As small business web designers and resident Albertans, we’ve spent a ton of time pouring over the best (and definitely the worst) web design examples out there — call it an appreciation of craft. But, during our search for the Good the Bad and the Ugly, we realized that we haven’t gone over our favourite examples. So, today, we’re going to switch gears a little. Instead of casting a wide net, we’re going to reel it back in and take a look at web design in Alberta.
So, grab some ink (hehe) and a pen and get ready to take some notes. These are the Canadian websites that blew us away in 2018.
Shadows of the Academy
Let’s start by saying that we love the idea behind Shadows of the Academy. This interactive card game was created by Alberta Health Services to combat tobacco use in teens. But, unlike most health campaigns, this one is fun!
This website is seriously gorgeous. Let’s start with the front page. The entire aesthetic is dark and mysterious, and the shadows that consume the page as you scroll down is a nice touch. But, the fun really begins once you hover over any image on the page. Each little movement on this website blasts your eyes with fun and engaging little micro-interactions. Each button has small, but significant, animations that leverage heavy immersion. The site itself feels like you’re playing a game.
The story of each character is given life by fantastic content layering that makes the world feel springy and alive. Overall, the website (which is more of a micro-site) feels engaging, interactive, and fun.
What we love about Shadows of the Academy:
- Tons of micro-interactions
- On theme scrolling
- Amazing use of content layering
- Simple, yet effective
- A superb program that we fully support!
Who doesn’t love birds? Sure, they aren’t as cool as marine animals, and they couldn’t hold a candle to the mighty squid. But, as beak-loving animal fanatics, we feel drawn to our feathered friends. So, when we saw BirdNerds.ca was from Alberta, we were enamoured. This is Alberta web design at its finest.
This website lives and breathes colour. Each element feels fresh and new, and there’s a running theme that leverages the colour palette in unique and exciting ways. One of our favourite things about this site is the way that illustrations and still photography blend into one uniform presence.
The typography feels adventurous and bold, and each playful little blurb is completely relevant to the nature of the website. You don’t scroll down on BirdNerds.ca; you scroll south.
If you’ve ever wanted to know where you can spot black-headed grosbeaks, red-naped sapsucker, or even hummingbirds in Alberta, Vincent & Sandra have you covered.
What we love about BirdNerds.ca:
- Great use of colours
- Bold, adventurous font
- It has birds!
- Tons of small details that kick the immersion up a notch
- Playful copywriting perfect for the web
- Did we mention that it had birds…
This is a great example of how to brand a website. As you scroll down each page, your screen will slowly grow into a wild forest, and each scroll over has some playful little micro-interactions that keep the website feeling fresh and, ultimately, human.
One small thing we love about this website is the call-to-action button, which shakes and rattles as your mouse inches towards its big bold brownness. We love it when people get playful with CTAs, especially since that’s the money maker.
Ok! We’ll admit it. The website is great. But, squids are still 100x better than octopuses. Octopus Creative, you may have tentacles, but you don’t have a beak! Plus, squids can glow-in-the-dark. Beat that!
What we love about PevachCorp.ca
- Extremely well branded
- Playful micro-interactions
- Engaging content layering
- Fantastic CTA button
What we don’t love about PevachCorp.ca
- We have to listen to our sister company brag on Facebook
Note: Sure, this isn’t web design from Alberta. But, we’re making an exception — mostly because we’re fangirl/fanboy (ing) over this.
We are beyond excited about Design Canada. First, we recommend that everyone go see this documentary. It’s all about the history of graphic design throughout Canada, and it’s an unbelievable lens to view the history of our great country through.
But, on to the website.
What happens when you blend storytelling, design, and clean, flexible, typographic-heavy elements? DesignCanada.com, that’s what.
Where to start… First, the geometric transitions that bounce you from element to element are superb. Each scroll, click, and input feels like a blast of entertainment, and the UX-first design makes UI navigation super fun. Second, the typography is borderline brainwashing. That strong Helvetica feels that this website brings is a blast-from-the-past. Speaking of, if you haven’t seen Helvetica (the film), it’s another fantastic graphic design film.
Finally, the use of animation and alignment is just, well, ridiculously well done.
We can’t really put this website into words. There’s just too much awesome. Play around with it for yourself. You’ll get lost in its playful wormhole of interactions.
What we love about DesignCanada.com:
- The animations are striking
- The geometry is mesmerizing
- The fonts are nostalgic
- The film is going to be great
- Ok! We love everything about this website
Some Honourable Mentions
We couldn’t fit every site we loved onto this list. There are too many. So, we’re going to give you a list of some other websites that we thought really nailed the “web design Alberta” feel this year.
- Rubgy.ca (Canada’s rugby site redesign)
- TourismeAlberta.ca (actually from 2016, but it holds up)
- Volleyball.ca (another sports example)
These are the web design examples from our home in Alberta that made us sweat this year. In fact, after pouring through the resources to build this list, we think that Alberta is home to some mighty fine designers (*cough* *cough*). If your an Alberta resident or designer and you felt like you know of (or built) a better site, message us on Facebook. We would love to take a look.
If you’re a small business and you’re looking to compete with all of these incredible examples, contact us.