A typical JavaDoc page for example, rather than Hacker News.
When I think of brutalist, I think no frills, and putting the infrastructural elements forward, not covering them up with any surface-level aesthetics. Exposing the infrastructural bones, hiding nothing.
I don't think it's at all obvious what this means for a website. The very very abstract nature of all software makes it perhaps impossible to put the 'concrete' forward (double meaning intended, but primarily here as the opposite of 'abstract'), there's no there there. But I think it's interesting to think about, and the candidates listed there are contenders worth considering.
But there's a link to submit more, you should submit a JavaDoc page, I'm sure they'll list it too.
You appear to be thinking of exposed services of structural expressionism or Bowellism; like the Pompidou in Paris or Lloyd's building in London - they're not brutalism to my mind, far from it.
I'd associate it with exposed structural materials (no veneers out paneling) and a utilitarian aesthetic.
As wikipedia says of brutalism, "There is often an emphasis on graphically expressing in the external elevations and in the whole-site architectural plan the main functions and people-flows of the buildings." Some have called brutalism the "truthful expression" of materials, structure, function.
I think it is interesting to think about how that might apply to web sites, it's not entirely clear to me.
Brutalist buildings don't need to be brutal, here's one of my favorites: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Geisel-L...
Many of the brutalist 70s tower blocks are wretched, but here's one I always liked:
Also, I like some of the brutalist 70s tower blocks too, in the right context (I'm quite fond of Goldfinger's Trellick), but your example seems to have too many ornamental curves to be brutalism (at least as far as that classification is used in the UK).
I dunno, I guess it's "I know it when I see it", and we each know different things when we see them, heh.
.. which is great & I wish more sites had a "thin" version.
I've always associated craiglist and 4chan with the brutalist movement.
There may be some similarities but, really, perhaps we need new terminology to describe these things ?
If we consider the 90s web to be antiquity, and the gradients of the 2000s as the dark ages, then one could make the case that (starting with iOS 7) flat design is neo-classical, and the further movements to use a flat base but play with elements that pop out (https://stripe.com) is our version of baroque.
It's easy to notice these historical similarities, but unfortunately it also makes it easy to assign a style of web design to match a style of architecture, even if there is nothing truly comparable between the two.
Efficient use of resources and fast loading is a entire different subject. Enter the engineer, leave the architect. It is absolutely possible to program any design paradigm to perform fast and efficiently.
"There is often an emphasis on graphically expressing in the external elevations and in the whole-site architectural plan the main functions and people-flows of the buildings."
This might suggest ways to express navigation that are explicit and not hidden
It's austere, as well as an anti-pattern when used exclusively. Despite this, it just plain gets the job done. It has also proven quite sturdy/reliable, even on popular sites like this one.
Here's a challenge for you frontend hackers out there: show me a now standard <ul> based horizontal nav-bar... that also renders horizontally in w3m and lynx.
I think many "frontend hackers" spend their time focused on what can be done and not enough on what should be done. This is a side-effect of our hyperspecialization culture which discourages designers and developers pushing back on each other, out of fear of stepping on each others' expertise. But I think that fear prevents the kind of real collaboration that's required to make a great UI.
This just happens to be the default style. At its core, <ul> is an unordered list. Whether you happen to arrange the items horizontally, vertically, or any other way, is just presentation. Which is precisely why CSS is separate from HTML.
Depends on the job.
Maybe a brutalist HTML page would have the tags embedded, kind of like the WordPerfect codes.
Because you can't compare some to others:
https://context.co.de/ pretty nice, reminds you of man, nice and simple, one could even call it minimalist or whatever...
http://ethanbond.com/ not a bad idea for a simple resume page. it's clean cut.
http://drudgereport.com/ I will never go through that.
http://trendlist.org/ just looks like css is not loading.
http://laurelschwulst.com/ I want to tear my eyes out.
Personally I can't justify more than updating bootstrap every six months or so. I'd rather spend that time on open source or with my family.
I know the behaviour you're referring to as I've seen it before on other sites, but not this one.
I aspire to make something as unusable as the Drudge Report someday.
I guarantee you they would piss off more people than they would please, but nevertheless feel quite self-satisfied.
It dates from a time before it was considered "good design" and "usability" to hide the links from the readers.
Many non-specialists think brutalism is more broadly applicable term than it actually is...
