Subscribe -- FREE!
Shel Horowitz's monthly Clean and Green Newsletter
Receive these exciting bonuses: Seven Tips to Gain Marketing Traction as a Green Guerrilla plus Seven Weeks to a Greener Business
( Privacy Policy )

Learn From Frank Lloyd Wright: For Gallery Web Sites, Simplicity is Key

"In a gallery Web site there should be nothing to detract from the focus on the art...”

When was the last time you went to an art museum? Living close to New York City, I have several museums readily accessible. The Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are among my favorites.

Many museums are works of art in themselves. The New York Guggenheim Museum, designed in the late 1940s by Frank Lloyd Wright, somewhat resembles an inverted ziggurat or winding pyramid. Hilla Rebay, the art advisor to Solomon R. Guggenheim at the time of construction, wrote Wright that she wanted “a temple of spirit, a monument” to house the Guggenheim collection. She required that he be “a lover of space.” Contained in this statement is a lesson for all of us.

Professional Web designers are just like any other artist. We take pride in our work. We like to give our clients the best appearance possible. Sometimes we may go overboard trying to announce our creative abilities loudly by cluttering our projects with unnecessary graphics and animations. Consider a lesson from Frank Lloyd Wright. While his museum is beautiful in appearance, he did not overcomplicate the interior. Paintings are not hanging on psychedelic walls. Once inside, the focus is on the art, not the building.

If you are designing a gallery Web site (a Web site featuring someone’s artwork), you must be "a lover of space." The art should be presented proportionally; with dimensions large enough to be easily viewed, but not so large that a person utilizing an 800 x 600 screen resolution has to scroll to see the entire thing. Accompanying text should be kept to a minimum. The background should never be textured. Solid colors are best. Some artists may prefer an off-white background. Others may prefer darker, muted colors such as taupe or sage green.

Tony Ricci, abstract artist from the Hamptons region of Long Island, NY, recently launched his online gallery (http://www.RicciArt.com). "In a gallery Web site there should be nothing to detract from the focus on the art,” says Ricci. "Muted colors do not offend the presented work. The Web designer has to fight against being clever. So many art Web sites have too many gimmicky things going on - and that's only going to annoy people. Access to art should be quick and easy."

While frames may not be popular in Web design these days, they can be beneficial in simple environments. RicciArt.com utilizes a simple frames structure. A series of works is represented by thumbnail images in a 1 1/2 inch wide scrolling navigation bar on the right side of the browser window. The rest of the window is dedicated to art display. A typical art image is approximately five inches wide and is surrounded by several inches of off-white background. The result? Viewers leave thinking about the art, not the Web site, having enjoyed the experience.

Frank Lloyd Wright said of his design for the Guggenheim Museum, “It was to make the building and the paintings an uninterrupted, beautiful symphony such as never existed in the World of Art before.” May Web designers remember this goal when designing gallery Web sites. The resulting experience is well worth it.

Jake Gorst is President of Exploded View, a new media advertising and design. Gorst heads development of information architecture and graphical concepts for new media Web sites, print and multimedia projects. He also is a frequent contributor to various publications on topics related to art, music, and Web site design psychology and trends.


Share this article/site with a Friend
Share/Bookmark


  
Bookmark Us




Many of the 1,000+ articles on Frugal Fun and Frugal Marketing have been gathered into magazines. If you'd like to read more great content on these topics, please click on the name of the magazine you'd like to visit.

Ethics Articles - Down to Business Magazine - Frugal & Fashionable Living Magazine
Global Travel Review - Global Arts Review - Peace & Politics Magazine
Frugal Marketing Tips - Frugal Fun Tips - Positive Power of Principled Profit

Clean and Green Marketing

Our Privacy Policy


Disclosures of Material Connections:
  • Some of the links on our site and items in our newsletters are sponsored ads or affiliate links. This financial support allows us to bring you the consistent high quality of information and constant flow of new content. Please thank our advertisers if you do business with them.
  • As is the case for most professional reviewers, many of the books I review on this site have been provided by the publisher or author, at no cost to me. I've also reviewed books that I bought, because they were worthy of your time. And I've also received dozens of review copies at no charge that do not get reviewed, either because they are not worthy or because they don't meet the subject criteria for this column, or simply because I haven't gotten around to them yet, since I only review one book per month. I have far more books in my office than I will ever read, and the receipt of a free book does not affect my review.

Site copyright © 1996-2011 by Shel Horowitz