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From the author of

I Am the Lorax, I Speak for the Trees

The graphic designers sense that something is amiss, yet they are largely tongue-tied in their efforts to refute "the violence inherent in the system." Being young, punkish, rebellious youths (all tattooed, shorn, and pierced to the hilt as well), they lash out blindly, saying ill-conceived, inarticulate, unendearing things. Thus, Sr. Neilsen scores even more opportunities to indoctrinate the corporate movers and shakers, while an entire subculture of frustrated designers churns away in obscurity, thrashing their anticapitalistic design statements into the cybervoid.

Until now. The graphic design community is finally getting some poster boys: Kioken's Joshua Davis, VolumeOne's Matt Owens, Juxt Interactive's Todd Purgason, and a host of other thoughtful professionals who are crafting graphic-intensive commercial sites that big clients are finding increasingly hard to resist.

The theorists and writers advocating graphic Web design have been a little slower to emerge (for reasons already belabored). Graphic design doesn't exactly lend itself to a specific list of do's and don'ts. User interface jedi Nathan Shedroff has a wonderfully conceived piece on interface seduction, but it's still mighty abstract. I've come up with my own list of 10 fresh design styles, which I hope is a step toward developing a more articulate Web design vocabulary.

But writers about graphic design will never have as many easily articulatable "principles" as Jacob Neilsen (if they do, beware). Such inarticulatability is inherent to a vocabulary of the aesthetic. Graphic design on the Web is no exception. Still, just because a truth can't be reduced to a sound bite, it nevertheless remains a truth.

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