Awesome Recent Website Redesigns

It’s always so interesting when you go to a website you’ve been visiting for months or years to find they’ve been redesigned.

Some redesigns are immediately evocative of the old design, and can even leave you wondering if they have, in fact, been redesigned, or just done a little revamping. Others are so complete you have to double-check and make sure you’ve landed on the right website.

Remember that keeping some elements consistent from your old design to your new one can aid visitors in knowing they’ve arrived at the right place. Otherwise, they might assume your company has been bought out or closed and the domain has been taken over by someone else.

Below are thirteen awesome redesigns from the past year or so… Each one also has some in-depth analysis of what’s been changed and what hasn’t, and the effect that they may have on the site’s visitors.

 

Google

Google has rarely made design changes to their website (with the exception of their iGoogle personalized home page). But this month they’ve given users the option to use a custom background image.

Users can choose from a variety of images, including their own Picasa images. Another big change with this new design is the logo: it now appears in white rather than the multi-color version we’re all so familiar with.

Google has kept everything else about the page pretty much the same, though. The links across the top are the same, the layout is identical (other than the “Change background image” link in the bottom left), and the language used on the page is unchanged. This gives visitors a sense of continuity with the new background designs.

One question begs to be asked, though: is the new Google background image option a response to the design of Microsoft’s Bing search engine (which uses scenic background images, similar to the one shown in Google’s new design)?

 

N.Design Studio

N.Design Studio has always had incredibly artistic, eye-catching designs for their website and blog. The multi-colored phoenix in their last design has been featured in countless web design posts and design galleries. And no wonder: it’s beautiful. But it seems like everyone has seen it at least a dozen times, whether they frequent the N.Design site or not.

So Nick La made some updates, this time with an illustrated Koi fish and textured background. Even the logo is different.

For a design site, this kind of massive redesign can work well, showing off a designer’s evolution and new talents. With non-design websites, though, keeping at least some elements similar or identical keeps returning visitors from wondering whether they’ve landed on the wrong site (or wondering if the site  they’ve come to trust has been bought out or replaced by someone else).

 

Veerle’s Blog 3.0

Veerle’s Blog has undergone a massive redesign, with a new color scheme, typography and layout.

The new design is softer and a bit more elegant than the old design. Especially interesting is the new categorization of posts: Graphic & Web Design, Modern Home Design, and Belgian Graphic Design. The old design had a lot more categories, along with a more cluttered look.

The illustration in the header is different from one design to the next, but if you look closely you’ll see it’s the same woman, just with an updated haircut. This lends consistency between the new version and the old one, while still allowing for a complete aesthetic overhaul. Both designs also used a lot of bright accent colors, though in different ways.

 

DelCastillo

DelCastillo went from a traditional website design to a magazine-style format, with different posts having entirely different designs.

This is one of the most extreme redesigns on this list, and each post almost acts as a new design in itself. Another interesting feature of the new design is that the most recent post’s design also serves as the home page design, something not often seen with this type of blog.

The typography between the old blog and the new one is similar, with the main header only changing slightly other than the increase in size. Overall, it’s a very comprehensive redesign, with the new site bearing little resemblance to the old one.

 

Light CMS

LightCMS’s new website has a much cleaner, more minimalist design than their previous site, which used a textured background, hand-drawn elements, and lots of icons. The new design has a clean white background, minimal icons, and a much more streamlined design.

The header layout remains similar between the two designs, though the rest of the navigation elements have been updated.

The logo is also the same, though the proportion of the circle to the type has changed slightly and they’ve gotten rid of the drop shadow (all of which have strengthened the site’s branding). Overall, the new design gives the impression of a much more sophisticated and established company.

 

BrightKite

BrightKite’s website has undergone a really fantastic redesign. They’ve kept a lot of the same elements while also giving it an entirely new look. Things they kept include the color scheme, the cartoon characters, and their logo.

The overall layout has changed significantly, though. They’ve also gotten rid of the heavy, dark blue background in favor of a much lighter version.

