Web Design Trend Hunting – The Messy Desk: Examples & Best Practices

Categories Articles, Trend Hunting, Web Design, Wordpress

I think right after the “wood background” huge – and recently annoying – trend, a new small sub-trend was born and still stays with us: the messy desk with everything thrown on it, from empty coffee cups to crumpled papers, pens, post-its, cookies, stickers, tea-bags, and so on. Apparently the untidier the homepage-desk is, the more cool and trendy is the owner :D

Well let’s see a few examples and then decide if this small trend deserves to get stronger or to quiet down a little.





Coffee Desk


Wheel Of Tea


Hey Josh


The Noog






Digitals By Kobke


Jason Bradbury


Inifinity WordPress Theme


George Marez






So what do you think?

I’m waiting for your opinions (and other examples) in the comments. Thanks!

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Catalin is the founder of Mostash - a social marketing boutique - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.

22 thoughts on “Web Design Trend Hunting – The Messy Desk: Examples & Best Practices

  1. I’m not a fan, mostly because this kind of design tends to lean heavily on text-as-image, which is not very open web. Once we have @font-face to play with, I’ll be a lot more interested.

  2. Frankly, the wood background thing doesn’t really bother me. I kind of like it actually even if it’s overused.

    Most of the designs above are far too busy, though.

  3. Nice round up here. Definitely some good ones. I agree though that some are a bit busy. The wood backgrounds definitely got overdone when the first few websites came out. Some still get designed now that do look good though, but for the most part – wood=overused :)

  4. I’m definitely voting for this trend to quiet down a little! It looks so messy, everything seems to be there just for the sake of being there.

  5. I like this trend for personal sites, but I don’t think they’re great for mainstream businesses. However, I found a graphic design company who has a pretty cool messy desk theme for their site–http://www.codingmonkeys.co.uk/v2/

    They actually use metaphorical navigation which I know a lot of people hate, but I actually like it on their site.

    I just wrote a blog about this trend and how it has made its way to WordPress themes. You can find the article at http://www.evohosting.co.uk/blog/web-development/wordpress-web-development/free-desktop-wordpress-themes/

    I guess it’s all a matter of opinion, but I happen to like this trend.

  6. I did a messy table design for a company I used to work for, back in January (when it was still a very fresh trend). Unfortunately it never went live, but here’s a link to the prototype:


    I was given the initial idea and then did everything else myself (logo, design and coding). As you can probably tell, it’s my favourite work. My personal masterpiece :p

    (PS Try moving the cup or the pencil, or double-clicking on the cup.. Some easter eggs i put in there.)

  7. Nah, hope this trend will fade away soon. Messy can be cool in some way but this kind definitely looses point of what website is all about. Actually I really don’t like off-topic graphics on sites. However some ppl are still graphic designers than webdesigners – huge difference.

  8. I don’t particularly like it; I feel like it can be too distracted and confusing for the user in many cases, and even detract from the content (the most important part of any site).

    During its first beginnings it was new and creative, but I think it is a trend that should honestly die down.

  9. I don’t know why there’s such an aversion to this trend. I personally think it’s only natural.

    After all, there is no “right” answer to content layout and design, and by representing a website as an easily identifiable physical space, the user interface becomes as important as the content. The things we keep on our desk can easily be seen as being representative of ourselves.

    I used a desk as the background on my site, and put together a small list like this about site intro text.


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