Creative, Unsolicited Redesigns of Popular Web Sites

Nothing gets the creative juices flowing quite like redesigning a popular, well-known site. Reimagining how a site, app or brand identity would look can help to show the product in a different light, and can help get you thinking about why certain design decisions are made. While unsolicited redesigns can sometimes bring controversy, they can help to show how a design can be made more user-friendly, intuitive and useful.

Of course, it’s hugely important to mention that there are many, many reasons why a design ends up looking the way it does. A site that may appear to be awkward to use may look like that because the company has other requirements other than usability. Perhaps they need to display adverts in order to keep up their service, or need to encourage user sign-ups – and promoting that may be more important to them than quicker access to content. In either case, unsolicited redesigns need to be sympathetic to the idea that the current design looks the way it does because of a lot of different factors.

New York Times Redesign by Andy Rutledge

Andy Rutledge recently courted quite a lot of controversy over his unsolicited redesign of The New York Times site. He may have been somewhat brash with his statement that “news was broken”, but his redesign does show an interesting, user-friendly take on what the New York Times could look like if it was to focus heavily on usability.

The Redesign

New York Times Redesign

American Airlines Redesign by Dustin Curtis

One of the most famous unsolicited redesigns is that of the American Airlines site by Dustin Curtis. Fed up with the hard-to-use site, Dustin offered a much cleaner and simpler site. I especially love the “wouldn’t Fiji be an awesome change?” box, which is suitable for people who just want some inspiration as to where to go.

The Redesign

American Airlines Redesign

IMDB Redesign by Vladimir Kudinov

This unsolicited concept by Vladimir Kudinov for what the IMDB could look like is a huge change from the current site. It’s hard to say whether it’s more usable or not, but it’s certainly a striking change – key pieces of information stand out visually in a tiled display, similar to the new Windows phone interface, and more detail can be drilled down to.

The Redesign

IMDB Redesign

Facebook Redesign by Jonathan Moreira

This unsolicited redesign of Facebook by Jonathan Moreira is extremely elegant, clean & clear and helps to differentiate different pieces of content beautifully. For example, the birthdays on the top-right of the page really stand out, the search bar is given more prominence and a greater use of white-space helps to separate out the news feed in a clear, comfortable way to help give the content more room to breathe.

The Redesign

Facebook Redesign

Google Search Redesign by Craig Reville

Craig Reville’s re-imagining of the Google homepage and search results pages offers a cleaner, more minimalist take on the current search engine. While not everyone may agree with the redesign (I’m personally not a fan of the font color being the same for everything in the search listing), it does offer a nice, uncluttered interface which could potentially be more usable.

The Redesign

Google Search Redesign

Google Redesign by Frenchlabs

Now is probably a good time to also mention the impressive live redesign of Google’s homepage by Frenchlabs. Try hovering over the logo to switch to other search engines, like Wikipedia and Amazon.

The Redesign

Google Redesign Redesign

Instapaper iPad App Redesign by Tim Van Damme

It’s not just websites that attract unsolicited redesigns – Tim Van Damme’s interpretation of the Instapaper iPad app is particularly impressive, with more space separating the content out, and having the content fed into a two-column layout so that it appears more similar to a newspaper article. It’s important to mention that, while this design looks fantastic, it may not be technically feasible to determine how to split that content into two columns automatically (amongst other things).

The Redesign

Instapaper iPad App Redesign


Ultimately, unsolicited redesigns shouldn’t necessarily be seen as criticism for the original design – don’t forget that there are countless (non-usability) reasons that a design may look the way it does – but there’s nothing stopping designers from sharpening skills and being creative by redesigning and reimagining famous sites, apps, logos & icons.

(3 Posts)

Alex writes on behalf of, a printing company based in the UK. He spends his time brushing up on his Photoshop skills and learning to code.


  • Very nice ideas!

  • Really digging the IMDB mosaic approach!

  • Jay

    NICE!! Especially the Facebook one and Google!

  • Ben

    Very cool – NYT and AA especially. It would be awesome to see these companies take function and simple elegance to their user interfaces.

  • BrianCalifano

    Very nice ideas – one thing I noticed is that the Facebook design was great but very graphic/CSS heavy.. it would be good to implement some of those design features however toning back some of the user-interactive elements will help with load-time and repurposing for mobile/tablet devices..

    great ideas.

  • The IMDB redesign looks really good, it just fits better on the subject of film. The defaultdesign looks unfortunately like a statement from a database. Ok is a yes but it’s nicehow the redesign shows.

  • You’re definitely right about getting the creative juices flowing. Being able to point out what’s functionally good vs what’s bad in an established site takes a lot of thought, and can be a good exercise for anyone!

  • The IMDB & NYT redesigns are great.

  • Pedro Oliveira

    The IMDB NYT and FB redesigns are great, 

  • hmmmm, really nice redesigns but i like facebook Redesign :-)

  • Hoodidge

    IMDB & FB. Very nice.

  • that’s how facebook should look, really nice

  • that looks like the Google Chrome extension for the NYTimes. I think the proposed design by Andy Rutledge is still more practical and usable than this version. 

  • Awesome ideas, especialy I like facebook redesign

  • Its159am

    Am I the only one who thinks Facebook will never look good no matter how hard you try and redesign that POS site.

  • Mark

    If Facebook were to be redesigned and that was the end result, it would only serve to hasten Facebook’s demise. That design might as well be MySpace, and glittery graphics and profile hacks would only be a step away. I’m not saying the design itself is bad, and the attention to detail is clearly there, but by no means should that be anywhere near Facebook.

    The NY Times Redux did a great job with respect to the user, but not a great job creating a way to monetize the site for the NY Times. They didn’t do an excellent job creating ad space.

  • ericthoma

    Definitely agree. Those were the two best.

  • Ady

    I don’t like any of them…srry guys:)

  • Matt

    I think they’re all pretty abysmal

  • Loved it!

  • Chas. Johnson

    I agree.  Definitely he NYT and IMDB ones.

    However, I wonder how usable the IMDB one would be.