The cartoon characters in the new version are much better integrated into the overall design, as is the Facebook Connect icon. They’ve also taken up space on the home page with testimonials, something that was missing in the first design.

And they’ve added a link to their Android app in addition to the iPhone app. It’s a much cleaner, more polished looking design than the original.

 

Sushi and Robots

Sushi and Robots has one of the more subtle redesigns on this list. They’ve kept their typography almost identical, which lends consistency between the designs.

The new design has dropped the white background in favor of a paper texture with a subtle grid. The robot and girl illustration has also been replaced with a changing featured illustration.

The design has also been changed over from a two-column design to a grid design, with content areas of varying sizes. The dark footer also adds a bit more contrast to the new design.

The navigation options in the header have been changed slightly, too, and streamlined quite a bit. The biggest improvement though, is definitely in the grid design, especially when combined with that subtle background.

 

31Three

31Three made drastic changes to their layout, but kept a number of design elements constant between the old version and the new one.

The logo has been tweaked a bit, with a condensed version of the same typeface, which is repeated throughout the design. He also kept butterflies as a constant element between the two, though the newer design uses them in a different way. The new home page is also much more scannable than the old one, and has a lighter feel to it.

The color scheme has been adjusted, but is very similar between the two designs (the new one is a bit more muted). The new design seems infinitely more polished than the old one, though, which is accentuated by the glass bottle and the circular graphics.

 

Carbonmade

The new Carbonmade site is quite a bit different from the old one. They’ve updated their logo to a more detailed version, though the basic idea stays the same. They’ve also gotten rid of the heavy black content area on their home page in favor of a more inviting and relaxing illustrated mountain.

The mountain becomes the focal point of the home page, helping to illustrate the information they offer.

They’ve also added a number of other illustrated characters to highlight important parts of the site (like the “Sign-up” button). The light blue color has been carried over from the original design to the new one, which reassures visitors that they’re on the correct site.

They’ve also de-emphasized the “demo” button in favor of making the “Sign-up” button much more prominent.

 

Buffalo

The new Buffalo website is a huge improvement over the old one (which was already a great design). The addition of the green bar across the top, as well as more green used throughout the typography in the design has given it a much more modern and inviting feeling than the original had.

The new design is still based on a grid, but they’ve changed it up a bit, varying the size of the content areas, which gives it a much more relaxed feeling.

The reduced size of the navigation links in the header also opens things up substantially. The images used at the bottom, which talk about water buffalo, only add even more to the kicked-back style of Buffalo.

 

Larva Labs

Larva Labs has used the same background image in their new design as they did in the old one, but has repositioned it to give it a more central role in the design.

They’ve also updated their logo into something much more modern, and have better compartmentalized their content for a more organized and polished look.

Adding more formal navigation links at the top have also added to the professionalism of the site. The color scheme has stayed very similar, though, and combined with the same background image, there’s no mistaking that they’re the same company from one design to the next.

 

Olliekav.com

Ollie Kavanagh’s site has undergone a substantial facelift. The old design was grungy and dark, while the new design is streamlined and light.

One of the coolest things is that he’s kept a link to the old design for those who preferred it. What you can’t see here is that each page on the new design uses a different background color, though the rest of the design remains the same.

Almost everything about the site has been overhauled, with cleaner typography, fewer images, and even the logo. The logo in particular is of interest, as he’s taken the cleaner, graffiti-inspired logo from the grunge design (which was arguably the cleanest part of the old design) and morphed it into a slightly different shape with a more traditional dripping graffiti look, which contrasts nicely with the simplicity of the rest of the design.

 

The Design Cubicle

The first thing that strikes you about the new Design Cubicle design is that it’s a lot brighter and has a lot fewer elements than the old design.

The original Design Cubicle site had a three-column design, and each column was filled to the hilt with content. While it was laid out well and managed to stay relatively uncluttered looking, it could be a bit overwhelming.

The new design, on the other hand, has much cleaner lines and has dropped most of the content in the sidebars. Now, there’s just the comment information for each post in the left-hand sidebar, and the right-hand one just has links to the archives.

