2005 was a good year for web design. I got into the field at about this time last year with nothing more than a copy of Microsoft FrontPage and a free table-based layout. I don’t know if the growth I saw was amplified by my own, but I have a feeling that it wasn’t, because I saw some truly tremendous work this year.

Obviously, the best redesigns of the year are much more than ten, so I encourage you to leave your recommendations in the comments so that I can add them to the list.

10. Niggle

Many websites in the list will borrow from the layout of Pen and Think’s “Niggle”. Niggle was one of the first sites to make the bold move to really feature the content. It’s also one of the first to embrace the footer as a meaningful means of communication. Don’t forget to check out their homepage which is equally beautiful.

9. Faktor 6

Wonderful colors with a great use of Flash. It has a great “grunge” look especially in the header.

8. 31three

Everything from the logo to the colors and graphics is cool and simple. I especially like the blog’s category navigation.

7. Breaker Design

This one has actually just popped up and it really is a gorgeous design. It has a great color scheme and a gorgeous background. Everything about the design is classy and fun.


Time for a “bigger” site. was recently redesigned and I really like the final product: it’s simple, usable, but it might be a bit heavy for modems. The Weekly Standards has a much more thorough review including an interview and full analysis.

5. Matt Brett

Matt Brett’s site is just amazing. The backgrounds and font colors are very interactive and give the whole site a cozy feeling that belies it’s grunge approach. It makes the user feel like they’ve been let into the heart of the author.

4. folietto

Absolutely fantastic. The design is the most complete and well-thought website I have seen all year. It’s little details like the navigation and footer that show just how much the designer has put into it.

3. Avalonstar

Bryan Veloso’s blog is so well put together that I didn’t really know why I liked it so much. It’s complexity lies in how simple it comes off. It’s often easy too design “minimal” websites, what’s difficult is to design simple websites.

2. Ordered List

Ordered List’s redesign is not something I would usually go for. However, it’s dark background and prominent content is exciting and captivating for the user. Don’t forget to check out that live search too.

1. A List Apart

The A List Apart redesign was long overdue but had a wonderful result. A List Apart and it’s equally beautiful sister An Event Apart truly exemplify the transformation of design in 2005. The layout is powerful and elegant, a combination that is difficult to achieve for a content-focused website. Check out Jason Santa Maria’s personal thoughts on the redesign and Stuff and Nonsense’s analysis.

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