Revamp Demonstrates Flat Trend in Web Design

Fans of the comedy site will notice a significant redesign that rolled out in mid-august. On the revamped site, Funny or Die traded its outdated logo for a sleek alternative and removed categories for a more minimalist look. Funny or Die, which was founded by funnymen Will Ferrell and Adam McKay in 2006, features mostly video content, so the front page has traditionally had a busy combination of words and pictures. Designers took a hammer to’s layer and ended up with a flat design featuring photos more prominently.

The designers at Funny or Die aren’t the first to flatten things out in recent memory. Apple iOS 7 also features a less-textured look, as does the Windows 8 operating system.

The Old

This is the first major redesign since’s inception, largely because the initial layout had exceptional staying power. The categories at the top are clear, and the text-photo preview gives viewers a good idea of what they’ll see. Funny or Die is an entertainment site, so the two-font logo with unique capitalization works, but only for so long. As Funny or Die became more prominent, the logo began to look less and less professional, even for a comedy site.

Old has substantial flaws, however. Unlike a news site that draws a visitor’s attention to the top story. The original site doesn’t have a particular focal point. The video in the top left is featured most prominently, but only slightly. Viewers are confused about where to start. It seems that the designers weren’t able to settle on color and font themes. The “More Videos” and “Pictures & Words” subhead font doesn’t appear anywhere else on the site, not to mention the old-school techie font that makes up “login,” “signup” and “upload” in the top right corner. Two subheads rest on blue three-dimensional platforms, but the rest of the site is two dimensional. All together, the site lacks coherence and polish. These were probably quick design decisions that developers made as they determined which web host to choose, but this comedy platform deserved better. Funny or Die needed an upgrade, and web designers delivered.

The New

As with many Web redesigns, a new logo is the first thing that draws your attention. Funny or Die ditched the disheveled logo for an all-caps block look. Designers condensed the categories into one “Browse” button, a move that promotes the clean look but sacrifices some common-sense practicality. Below the thin top bar is a minimalist layout that would make Frank Stella Proud. Developers moved the video description on top of the preview photos. This opens up plenty of space previously reserved for pictures, and as result, the photo boxes are larger. Funny or Die developers also did away with the lines and colors that cluttered the old layout. Video icons rest on a graphite background. The only shots of color in the body content are the red banners that identify a video as exclusive to FOD. The exclusive videos are the most popular and usually feature celebrities, so designers were wise to retain that identification.

All in all, it looks like graduated college and got its first job. The simple layout stays out of the way of the content, which is why people visit the site in the first place.

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