The center column has an aesthetically-pleasing gray background, which makes for excellent readability. Overall, it’s one of the nicest redesigns on this list, and will almost certainly continue to look fresh for years to come.


Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.

If you’ve seen any other great redesigns in recent months, please let us know in the comments below…

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  • http://www.squiders.com Web Design Kent

    I love the DelCastillo change but agree that a lot of sites evolve gradually nad for my money that the best approach

    • Danica

      Great Collection. larvalabs.com & carbonmade.com looks amazing..

    • http://www.clickwebdesign.com.au Chris – ClickWebDesign

      Websites are living things that need updating so the gradual evolution is esential. But there comes a time when the design is no longer able to communicate the right message and a website redesign is needed.

  • http://www.ozdtasarim.com fireRoxy

    great collection. thanks for the post.

  • http://deliciousroom.com/ Yaro

    I don’t agree with you on the first “redesign” (Google)… it sucks, anyone could make it 100 times better (me included).

  • http://victorsosea.com/category/blog Design Minimalist

    Wow. Inspiring selection and brilliant done redesigns. Thanks.

  • http://tookangweb.com Tookangweb

    this is very great, thanks for share

  • http://kkoepke.de Kai

    great collection. thanks for the inspiration…

  • http://joelvardy.com/ Joel Vardy

    Great re-designs here, very inspiring!

    My favourites are:
    – Veerle’s Blog
    – Light CMS

    ‘The Design Cubicle’ looks a lot better since it’s re-design too!

  • pesho

    Thanks 4 sharing
    i love N.Design Studio

  • http://www.osvaldas.info Osvaldas

    Looks like Buffalo missed the mark.

  • http://www.adixel.fr Adixel

    Nice post. Thanks for the great collection

  • http://www.logobliss.com Logo Bliss

    Sushi and Robots is a lovely design. Nice inspirational collection.

  • http://descience.yolasite.com/ bala s murali

    Almost many redesigns based on “Retro style”.

  • http://jumbo-designs.com Erjon Mehmeti

    The 31three first website looks very similar to mozilla’s website.

  • http://logoraman.com Sreeraman M.G

    The link to N.Design studio site is wrongly given as http://ndesignstudio.com..the correct link is http://www.ndesign-studio.com/

    • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com Walter

      Thanks for letting us know. We’ve corrected it.

  • http://www.builtbybuffalo.com Dan Griffiths

    Thanks for mentioning us glad you like it! Some great designs here…nice list.

  • http://www.jordanwalker.net Jordan Walker

    All of those have been very well redone, each maintains the brand.

  • http://5to8design.net Chris Fernandez

    Really terrific stuff mate.

    Very cool to see the evolutions of these different sites, both extreme & subtle. It is so encouraging to see how the industry and our peers have come a long way in the last decade. Looking forward to more.

  • http://www.bizcacha.com Eduardo

    Not sure the timings but Joyent redesigned the site
    Before: http://twitpic.com/1zipoy
    After: http://twitpic.com/1zipy3

  • seeTooMuch

    emm anyone else sees a penis in that N.Design Studio’s red one eyed monster/fish/thing-a-ma-jiggy top right?

  • http://www.brunopeitl.com Bruno Peitl

    In my opinion, most of that was really better in their previous version.

  • http://www.michaelsaathoff.com Michael Saathoff

    great group of redesigned sites, i always love going to a site that i visit frequently and seeing that it got an overhaul without notice! great post!

  • http://www.inspiredology.com Andrew

    Great post! Redesigns are never easy, we are working on our redesign right now, hope to launch in the next couple weeks, take some ‘before’ screenshots now people, the new one is going to be awesome!

  • vnikey

    Wow the new Design Cubicle is pretty good :D

  • http://www.houghtonlaird.com Barbara

    Great list. I love the Design Cubicle change.

  • http://www.mediacake.net Dan

    some interesting redesigns, nice to see them both together!

