London SE is a "guide to finding the best spots in London's southeast corner." The site, by web designer Brendan Gatens and school teacher Sophie Lanfear, is absolutely breathtaking. It demonstrates the perfect ratio of white space to beautiful photography. It takes advantage of the full span of the browser with gigantic, full-width images and horizontally scrolling galleries. And, since the responsive design is executed beautifully, it looks fabulous on every device — from a giant, 27-inch iMac screen to a smartphone.
The design is also refreshing in that it offers a modern interpretation of the standard arrangement of elements. Instead of the usual horizontal header, followed by a horizontal navigation, followed by the rest of the site, the London SE site gives the navigation top billing. Following closely below is a one-sentence description of the site set in a modern serif face and treated as a headline.
The London SE logo is the bottom-most element in this header area. There is a lovely moment of interaction as the "S" of the logo is cut off by the line separating the header from the body of the site. I assume that this is in reference to the arrangement of letters representing the directions on a compass — the "S," standing for "South," on a compass is always lowest in relationship to the other letters.
Also, adding a touch of color and dynamism to what would otherwise be the right one-third of the header area, is a large rotating image area promoting recommended spots.
The excellent design of the site carries over to the detail pages for each recommended London spot. These pages feature a compressed version of the header, full-width cover photos and galleries, and gorgeous typography.
All too often the map feature of a site is treated as an afterthought. Thankfully, and rightfully so, this is not the case for the Maps page of London SE. London SE's map feature is incredibly pertinent to the purpose of the site — to help people find cool spots around London's southeast side. Therefore, it's only fitting for it to have a design just as beautiful and unique as the rest of the site.
It's so refreshing to see something other than a standard Google Map plug-in these days! ...especially when that something is as beautiful as this:
Be sure to check out London SE for yourself for the beautiful design, imagery, and info!