The Verge contacted me to make some illustrations for one of their articles, with a quite complicated title to display in terms of aesthetics. So I decided that the easier way to depict the abyss was to dive completely into it, so I took the Verge homepage and turned it in a 2000s gossip blog, made quotes using outdated styles and generally made a trashy acid mess of everything.
Crazy Days and Nights is the first website which I used for the Verge homepage mockup, keeping the same blog structure and recreating the imagery, fake ads and logo included.
"One of the most prominent of these sites is the mega-popular, infamous blind-item gossip site Crazy Days and Nights, with its black background, white text, pale green headlines, and a header banner depicting a nighttime Hollywood landscape, crowded on all sides by garish ads. Enty, the blog’s anonymous proprietor, describes his design choices, and the fact that the site exists at all, as an offhand decision that was barely intentional."
"The design feels iconic now, but perhaps only by virtue of the fact that nothing else looks like it anymore. Enty, for his part, did attempt an update at one point. “For about a three-year period, I tried WordPress and used servers and everything that goes with it. I hated it."
"Neon text on black backgrounds. Text that spins and sparkles and bubbles and pops. Paragraphs in which the text changes color two or three or eight times for no reason at all. Obtrusive background images and blinding pop-up ads that follow you around the page. Websites in the late 1990s and mid-‘00s didn’t look like a minimalist office..."
"Perhaps the zenith of this aesthetic was Myspace. Myspace was always yelling. It was hideousness — not merely as a visual aesthetic, but as an overwhelming version of the world. It was like an ugly, forced cheerfulness or a party full of the absolute worst people you’ve ever met that’s a little bit more fun than it should be, but one you’ll regret attending if you stay for more than 30 minutes."
“I think their dated layouts are mostly due to the fact they’re not exactly rolling in cash,” the owner of Laney Gossip says (despite his website enjoys over 1.5 million unique visitors per month). “They do their best with what they have. I don’t think it’s deliberate, but more so practical.” The old designs are ugly, but they still work. Without a bunch of extra cash lying around, there is no reason to invest in fixing the design of something that already does what it’s meant to do."
"Lainey Gossip has undergone several site makeovers since its official founding in 2004, but it still retains the loudly color-clashing logo and bare-bones, basic blogger aesthetic of a previous decade. Perez Hilton has gotten a few visual updates, making the site feel more modern than many of its competitors, but its color scheme is still a screaming rainbow dominated by neon Barbie pink."
(OK, the mockup below is too fast and dithered like shit, but we didn't have the time and resources to make it in html5, so you got it like this, on bad cocaine and cheap development)
"Gossip blogs, with their acidic hearts and mercenary approach to human emotion, seem like an unlikely target for wistful sentiment. And yet, if these sites feel somehow nostalgic, it may be less for their aesthetics and more because so little of the internet remains a low-stakes guilty pleasure that finding one feels like going back in time 10 years".
"It may be inevitable that sites like these wither away as their readership ages. Often, nostalgia is really just expressing that we miss a time when we were younger and had more of our lives ahead of us. But for those of us who grew up with them and have watched the internet age into one big networking event, they still feel like a breath of fresh air."