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We previously wrote about the 16 most Innovative websites in Michigan, and this week, we wanted to celebrate at creative web designs where designers tried out something new and exciting. We came up with a diverse group of sites. From the historic era of industry and classic Americana style to modern storytellers, the creativity of Michigan web design did not disappoint!
Here’s a countdown of the 17 most creative sites we could find. These brands were born and bred here in the Great Lake State, some more than 50 years ago.
A Flint, Michigan native, film director and political activist Michael Moore is one of the best known Hollywood personalities to come out of Michigan. His fun professional website pairs a bright accent color palette with clickbait-y menu headings such as “Don’t Click Here” and “Holy Crap” that lead to curated blog and news content. The main feature of the front page are four colorful doors leading to Moore’s personally maintained social profiles. The site is definitely a creative take on the personal–professional website.
Creative doesn’t have to mean complex when it comes to web design. Detroit’s Russell Street Deli went a decidedly quirky direction with their site. It doesn’t quite make sense — until you see the deli’s storefront. Seeing the deli’s facade framed in bright green and yellow paint, this web design starts to make a lot more sense. And it has everything it needs: the specials on the front page, full menu, location, and catering details accessible by the navigation menu, and, of course, a newsletter sign-up and online storefront.
A focal point of Corktown in downtown Detroit, Slows Bar-B-Q takes a straight-forward approach to their site design. A big, bold menu column on the left leaves the site content front and center. For the background imagery, whether of the Corktown location’s red-brick exterior or wood-beamed interior, the site loads a fresh image each time you visit the page, echoing the sense of renewal the restaurant has brought to its location.
If you asked your designer for the very latest in 1930s web design, you might end up with a site like Jiffy Mix. Located in Chelsea, Michigan, the Chelsea Milling Company stayed true to the roots of one of their most enduring baking mix brands. Despite an aesthetic out of the past, the site is well-designed, with detailed illustrations as part of the site navigation menu. I also like the unique design of the Facebook call-to-action button.
- Detroit Fashion Week
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the site for Detroit Fashion Week looks sharp and fashion-forward. Black and white imagery are punctuated by highlights of red. The logo silhouette and tiled slider content of the homepage add a touch of intrigue, while social integration lets visitors view some of the best of DFW’s past design pieces.
Leco is in the business of analytical instrumentation for multiple industries. Likely realizing how difficult it was going to be to explain that in an Internet elevator pitch for the masses, the company looked to a creative, interactive design to help tell its story. The one-of-a-kind header portion on the main page slides across a 3D, panoramic tour of the five industries Leco serves. This design flourish helps acquaint new visitors to the main features of the business, while the more demure content of the site elaborates on the details.
I love the bright use of red in cabinet maker Merillat Industry’s web design. The Adrian, Michigan-based company’s site design is simple, but sharp in all the details. Notice how the contours of the logo’s “M” shape can be found in several different areas of the design. The slider arrow area, red image shading, and grey menu bar ribbon all mimic that same angular shape.
Kelly staffing services was one of the only designs I ran across that has fun with the ever-popular “flat” design aesthetic with its landing page imagery. Don’t let the simplicity here fool you, though. With a need to serve up data records for both prospective workers and business clients, the site needed a good design under the hood, as well. And this design delivers. After choosing a gateway, each constituency gets a clean, dedicated query page to handle its workforce inquiries.
Listed as one of the best Detroit restaurants by Detroit Eater, this site’s what-you-see-is-all-you-need design stands out. No animations or content carousels here. The casual dining restaurant — where you’ll find some of the best sliders in Detroit — keeps things simple with streamlined menu and content blocks and a quirky splash image.
Bob’ Big Boy Restaurants serves up a design that’s a nice marriage of classic branding and modern design. The texture and mascot look right at home with social icons in the header. Large photo content tiles rotate through an assortment of food imagery to show off the brands menu offerings. The red and white color scheme looks fresh and appetizing.
Founded in Ypsilanti in 1960, Domino’s web design is another example of details making the design. The combination of unique container styling, variations on typography, and repetition of graphic illustrations gives a strong cohesiveness to the design and calls attention to page and content focal points.
- National Coney Island
Headquartered in Roseville, Michigan, the National Coney Island chain is the home of Detroit-style Coney Island hot dogs, chili, burgers, and sundae desserts. Like Bob’s Big Boys, the site is a nice combo of modern web design and classic branding. The design’s subway tile backsplash background isn’t something you’ll see often on the web — nor would we want to! — but it’s a great choice here that adds to this classic American diner motif.
The Westborn Market has been a fixture of Detroit for more than 40 years. While the design features retro graphics and typography, the site itself is ready for the 21st century. An updated blog, online shop, and social and newsletter integration round out a fresh site design.
For Carhartt, a creative design meant building a progressive and agile ecommerce site. The resulting design feels more modern and engaging than those of many other large apparel brands. And the gritty yet refined imagery meshes well with a sleek layout and yellow accents to offer a unique shopping experience.
Café con Leche’s web presence is a place where stories abound. From the international meeting of founders Jordi and Melissa to the the brand’s “Coffee Calavera” logo, the site design gives a strong impression of the people and culture behind the coffee house. But the stories continue on the other side of the counter as well. Blog and social integrations feature stories of Café con Leche regulars and social media imagery tagged by customers and fans.
This a great creative website design from a Marshall, Michigan-based brewery. The design takes advantage of great parallax imagery to show off the lifestyle of the brand, from customers to the beer to the brewery crew. There’s quite a lot of content on the main page, from featured beers and merchandise, to video, social, and behind-the-scenes content. The single-page scrolling design helps keep it all organized.
- Ann Arbor Summer Festival
Ann Arbor’s month-long Summer Festival site is definitely my favorite design. The summery accent colors are fantastic, adding a pop to the site while keeping everything cohesive. The concert and community imagery is likewise varied and colorful, yet carefully attuned to the four-color palette of bright colors used throughout the site. Scrolling down, page content is laid out in coordinated tiling blocks. The colors and visuals here give web visitors a strong sense of the event’s experience and energy, while the layout holds everything together.
There’s a lot of creative web design out there. I probably missed a couple amazingly creative Michigan web designs despite a careful search. Did I miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Join us Tuesday April 7th at 2pm EST for a free webinar where we will discuss the fundamental design and conversion principles that will improve your website’s propensity to generate web leads. In addition, we will be conducting live website optimization reviews.