A new trend in old website design?

I stumbled upon* an article in the Washington Post about a new trend in web design called “web brutalism.” In a nutshell, the trend can be defined as intentionally making a website look, and work, lousy. Think of the web when it was in the 1990’s and young—garish with color, random with typefaces, and organized nonsensically.

A note to all of our current and future clients: we are not on board with this trend.

It reminds me of the saying, “everything old is new again.” But, does everything really need to come back in style? Certain web technology has and is probably more popular now than ever. Like the lowly animated GIF. This clunky, old media file has found a new life in todays web. It’s ingrained into current social media, shared on devices and collected into gallery websites.


But, intentionally horrible sites that use antiquated code that long ago was abandoned by designers and developers? I cannot find the reason. The trend can’t be applied commercially—it doesn’t connote value and is hardly search friendly. And it really can’t be applied recreationally either—the trend would not adapt to mobile use at all. So, in the end it’s just a niche. And like all niches, only is relevant to a small group who feel the need to run counter to the path of the web in general.

*Speaking of stumbled upon; here’s what StumbledUpon.com looked like in 2001. Talk about brutal!