by Rob Ford
Happy New Year, folks, and what a great year it is turning out to be. I wanted to select sites for this installment that are new for 2008 rather than include sites from 2007. It's amazing how 2007 is only a month or two behind us, and yet it already seems so last year.
Here we have a great mix of sites that just launched, as well as a few from late December.
Site by Rareview Interactive
I have to start off 2008 with this site, and if you haven't already guessed, it's a New Year's resolution site. To use the site, just enter your resolution and you are assigned a coach — the coach is the previous person who entered a resolution. You then become a coach yourself when the next user enters a resolution, and so on.
It's a simple idea with great execution and delightful colors. A great way to start 2008.
This site, or journey, for AMC's new series, Breaking Bad, is completely random, so each visit is different. I love this kind of site. It is very explorative, so you never know what is going to happen next. Use your mouse to its full potential so you don't miss anything while you enjoy the excellent interactive 3D sections and the video teasers. By the way, when you see the gun, don't pull the trigger.
Site by AKQA
I'm sure most people have seen and enjoyed the Happiness Factory commercials on TV, and now Coca-Cola has taken that idea a step further. This site is loaded with those cute and cool characters and also boasts a creative preloader that enables you to hit some keys and make the workman dance. Make sure you don't miss the Start Working section; it's packed with very cool games.
Site by mediaBOOM
You can't beat a site that has stunning visuals, so I'm confident you'll love this site for Prospect Denim's Denim Farm. The scene is set, and you get to explore the latest collection of jeans. This is certainly an organic site — you can even watch the jeans grow out of the crops. This site is so beautiful that you'll want to frame it and hang it on your wall.
Site by Achtung!
By pure coincidence, we have back-to-back clothing sites in this column. I'm one of those people who wears a suit only at funerals and weddings, but after seeing this site, I'm tempted to buy a new one. This site shows off the latest collection with full-screen images, some of which have creative treats for those who wait. If you suffer from arachnophobia, like me, you'll get a good scare from one of the images.
Site by Virginie Thorel
Some will question the point of a site like this and wonder how it could be award-worthy. But I don't think we see enough purely experimental sites. Here we have a personal project that randomly mixes imagery and sound in an inspirational way. The mesmerizing and thought-provoking movement certainly stimulates the senses, and the ease of navigating through each phase makes for simple surfing.
Site by (HKI) Hellohikimori
If you haven't experienced a site that uses Papervision3D yet, then you must have been holed up in a Web 2.0 cave somewhere. This site for Le Coq Sportif, which was created for the launch of a new type of fencing for kids, is full-on Papervision3D. You can use your keyboard or mouse to explore the site and enjoy the rotating 3D column, which is loaded with content. This site even gives you a choice about how to enter: Red or Green. And once you make your selection, the site continues with a progressive feel and even sports some upfront music as well.
Site by Scholz & Volkmer
This is a must-see site for more than one reason. It is a video showcase for the film archive of the Okeanos Foundation, and it combines an emotional cinema experience using a flip-book-type navigation. The awe of the site is instantly recognizable as you watch the true jaw-dropping beauty of our seas. Experience the wonder of sea creatures — from the sperm whale to the seahorse. But don't touch your mouse while viewing because that enlarges the viewable video area.
Site by Proximity BBDO Paris
Experience the safety features of Mercedes-Benz on this site that embraces visual effects. This is a perfect example of how the web is changing and merging by using the skills of Hollywood-style special effects and 3D artists. The site plays out as a moving video but also has interactive hot spots so you can get more detail if you wish.
Site by Bleed
Talk about instant impact. This full-screen video site uses the power of moving images to promote a high-end fashion brand from Scandinavia. This is a trip through a mysterious world where you can click the models at any stage to see close-ups of the garments. I love the way this site has incorporated a story to encourage users to explore the product line in full.
I hope you'll agree that this has been a creative first column for 2008. I'm hearing whispers of some even bigger projects coming up this year — some in the first quarter — so stay tuned for more inspiration.
Looking back at this list, we have sites from the USA, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Norway. It's nice to see that creativity and quality websites are not coming from just one country. It's great that the web has been able to bring us all together in what seems like such a small place at times.
Rob Ford founded The FWA Network in May 2000 and since then the network has received over 150 million visits. The FWA Network showcases projects that use cutting edge technology for desktop, mobile and offline, together with showcases for photography as well as video. Rob is also the author of three bestselling books of web and mobile. Check out The FWA Network.