The Work: Web Design

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Girl crazy

Any downtown girl worth her Pucci prints knows about - just about the best and cutest shopping spot on the Web. The colorful two-year-old site exudes tons of downtown chic sans models and attitude. Each designer has his or her own "boutique." Founder and CD Laura Eisman knows all about women, fashion and design, having been an AD at the launch of Family Life and Marie Claire as well as spending one year at iVillage as a CD. "I wanted her to be very real, not a stick figure," she says of the Girlshop logo. She's like a Picasso; her face is cockeyed, her hips large, torso short and legs long. More of a typical body type, in that she's not perfect." Eisman's other goal was to make the site as easy to navigate as possible. The graphics are 2-D, since everything at the time she launched was 3-D. "When I went into the Web, everything was very linear and gridlike. I wanted curves, which are also very feminine. The look is retro, but not too trendy." (SK)

Creative Director: Laura Eisman Photography: Emi Muramatsu Illustration: Trisha Kraus

Artificial intelli-gents

Befitting the robotic anonymity of the Kraftwerkers themselves, the official Kraftwerk site offers no biographical info nor any of the conventional fanzine features you'd expect to find on any band's site. Except for T-shirt sales, which is what the unsuspecting surfer is tempted with upon clicking on Klingklang Konsum Produkt - and who can resist such a capitalist come-on? All that's here, once you download the Flash 4 plug-in, of course, are delightful mini audio/video representations of many of the Kraftwerk hits - sort of like .gif animations created by a Teutonic cyborg with a good eye for graphic minimalism. There is one full-fledged Quicktime video, but it pales in comparison to the Flash art, not to mention the T-shirts, which are inhumanly gorgeous. All in all, the site is more fun than playing with a pocket calculator on the Autobahn. (TK)

Explode this

Maybe size really doesn't matter. Wantstil is a shoebox of a store in Montreal, where owner Byron Pert, a former Diesel marketing manager, now sells his own line of ultrahip clothes, as well as a range of Scandinavian design products. What the mini-emporium lacks in floor space, it makes up for in the quality of its clean, airy site. Jean-Maxim Labrecque, a young local architect who says he wants to marry information architecture with physical design, designed Wantstil's home on the Web. Click on a graphical drawing of the store and it turns into an exploded view, with a slideshow of the merchandise flashing next to the corresponding part of the store. Check out those cool backpacks! (RvB)

Web design: Jean-Maxim Labrecque Logo design: John Hatz

We call it maze

It's easy to lose yourself in, a personal Web project by Matt Owens, co-founder of One9ine, the New York-based design firm that both Nike and New York's Museum of Modern Art have enlisted to map out some of their crucial online territory. The 1995 MFA graduate from the Cranbrook Academy of Art established the site in 1997 using graphic design methodology to explore the narrative, communication, and interactive possibilities of the Internet. The site is deceptively well-structured according to the seasons, each of which feature four Web "novelties" that reap the benefits of the latest Macromedia plug-ins. But the sometimes hard-to-find links can easily suck a surfer into Owens' labyrinthine, often poetic post-modern trip through pop culture. Among's finds: a stuffed pink rodent, a leaping bunny-suited man, mini-clips from black and white Westerns and the adventures of Hydra-boy, the half-boy, half-fish hybrid. Who knows, with enough searching, you may even bump into Waldo. (AD)

Design: Matt Owens, One9ine

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