Dave S commented on my previous post that the agencies [I] listed are all obviously masters of the aesthetic minimal. But [he finds] too frequently that CSS design means boring 3 column layouts with flat background colour, and usually GIFless pages.
I do enjoy minimal design, and I also believe that, for the majority of commercial and otherwise meaningful sites on the Web, that is exactly what is required. But minimal design to me, does not mean no graphics, no Flash, etc. If these elements are seen to add to the experience then great.
As I hinted at in the piece, the box model in CSS does not have to mean a design full of boxes. (Yes I know clagnut is a design full of boxes but…). Boxes are rectangles; rectangles make up a grid; grids are the basis of good graphic design.
Consequently I’m also a big fan of Swiss graphic design. I believe it lends itself very well to the Web, and particularly CSS ways of building. Josef Müller-Brockmann is considered to be the pioneer of Swiss graphic design, and if you look at his poster designs you’ll see that they make incredibly bold visual statements but underneath are often minimal to the extreme. In 1981, Müller-Brockmann published a work explaining the underpinnings to his design work. In was called Grid Systems in Graphic Design and is a design classic is it’s own right. See that word again? Grid. They just work.