  • http://www.venturetothetop.com Dee

    I don’t agree that i like the design cubicle more, however it is a good collection. Some like larva labs are only a gradual improvement but it looks so much sharper.

    I went for a more radical change on my blog, I have increased rss subscribers almost daily, however it has made commenting a more rare event. Interesting to know what effects these design changes bring with them.

  • http://www.webdevtuts.net Marcell Purham | Webdevtuts

    Wow Google looks very similar to someone!!! Talking about inspiration lol. Great post I love seeing redesigns of websites :)

  • http://www.pscyhed.be/wordpress Darkened Soul

    wish I had the time for redesigning a whole lot of sites… it’s a never ending story ;) like a painting that never dries…

  • http://www.matthewdickensshow.com Matthew Dickens

    Thanks for the article. I like some of the designs better before they were changed.

  • kots

    Just my opinion, but I think most of these redesigns look worse than before. Nothing “awesome” about most of these. Maybe 1 or 2.

    Imo I think the cartoony/vector trend is making the web look like a big coloring book for morons. Can’t wait til its over..

    • http://www.austraweb.com.au/ Ginni the Web Designer

      my word :) … del castillo for instance

  • http://mykefx.co.cc Web Design Davao

    Great collection but I like some of them in their previous version.

  • http://wpevolved.com Dan @ wpevolved

    All of these redesigns turned out beautiful. Most of the featured sites were so well designed in the first place, but I guess that shows there is ALWAYS room for improvement!

  • http://knowledgecity.com Jae Xavier

    its nice to see progress take place with high traffic websites.

  • http://Webfirm.com Rose

    Awesome sites!

  • Mark A.

    WD, could you include a ToC with your longer articles? This article, like many on this website, is quite long with a lot of headings and it would make it easier/quicker to read if it had a navigable ToC. I know that most similar websites make the same omission, but maybe you could set a trend.

  • http://www.bebop-cafe.com BebopDesigner

    Wow! these are absolutely amazing

  • http://www.dougbowski.co.uk Dougbowski

    It’s a nice collection, although I’d question the use of ‘recent’ in the post title. The nDesign studio redesign was done as far back as at least January as he covered the process in his blog just after Christmas!!

  • http://barbaroni.wordpress.com Barbaroni

    Great post as allways.
    I don’t like DelCastillo’s redesign… It’s new, cool, but the old site was cooler :)

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk/ Jarkko Sibenberg

    My favorites are probably 31Three and Carbonmade. DelCastillo has an interesting approach, but it just looks quite messy at the moment. It’s still an improvement though.

    Olliekav’s design looks alright but I feel it needs a bit of color on the front page. Now you have to scroll down for it. A tiny colorful detail would bring the site more to life.

    I’m not sure about some of the sites in the list, whether they succeeded in their redesign or not. I guess none of them failed too miserably at least.

  • http://www.webdesignkc.co.uk/ Vim

    Nice re-designs, really like the redesign for Veerles blog, it has a personal touch to the site.

  • http://www.austraweb.com.au/ Web Design Mudgee

    I think some of these were a step backwards. Ndesign, Olliekav – strange, like being back into the early 2000s aka spilled tea leaves :)

  • http://www.dsm-design.co.uk/ DSM Design

    Really great collection of sites! Thanks for posting! :)

  • http://sequence.co.uk Ollie

    New sequence site went live today!

    sequence.co.uk

  • http://vizin.info miki

    I Think the new “Larva Labs” website is perfect example for quality and professional realigned website. The younger designers can learn allot about “How to Realign and Redesign a website in proper way”.

  • http://www.designfacet.com Behzad

    Nice designs, everything is getting bolder and bigger, However there are many users that still use lower screen resolutions and things can become extremely large on their monitors. I run 1680 resolution and already I have to navigate a lot due to larger icons and graphics on certain sites.

  • http://www.webdesign-er.com Webdesign-er

    Great examples of redesigns! Why did n.design a redesign? In my opinion, both designs in this post are great.

