Summer 2007

KesselsKramer

‘The online shrine
to crap design’

The site for this Dutch design and advertising agency is designed in-house, and employees are encouraged to contribute new ‘homepages’, which are revealed at random by hitting the refresh button.

Initiated in 2002 by KesselsKramer art director Krista Rozema. Technical expertise: Artmiks.

John O’Reilly: The hanger logo? A hanger site? Ah, KesselsKramer on off-the-peg design. Erik Kessels has already carved out a niche in found photography and his agency appears to be doing something similar in website design. It’s not poking fun, it’s not patronising. What KesselsKramer does is see what happens when ‘signs’ (images / design) float off from their original communication purpose, unmoored from wider historical context, from specific creative intention. It’s a philosophy of gesture, the Andy Warhol of the post-aesthetic age.

Adrian Shaughnessy: KesselsKramer is a genuinely smart and iconoclastic ad agency. Other agencies talk about radicalism in advertising; KK does it. Its website is a typically iconoclastic gesture, a suite of parody sites, each more gruesome than the previous, an online shrine to bad Web design.

But, like all repetitive jokes, it grates after a while. The grin on your face starts to hurt as you navigate from unspeakable site to unspeakable site, and there’s only so much centred 12pt Times set on a deep space or marble background that you can take. The parody is brilliantly executed, but not as funny as the sites they mimic. Just google ‘alien abductions’ to see what I mean.

Brendan Dawes: This takes the aesthetic of crap Web design to a whole new level. I love the fact that I was using the refresh button as a navigational tool to bring up new delights and surprises.

Erik Spiekermann: I don’t know what to make of it (and I do understand Dutch). I am always amazed at the amount of time some people will spend making weird websites full of strange videos, and at the number of people with enough time to explore these sites. Design-wise, this is simply taking the worst taste in Web design and exploiting it for the promotion of an agency that is trying to be insanely creative. It’s almost genuinely bad, if it weren’t for the coding, which gives it away as the work of professionals.

Anne Burdick: Ha-ha. I love the Matthew Barney spoofs.

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