kirby comics and myspace
So, I got some good news today:
MySpace’s June redesign is proving to be a turning point in the social network’s effort to monetize its 118 million eyeballs. National brands are flocking to new advertising opportunities on the home page, making MySpace the top site in online ad views last month, according to Comscore.
The June redesign streamlined the home page and placed a large ad space at the top of the page. It offers splashier video ad placements with interactive elements that can move throughout the site.
As I announced two months back, I’m no longer doing client design work, focusing instead on my role as Director of Product design at Plinky. But the Myspace redesign (which includes work that hasn’t launched yet) was my last major engagement as an experience designer at Adaptive Path, and I’m very happy to see the success its had with users and now advertisers.
So that wide ad unit at the top, that spans all the way to the gutters? The one that affords a whole bunch of different ways to present ads (for tasty, tasty bacon) and marketing messages?
My rationale for the design decisions on the home page included making efficient use of screen geography, reducing the amount/increasing the impact of advertising, and providing opportunities for feature marketing and discovery… but really, the whole time I was thinking about this:
Jack Kirby’s use of double page spreads in his comics blew me away as a kid. Huge panoramics of New Genesis, amazing action shots of Capt. America taking out what appeared to be hundreds of Nazis singlehandedly, or the above assault on Camelot from the Demon origin [image borrowed from the Kirby Comics blog] – the sheer impact of those scenes have stayed with me as an adult.
Effective design work is full of unexpected influences. When I proposed what I termed the “widescreen” element at the top of the MySpace home page, I was thinking of double page spreads, and how effectively they’ve been used by artists like Jack Kirby (and more recently Mark Millar in Marvel Comics’ Ultimates) – they capture the attention, communicate volumes, and ultimately (heh) stand out far more than your average 9 panel page.
I need to thank the MySpace team for taking a chance, and my friends at AP and Sequence for turning my simple descriptions of how it worked into something awesome.
I’m just chuffed that it actually worked.