from Quark to InDesign. There are also links to courses being offered around the country for designers. Also the latest news and happenings as well as a "Designers' Corner where you can get answers to all your burning design questions.
Excellent... we liked it too!

Web Surf Keep On Surfin'

We'll be bringing more and more as they trickle in during June. So, stay tuned. Oh, yes -- I forgot -- here's that link to all the fun sites at the Webby Awards .

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