  • http://www.mojowebdesignbrisbane.com.au/ Richard Ball

    what has Google done!! they have truly sold their soul to Bing on this re-design. what i loved about Google was that it was and has been so simple for so many years; put in what you want and get what you need, no more.

    Bing is the new challenge to Google, which i’m sure they can handle but for the people that knows who they are will all know that is wasn’t Google that put in place the use of the interesting, and effective backgrounds first but was, the newly arrived challenge to Google, Bing

  • http://www.tylertermini.com Tyler

    A lot of these I’ve seen before, but never taken note. Now I can put a name with the memory, thanks WDD!

  • http://kursdesign.com heryien

    Some are awesome, but some are not.
    But my Favorite is N-Design.com That’s the best. :)

  • http://www.benstokesmarketing.co.uk Ben Stokes

    Some nice re-designs there – Nice to see Google are still keeping to there original drawing board of keep it simple.

  • http://www.logodesignguru.com/ Logo Designs

    great work selection

  • http://joelacevedo.com Joel Acevedo

    My portfolio is in magazine-style format. I designed it years ago, but it wasn’t like a year ago that I decided to publish it. Because I’m an “unknown” UI Designer and my content has not been updated in months, I never get any props or comments… and never has being showcased in any website.

    But except for Google, I think these are great examples. I think Google is trying to look more like BING.com. I think it is a mistake by Google.

  • http://xsenenx.multiply.com Senen Jr

    awesome redesigns, although Google could have made it much better.

  • http://brettjankord.com Brett

    One of the things that stands out to me the most in all of these redesigns is they are all utilizing more white space. Content hierarchy seems to be better in these redesigns too. Grid systems are used well but not blatantly obvious in all. I like some of the designs that use a more organic grid system. All of these are great redesigns though.

  • http://www.vectelligence.com Ilie Ciorba

    Everyone got an over-sized header! I generally like most of the redesigns, but I also like the old versions, I won’t redesign many of them.

  • http://www.joska-potin.com joska

    Great post
    I’m a big fan of new Design Cubicle design.
    He did a great job. It’s a great inspiration for me.

  • http://www.hostpipe.co.uk Website Design Gloucestershire

    Wow, there are some genuinely truly great creatives out there, some fantastic re-designs! Some of the original designs weren’t exactly terrible in the first place though!!

    Regards

    Rob

  • Andrioos

    I love Larva Labs’s redesign its clear and professional.

  • http://webdesignsmarts.blogspot.com/ Web Design Smarts

    Great job on the comparison listing. Fascinating to see the before and after.

  • http://www.thesketch.de/ webdesign bremen

    really really great collection of creative stuff.
    good work great job!
    stay creative and greetings from bremen

  • http://www.infoasistencia.com Diseñador Web Toledo

    thanks…. greath collection

  • http://p163.sg Angelee

    very inspiring designs.. SIP, this is your chance..

  • jhong castle

    this site is cool… it gives u inspiring thoughts on what to do with ur own work… thanks guys

  • CurtBennett

    I have to agree with the folks that like most of the originals better than the redesigns.

    I think Light CMS looks slightly better and Larva Labs looks pretty cool either way, but the rest either aren’t worth mentioning or took a nosedive.

    In particular, I think N.Design Studio went too far to the artsy side, Olliekav took out almost everything that made the original site cool, and Veerle’s Blog and The Design Cubicle look like $50 and $25 TemplateMonster designs.

    Plus, Google’s decision to allow a user-selected background isn’t even really a redesign.

  • http://www.serprisedesign.co.uk Kevin

    Some great redesigns there. Even sone of the old designs are great! Thanks.

  • http://www.cofamedia.com Edwin

    We recently launched our new site COFA MEDIA. I hope you like it, since the CSS galleries seems to like us. http://www.cofamedia.com
    best,
    Edwin

  • http://www.stuffLobby.com/ Asif

    great redesigns

  • http://www.logodesignmaestro.com logo design

    Nice design work and its look good. Completely awesome!!

  • http://thinkontheclock.com Matt

    Great post and idea! Thanks for sharing.