I was struck by how counterintuitive the Ooligan site would be from both a functional and marketing perspective. When the class discussed what the specific needs would be for author, vendor, teacher, reader with subgroups for independent, big box, juvenile, distributor, it became readily apparent that one site for all would not be sufficient. Unless… it were something like Bowker’s site. They installed a convenient portal/directory along the upper-right corner of their site to direct traffic according to user’s needs. Then they have an animated banner declaring what kinds of users may have their needs met by the site, including their primary business of selling ISBNs.
I decided to jog my memory for publishing imprints I used to follow with interest, then check in on their web identities to see if they elicited the same curious page-turning. The first was Loompanics International. It proved to be a site built in 1998 and never-since updated, full of broken links and a poor navigation architecture. Certain subgenre pages at least hold promise, but ultimately dead-end. The publisher which had piqued my interest with such titles as Bob Black’s “The Abolition of Work” and seminal classics like “The Anarchist’s Cookbook” apparently could not keep up in the digital marketplace with their eclectic range of free-thinking, free-speech boundary-pushing titles compared to imprints like Paladin, who specialize in texts for militia uprisings.
Fantagraphics chose to take a two-color muted interface as the virtual counterspace for their colorful collection of graphic novels, reprints of classic comic strips and underground fare and unconventional new titles.