Sites for sore eyes: agencies and the art of online showoffery

Agencies have many ways of wooing clients. They wine and dine them. They try to win awards. They send out press releases to trade media. They try to destabilise the incumbents. They invest in fancy offices to create the perception of success should they visit. And they also show off their work, their strategy and their talent to online visitors. The agency website is basically a digital shopfront and it’s often seen as an indication of the type of work it might be able to do for clients. Many agencies are guilty of creating boring and/or unfunctional sites and regularly slipping into cliche. But there are some good ones out there. So here are a few of our local favourites.


Most agency websites stick to a fairly familiar formula. A manifesto. Examples of work. And maybe some short profiles of the people who do it. Y&R does just that, but a recent redesign has created a responsive and visually striking HTML5 site with background video that automatically shows visitors its best efforts. 


​Resn works on the experimental fringes of the digital industry, largely with big international clients. And it’s taken the opportunity to incorporate some of its madness/inventiveness into its own website, with ethereal music, a multi-coloured triceratops, an online energy ball, glitchy vistas, a flying, laser-shooting blue demon, an angry wolf and a swan-based navigation system. The site even has a snooze if you decide to browse elsewhere. 


We live in visual times. And the Gladeye site uses parallax scrolling in an interesting way—almost like a digital version of flip book animation—to create the perception of movement. Nice animation on the ‘scroll down’ button too. 

Barnes Catmur

Themed websites can be hit and miss. But Barnes Catmur’s use of windows on an old building—and the billboard to show off its highlights—works well (and even caught the attention of an international client). Points off for not being responsive or particularly mobile friendly, though. 

Dow Design

Not surprisingly, design websites are usually very visual. And Dow’s responsive site is no exception, with big images of its work dominating the screen. But this stands out for its clever use of parallax scrolling and the sense of movement it creates through the use of colour changes and new elements fading in and out. 


DDB’s site used to feature staff members as different characters from Star Wars, openly referencing its nickname of the death star, but it’s modified things recently and, while this isn’t revolutionary, it has incorporated all its work and various business units into a responsive one pager that embraces filters. 

Alt Group

A clever, confident play on the ‘this page left intentionally blank‘ theme and it certainly stands out from the rest. Although some may see it as being slightly too clever, because you can’t actually see any of its work when you click through

  • Which agencies did we miss? And what are the best international examples (here’s a simple, clever one)? 

About Author

Comments are closed.