One of my favorite sites on the web is Blatman Design. Founded by Resa Blatman in 1996, this Sommerville, Massachusetts studio is a unique melding of fine arts and graphic design. I would describe the design of the site and the work as ethereal and sophisticated, yet highly conceptual and effective. Blatman and her husband, Stefan Cooke, run the studio. While she focuses on the design, Cooke does the editing, photography and web design.
The web site immediately intrigues the viewer. It has a very unique style from the home page. It is also very evident that fine art is an influence. The layout evokes a book cover, something that the design studio does a lot of. The colors are bold, but not primary and in contrast to the black, really draw a visitor in. I love the layout of the home page because of its simplicity and ease of navigation. The center panel, where all of the information is always located, could be though of as the spine of the book due to the layout. As you begin to click on the links, Blatman Design unfolds.
The “About the Studio” page is very informative and gives a brief background of the studio. It also lists the education and awards information. The layout still reflects the home page and is consistent in design—this is continued throughout the site. The next link I visited was the “Graphic Design Portfolio” page. Immediately an image comes up. Off to the lower right, I discover five designed rectangles. Each is a link to a different graphic design collection. As a critique to the site, I would say that these need to be better marked, they almost read as part of the fine art. I took some time to scroll through the various collections and pieces, and found them all very interesting. Much of the work is very consistent with the aesthetics of the website. The only section that differs is in the realm of the “Interactive” section. This is probably due to it being more corporate in nature.
Following my foray into their portfolio, it was very nice to find a section entitled “Clients”. This gave me an opportunity to have an overview of the clients I had just run through and see the diversity in their clientele.
The “Fine Art Portfolio” was a wonderful inclusion on the website. It really tied together the look of the graphic design and website. In this section Batman’s true passion can be seen and it gives the site visitor an insight into her inspiration for her design work.
The final section of the website, is the “Contact” section. This is definitely the weakest section of the website. The design is consistent, and this information is all there, but it has a section of personal pictures that you can scroll through and I think that those degrade the design. I have always felt that personal photographs are not included on a professional design website. Since they are not of the studio or the work, they don’t add any value. In fact, I feel as though they degrade the site and its integrity.
Overall, Blatman Design is a very unique and creative website. The layout is different than most portfolio sites and functionally it works very well. With a few minor changes, I think that it could be the best I have seen in this genre of style—the crossover of fine arts and design.