The wireframe is a visual guide that depicts the skeleton of a website. Everything begins with it. It is a stage where your ideas materialize, sometimes on a piece of paper. So technically, it is a sketch – an outline version of a future web interface.
So, you may ask: “What does it have to do with the actual live website? How does it affect a vibrant design, clickable elements, motion, content that makes sense, etc.?“
Of course, we will not show you website designs that look like hand-drawn illustrations with crossed-out boxes and gobbledygook. Instead, we are going to focus your attention on web interfaces whose beauty and charisma were obtained by the ideas taken from the blueprint’s ideology. Let’s have a look.
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Wireframe style designs are a tiny trend these days that fill the web with elegant, refined solutions. Consider one of the most inspiring and refreshing examples in this area – the personal portfolio of Abdelkader El Issaoui.
Here, you can see a compositional harmony that pulls off a sense of sophistication with ease. All the elements of the hero area follow the rules of schematic arrangement that, in some way, reminds of a wireframe.
Thus, the navigation occupies the perimeter of the screen. The creative team uses both vertical and horizontal directions to make it nicely flow into the composition. The central part comprises an image, tagline, and a link that together form one space.
Ultra-thin lines perform a critical role: they give the design a sketch-like feeling and strengthen the general aesthetics. Coloring and a generous amount of whitespace tie everything together. The website looks just amazing.
Another fantastic example to explore is the portfolio of Alfa Charlie. The website has a subtle feeling of elegant negligence. It seems like the author has carelessly arranged the text and tagline over the main image. However, here every detail has its proper place, and nothing is made without intention.
Note, both examples lean on the same tricks, such as:
Perimeter navigation that, in the case of Alfa Charlie, is minimal yet to-the-point.
Lines before links and accompanying text.
A light color scheme with a focus on grey tone.
Arrangement of the content in the center.
A bulk of whitespace that gives the design an airy feeling.
A boxy layout that accommodates the elements in such a way that it feels wireframe-like.
While both websites have lots of in common, there are still some features that distinguish one from the other. For example, here, the main content overlaps the central image, making things tightly-packed together. Also, there is a small badge-like stamp located on the bottom right of the page. It is a compact version of the logotype that adds to the brand identity as well as the overall design.
Everess has obtained the same charisma as Alfa Charlie, yet its design looks bolder and more prominent. While the two previous examples bet on pale coloring, where light grey rules the roost, here you can see a classic black-and-white combination that makes things clear as ever.
The layout and arrangement of the components on the home screen stick to the same rules. Therefore, you will find in here:
A hamburger button, logotype and icons that lead to social media profiles comfortably located in the corners;
The central part that accommodates an image, overlapping tagline and tiny, subtle CTA;
Several lines that run in vertical and horizontal directions;
A boxy structure that brings about a wireframe-like vibe.
The creative team behind Muraflex takes the same approach. However, as in the case of Everess, some definite distinctions demonstrate different preferences in realizing the trend.
For instance, here the navigation, along with social media links and logotype are concentrated mostly on the left side. Even though there are a couple of components that take up the top bar, the design still feels a bit lopsided.
The central composition shows a prominent single-word title, vector buttons instead of text-based links with a line and a small disharmony in the horizontal plane. Here the level is set by text, not images. In addition, the coloring is not so washy and obscure.
However, despite these differences, the website meets the trend and looks amazing just like everyone else listed above.
Okay, it is time to widen our horizons and look at some offbeat and intricate takes on the trend. First, let’s consider PlasticBCN.
This one certainly shows us how to embrace chaos and produce an original hero area with a hint of wireframe style. The welcome screen heavily relies on the vertical orientation that adds a strong personality to the design. The spacious feeling, schematic presentation, primitive graphics, and arrangement have secured the website a place on the list.
The creative teams behind Wellness Hotel and 50.8 Studio have added traditional sketch details to the design, making things more exciting and captivating.
In the case of Wellness Hotel, you can see how the eye-catching image backdrop has been encrusted with outline details that, together, produce quite an impression. The welcome section looks organized and properly structured, yet it still feels picturesque.
In the case of 50.8 Studio, the team has gone a bit further. Here the hero area is split into two equal parts. Whereas the right section is a conventional image-based backdrop, the left panel presents the navigation and all useful links in a modular system, whose outline can be seen with the naked eye.
All of the columns and rows of the grid are delineated literally. This interfusion commands the attention and leaves a lasting impression.
Let’s consider two examples that stand in stark contrast to the previous websites, yet they still have that inspiring wireframe-style charisma.
The first one to look at is Future London Academy. Heavily inspired by Bauhaus, this outstanding home screen speaks volumes. It effortlessly sets the design off and proves that simplicity and geometry can do wonders together.
Nunziella Salluce is another eccentric solution. Much like the previous example, it has a note of a modernist industrial design inherent to the Bauhaus art school.
However, here it is skillfully combined with a wireframe style that brings about an outstanding outcome. It wins over readers with its beautiful primitiveness.
Wired for Great Design
Wireframe style design is ambiguous. It manifests itself in various solutions and can be seen in different concepts.
However, one thing you can say for sure: it has its own personality and irresistible charisma that easily singles out some projects from the others.