Good design is transparent. Same is true with technology; the end user doesn’t care how it works just that it does. Unless you’re a designer or a techie you don’t pay attention to how a site works or it’s design beyond it’s basic aesthetics. Being both I love how the BBC is offering a behind the scenes peek at how they developed their new Global Visual Language 2.0. There is some really good thinking in there that could benefit many, many sites.
The guide really demonstrates their focus on form, function and the interconnected nature of the two. The use of typography as a design element; a grid that’s both vertical and horizontal; strict use of color as an accent; all common place in the print world but often forgotten in online designs.
The BBC is not alone in the brining classic design principles to the web, though some of the more impressive works have been coming from the news industry. I’m referencing the New York Times and Reuters; both have embraced online/interactive design and what can be done with it while keeping true to the rules of design that still matter…but I’ll save that for another post.