Thu 20 Feb
I’ve written about Francis Lam’s wonderful little world at db-db.com before, about how it’s an impressive feat of Flash engineering combined with some interesting ideas about online communities. Lam has just rolled out a beta release of db-db version 4, and with it he manages to outdo himself.
In its previous state, db-db upended the notion of an online community by simply superimposing online chat and an avatar-driven cyberspace’ on top of what would otherwise be merely an expertly-rendered design portal.
With version 4, Lam has added another layer: an inverted portfolio of design noodlings. He’s splayed chunks of unorthodox Flash widgets all over the place, with no apparent regard for conventional information design principles. The result is a crazy kind of sketchbook, where everything happens everywhere at once.
This a triumph for design esoterica, and a real break from most of db-db’s peers. There are plenty of sites that feature esoteric design content, but they follow roughly the same formal information architecture constraints as the Fortune 1000 businesses that contract their design masterminds; i.e., they’re organized along some kind of software-derived hierarchical fashion. That db-db version 4 does away with this almost entirely, and that it does so with a terrific amounts of humor throughout, is a testament to Lam’s uncommon ingenuity.