The Hottest Trends in Web Design – Intentionally Ugly and Unusable Sites

Web design is an interesting area that is constantly in the process of transformation, but some things are easier to predict than others. For instance, there is the rising trend of making sites that look bad – intentionally. Some examples include Hacker News and the Drudge Report. Here is what is behind this curious trend.

Instead of using intuitive templates that are widely accessible, sites such as Hacker News opt for hand-coded HTML that is inspired by flawed graphics from the 1990s. The ‘movement’ has been called ‘web brutalism,’ and is led by a man named Pascal Deville. Deville is currently employed as the creative director at an ad agency in Switzerland, but in 2014, he was busy developing a site called The purpose of the site was to promote design characterized by a visible lack of effort to make it simple and comfortable to use. It was meant to be a reaction to the optimism and lightness of the prevailing style in today’s design.

Although this seems like a curious thing to do, Deville’s design is becoming increasingly popular. During the first 24 hours since the appearance of his site on Hacker News, it scored over 10,000 visitors, which is an incredibly large number considering the idea behind it. And it couldn’t be said that its popularity is waning – it is still receiving over 100 submissions each day.

When it comes to people who know their way around web design, the opinions vary significantly. Jake Tobin, for instance, the guy behind, says that he actually likes it. He finds brutalism interesting because, unlike other styles, it doesn’t have a predefined set of rules when it comes to aesthetics. Nathaniel Smith, the man who designed, says that he himself made a brutalist site in an effort to show that there is no need for ‘best practices’ for the designers to do some really amazing things.

But since brutalism doesn’t have a fixed set of rules, it is practically impossible to define it. Deville has already started saying that the concept should be redefined. Nevertheless, brutalist websites are experiencing a significant commercial success. Just look at Craigslist.

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