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The Famous, Secret Cadre of Underground Web Designers

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Let’s face it, with a title like that I’m already in trouble on any number of levels, not least of which being the fact that it should really be a brother and sisterhood as I’m sure I’ll be reminded at some stage.

Although it may cause something of an outcry amongst certain elements of the online community, this month I thought I’d take a tongue in cheek look at what it takes to become a member of that most exalted cadre of internet professionals, those known only as...

‘Underground Web Designers’

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Underground Web Designers really are in a League of their own...

By and large, they tend to be seen as the more artistic (autistic?) cousins of conventional Internet professionals. Sometimes called ‘Beatniks for the new Millennium’, Underground Web Designers are rebels against a strictly conformist Internet, and as such benefit from a quasi-celebrity status with other, obviously less enlightened webbies.

If you are an Internet professional looking to become a member of this, the web design community’s most mysterious sub sector, you must first achieve a number of steps, comparable to the twelve tasks of Hercules in their sheer difficulty.

  1. Remember that Underground Web Designers are ‘terribly mysterious’
    Consequently you must choose your nickname with great care so as to uphold this reputation. You may be Dave Smith from Steeple Bumpstead in Essex in real life, but this must not stop you from creating an altogether more orphic online persona. So, henceforth you will adopt the online nickname of Bartemius and refuse to answer to any other form of address.
  2. Every Superhero needs a secret identity
    Since the village of Steeple Bumpstead is utterly inferior as the birthplace and residence of a professional like Bartemius, you are now a Canadian diplomat's son, who grew up in Moscow and currently resides in Rome.

    On a personal note, you come from a broken home* because your mother ran off with a KGB agent, are a champion snowboarder** who drinks excessive amounts of alcohol*** and listens to German Industrial Techno-Rock.

    *which explains your quirky and often erratic personality
    **since mysterious has to be ‘cool’ or better still ‘kewl’ somewhere along the line
    ***despite the fact that you aren’t old enough to drink, and the stuff makes you sick in any case

  3. Create your own Mysterious Design Style
    While few Internet users have problems with lying about their actual identities, Step Three is the actual stumbling-block for most prospective Underground Web Designers, since the aforementioned mysterious style really does take a lot of mastering, and most prospective initiates are simply not able to bring themselves to create a site of the required appearance.

    For, to qualify as fully fledged Underground Web Design, your site either needs to be full of garish colours, or dark and brooding in the Proto-Gothic tradition. Think Arkham Asylum, and you're getting close. Don’t forget to make your fonts too small to be read by the naked eye, and coloured so as to cause eye-strain when viewed against the site’s background.

    To get the graphics just so, you'll need to get creative with Photoshop, or, better still, you need to find something likely looking that's already out there on the web, steal it, and then modify it enough to call it a 'derivative work', should anybody actually notice what you've done. As far as content is concerned, you don't actually need any; all you need to do is republish a load of interviews by other underground web designers you’ve never heard of and you're sure to achieve maximum mystery effect.

There's more, and I'm still researching further prerequisites for becoming an Underground Web Designer.

Expect these to be posted here shortly.

As you can see, becoming a member of this world-famous secret brotherhood (and sisterhood of course) requires not only skill, but creativity, dedication, and an unswerving eye for detail, other people's detail, that is. And alas, these are attributes which we common or garden web developers do not, possess to such a highly developed degree.

Shame really, because the Interwebs might actually be a better place if there was a little less commercialism, and a little more cheesy Underground Web Design.

Stay tuned...

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