Fans of the 2009 N*E*R*D site should recall the large cartridge that the crowd held up on the intro page. Well, that was actually just one of many different fake cartridges that I created. Here’s the story of a concept that didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the site so it wasn’t used.
Back in December 2008, I was brought onboard to redo the official site for N*E*R*D. Another company had been working on it, but the band wasn’t happy with the direction they were going in. I was soon on a call with Pharrell, who was detailing his concepts for the new site: an old-school Atari theme.
This got some wheels churning. As luck would have it, a friend I’ve known since 3rd grade is a big Atari fan and has a pretty large collection. We arranged for him to send me a package of games, controllers and a system. I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d do with them, but hoped that the gear would spark some ideas.
And they did! I love those old, classic cartridges. The labels, the graphics, the way they were all worn down from years of use and abuse. I didn’t have an Atari growing up, (we were a Commodore family,) but it took me back.
I then looked to the album artwork, which also had great illustrations:
My next step seemed obvious…
I started laying out the different labels, naming them (some with titles that still make me chuckle,) and got to cutting and pasting (literally this time, not digitally!)
One thought was to have each cartridge associated with a section of the site, and the homepage would let you select which cartridge to put into the system. (roll over for example.)
In the end I was really happy with the results, but this “real retro” style just didn’t fit in with the “8-bit retro” style of the rest of the site. The cartridges are currently lined up next to my desk, trophies of a concept that didn’t make the cut.