While taking in the tropical sights kayaking down a river in Kauai, my brother Matthew turned to me and mentioned that he’d love to start a video game studio someday. “Why not now?” I asked. Long story short, that kayak trip marked the conception of 8 Ball Studios.
When it came to developing a website for his new business, there was a lot of competition from other design studios, but somehow I felt like I stood a pretty good chance. Lo and behold, I got the gig and started putting together the site later that very same day.
The credo for this site was “mysterious, yet inviting.” I began with a black screen, or the first thing you see when booting up a new video game. With some splashes of vibrancy, a unique text motif, and a few eye-catching pieces of imagery, we were able to turn that black screen into a website that accomplished exactly what we set out to.
I started this site from a different perspective – the menu. We knew we wanted an inky black, minimalist style for the pages, so the menu needed to be both inviting and colorful to create that intrigue to power users along what the site has to offer. That meant it was a perfect excuse to use a “hamburger-button” style menu, one of my favorite techniques.
Named as such from the icon’s (slight) resemblance to classic American cuisine, a hamburger menu reveals its true intentions when expanded. The design concept made its way over to the web recently after being common in mobile since iPhones made the jump to 16:9 ten years ago.
This menu needed to be as vibrant as possible to rope in our visitors. That made the color gradient background an easy decision. That color explosion when opening up the menu ended up creating that intrigue we needed and breathing life into the site design.
The number one goal with this site was to show visitors not only why 8 Ball Studios is cool, but why it’s different. That’s why right from the beginning, we decided on a “no-caps, period after every header” text motif. It’s an immediately intriguing design concept that makes our brains say “wait a minute, that’s not right.” While it may not be grammatically sound, that motif became the backbone of the site’s identity. Here’s a really cool article about the importance of letter casing if you’re interested in more about that.
To bring a little bit of that vibrancy from the menu into our pages, we decided to utilize color boxes behind our text. This not only adds structure to the design, but also keeps the user interested should they scroll before checking out the menu. It also really ties the design together, kind of like a rug.
When it came time to choose a font, we pretty much already knew what we wanted. Poppins is one of my personal favorite fonts, and a perfect sans-serif compliment to the minimalist nature of the design. It’s simple, yet at the same time unique, and looks great in lowercase.
This site was put together crazy fast. From start to finish – buying the domain to taking it live – the process took about 2 weeks. That earns 8 Ball Studios the fastest site creation in Pink Robot Studios history. Maybe it’s because the person I was working with had a mind very much like my own.
Simplicity is often deceptively un-simple to develop.
But the process wasn’t quick for lack of trying. We went through multiple design iterations for each page, taking our time with each to create a cohesive experience. Simplicity is often deceptively un-simple to develop. When creating a minimalist website, the visitor is able to scrutinize everything. Since there are no distractions, each of the elements on the page has a spotlight trained directly on them. That’s why it’s more important than ever to fine-tune the design until it’s perfect. I believe we accomplished that goal with 8 Ball Studios.
8 Ball Studios is currently working on a 2D roguelike dungeon crawler codenamed T1. Check out the site here.