I really enjoyed the aesthetic effect of the exposed pipes and wire conduits.
PS: I'm not sure I would classify these sites as brutalist; perhaps 'utilitarian' or 'functional' would be better descriptors.
But I'm not sure it could ever be fully 'mainstream' since there's enough people (particularly older) that need big buttons and familiar design to browse the web. But for smaller sites that cater to generally younger people, it could take this direction. Only time will tell!
PS: I agree that it really isn't brutalist, but there really should be a better word to describe this sort of aesthetic.
... I began by replacing the image carousels with pictures of William Howard Taft, America's greatest president by volume.
If you go on designernews you'll see small portfolio sites that require a motherfucking loading screen.
I made my little site (albeit not very portfolio oriented) because I could convey what I wanted to in that way, and I hope to encourage others to reassess what they're actually conveying and what they need to do so effectively. Usually not a loading screen.
(I know Nginx can cache things, this is just an example)
All of those sites have been around forever (in Internet time), and they all rake in tons of money, despite their lack of (indeed, willful indifference to) trendy design esthetics.
Someone mentioned drudgereport.com above. That's just plain black text on a white background. It has an Alexa rank of 130.
But many is not all. If they were designed to be beautiful as well as functional, they might well see a bump in transactions.
The reason they don't is either deliberate branding (Drudge, I'd guess) or incompetence (eBay), or because it's not obvious the bump in traffic would be worth the expense and time (Amazon.)
And also history. When you've been around as a brand for a decade or more, you don't need shiny.
But it's really not a good plan for a startup to have an ugly site now unless it's making some kind of ironic retro point about itself.
More people would visit, or people would just buy more when they were already visiting?
I find it amusing that some of the most popular sites are considered bad designs by people who think they have all the answers to web site design (at least, they're getting involved in this season's look), whereas the sites which apparently demonstrate good design are ugly, less pleasant to navigate, and harder to extract information from.
They might also see a drop. Existing users might be confused or upset and leave. The site's performance may suffer. Blind people might hate it. Bugs might surface. Tools might fail.
...except the links include FFFFOUND, Pokey the Penguin, Craigslist, and The Drudge Report - a website almost old enough that it could vote in an American election.
I can't take enough minimalism. I hate complex websites from 10 years ago. I do have a little problem with all the new sites that make you scroll down forever but I'll take that over a site with a hundred graphics on the front page.
Or homepages that tell you nothing at all https://www.optimizely.com
I don't want a wall of text, or the complex design and navigation of 10 years back, but I abhor the tendency to tell you next to nothing, but with bootstrap.
Is there something appealing to building a dystopian building?
My sense of the genre is that it was an attempt to copy Eastern Bloc architecture by architects who were warmly disposed to the Eastern Bloc, and had either disabused themselves or wanted to disabuse us of bourgeois notions of aesthetics and good taste.
IMO, although it has definitely improved over the last 40-50 years, architecture peaked aesthetically circa the turn of the 20th century (Art Nouveau, Gaudí).
I find it clean, non-distracting, 'sterile'- I end up focusing more on the people around me than the buildings towering over me.
And have you seen the late baroque of juvarra?
Now they dis loads of churches that has to follow a pattern for obvious reason, but their works on provate villas are truly amazing especially seen live.
On the other hand I find Brutalism architecture that sits in contrast to wide open fields or a hillside to work very well.
The rebar will only rust if the concrete PH is neutralized. (Cement is pretty strong base.) This neutralization happens when the concrete slowly reacts with oxygen. Typically reinforced concrete has safe lifespan of about 70 years, while unreinforced concrete only reaches its max strength around 90 years. Typically lifespan and hardening are both slowed down if the concrete is sealed from water. (By paint or preferably with some external cladding and some passive ventilation between cladding and concrete.)
Reinforced concrete is shit if you consider only strenght/weight. It's kinda OK if you take into account price. But if you need good fire safety, it's bloody brilliant stuff. So for big buildings, staircases, elevator shafts and underground spaces it's good choice.
Steel has almost same expansion coefficient as concrete. Basalt is significantly lower. So it would probably best suit reinforcing in stable climates or used as relatively short fibers. You would not want hundreds of meters long basalt fiber rope to be pretensioned inside concrete bridge, as the rope might crumble the surrounding concrete at hot weather.
