I have a client looking to do a simple website that tells his story and the story of his work. This inspired me to do some research – how does the best of the best tell their story online? This leads me to a collection of six websites that do this extremely well. While they may mention particulars of the person or product, they focus on the reader and pull him/her through a journey of what the product can help them accomplish or who it can help them to be.
“We don’t sell a car, we sell a dream.” – Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo | Former Chairman, Ferrari
Like any great story, these sites start with a setup, a general overview of the main character, then build out the story through chapters (sections) unveiling specifics as the user reads on. These sites also do a spectacular job with motion design and mixed media, using images, video, and user input to add texture to the narrative.
Pretty much every young boy has a supercar on his wall. Why? Because of who it makes you become (or how it shows who you are). Lifestyle products are just that, lifestyle. The Brits do a bang up job at this – telling the story of the product while emphasizing the story of the lifestyle. Who are you when you drive a Wraith? A noble gentleman who has a pet crocodile. The new Vantage? James Bond with a huge wolf tattoo.
These two sites show stellar design with large high resolution, HTML5 video, and elegant parallax motion. They also show tremendous amounts of soul by being true to their respective brands while displaying their pioneering innovations.
Specific products are the thing nowadays, I think much to the credit of Apple (yes, I’m a fanboy, get over it). So many ‘crafted by technology’ products are at the top today due to innovations in manufacturing and the general population’s caring of how and where things are made. Harry’s and Apple show their new-age might with this style that gives tons of technical detail to the user by telling them the how and why behind these innovations.
Harry’s Closer and the Apple MacBook pages take the user on an epic journey through product design and development. They share the story with intricate product renderings, motion showing product expansion, and audio from real product designers.
Personal stories are sometimes harder to tell than products. People are so much more complex and have many more interests and ability than, say, a 5 blade razor. For this, simplicity and focus is the key… what story is this page or this website trying to tell?
John Malkovich’s use of video and Bear Grylls stellar use of parallax motion set the tone for each of the sites to deliver. From there, each site uses sparse copy and full-width images to focus on the main story of a complex individual. John Malkovich commercial for Squarespace is Genius, funny, and informative – it shows the soul of the main character. That must be why it won an Emmy.
What are some other great story websites? Tell us your favorites in the comments below.