I liked some of those buildings, but I'm not sure why. Probably just the loneliness feeling.
In both there are ego-driven movements that result in useless, showoff designs. Wanna send a message, make a statement or make a mark? Go paint a picture and hang it in an art gallery.
But websites and buildings are something that real people actually use, so fuck off with your -isms. Make websites where content is readable and easy to navigate. Make buildings that are great to live and work in as opposed to those whose mockups look unique and stunning in "Architectural wankery monthly".
> I can't see a consistent trend here
My guess is that's because we're talking about a meta-aesthetic that borders on anti-aesthetic.
Particularly for the last 10 years, design on the web and in software in general has been especially trend driven and strongly aestheticized. And arguably in a way that moved outside of consciously or conscientiously chosen and well into either ostentatiousness or default.
When people become aware of a trend, they also become aware there's an area of creative opportunity that a lot of people aren't working in. The move from high-relief/"lickable"/skeuomorphic design to flat design is an example everyone here knows.
This might be a meta-trend away from strongly aestheticized. Whether or not you can actually have an anti-aesthetic is probably a good philosophical question, but I think as a practical concept.
> Just showed some of these to a generally non-tech-savy friend who said he didn't like them because they looked "too 90s." Personally I love them because they load fast, are easy to read, and don't require a knowledge of a bunch of different frameworks to write.
Like you, I like a lot of simple pages (sometimes I use Lynx for simplicity!).
But as you observed for in your friend, for a general audience, I do think an anti-aesthetic is likely to have an uphill battle; visual communications isn't a science but it's real, and some people make judgments on visuals (and almost everyone is influenced by them).
Also, the HTML versions of RFCs seem to qualify, such as:
And of course the HTML versions of manpages are usually renedered in a minimalist style, too:
But still, it's easy to use. No cruft. No annoying CAPTCHAs and other BS when using via Tor. And I only share ASCII-armored encrypted/signed stuff, anyway. So HTTPS doesn't matter much for me.
Is there a better pastebin that you'd recommend?
I know it's because the fancier counterparts are JS-intensive, but it's still a question worth asking: "Why are we in the time where a nice website should take seconds to load?"
It's always harder to come up with a design that's simultaneously pleasing and feels easy to use, but throwing design out of the window altogether is nothing but a copout. It's the easiest thing to do, but is it a solution, or just an attempt to make some sort of a point?
To me it's the equivalent of shaky camera and black-and-white filming: every film student's act of rebellion against James Cameron and the like ; )
If brutalism is favouring functionality over "design", then they are some of the most popular examples I know of.
(If you're registered, you can disable themes, presumably for that reason.)
I am quite fond on this one in Sydney that was in the news recently:
Somebody chuckled at me at a job interview when I showed this website :(
Are there any (curated) online collections ( besides random searching on archive.org)?
I think we'd describe it more as intentinonal retro-minimalism instead of brutalist, but that's just me.
On the other hand, half of the links on that website are just bad design and have nothing to do with brutalism.
Interestingly, OP's list of sites are largely ones I dislike as well.
F U N
Brutalism means letting a functional concrete building look concrete and functional -- revealing its function and materials in the design.
A brutalist web site should LOOK like a web site, and build its appearance around its function, not some fancy science-fi fantasy.
Here's some text.
Here's an image.
Here's a heading.
Here's a link.
They all do different things, they are all in different places.
By that reckoning a few of the examples are brutalist. Hacker News, craigslist, Daniel Eatock. They are not minimalist, because they do not hide their functional complexity. They reveal the functional complexity in their design.
These are popular, powerful, ugly sites and I'd love to see more of them.
More generally, please don't call names in HN arguments. You've been doing this quite a bit, unfortunately. The site guidelines ask you not to, so please (re-)read them: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.
What we're going for instead is informative conversation:
https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html. If you know more about the historical meaning of brutalism than the rest of us, the thing to do is teach us about it. Heaping condemnation on others' work teaches us nothing—besides which, your comment seems based on the false assumption that terms have no right to change meaning when they migrate from one context to another.
So please post civilly and substantively, or not at all. You needn't look any further for an example than drb311's splendid reply to you.
Am I missing some obvious shortcut to it or is this guy actually good?
It's far from the worst.
The next guy will call it "bauhaus".