DX Award :: Nude Records


Nude Records, Ltd., is an alternative record label from the United Kingdom. Not pop, but also not tired British punk, the label represents a new sound coming out of the urban landscape of the UK. The groups are fresh and interesting, and include such names as Astrid, Geneva, MacKenzie, Mainstream, Suede, and Ultrasound. None of these are known in the United States and probably wouldn’t be except for the reach of the Internet.


ARCHIVED DESIGN AWARD PAGE :: 1998 DX AWARDS

This page is republished for historical and archival reasons, highlighting the history of online design and the work of some of the many talented individuals who were instrumental in the early days of online media.


We are honored to select Nude Records, Ltd., as this week’s recipient of the IPPA’s Award for Design Excellence.


Nude Records, Ltd., is an alternative record label from the United Kingdom. Not pop, but also not tired British punk, the label represents a new sound coming out of the urban landscape of the UK. The groups are fresh and interesting, and include such names as Astrid, Geneva, MacKenzie, Mainstream, Suede, and Ultrasound. None of these are known in the United States and probably wouldn’t be except for the reach of the Internet.

The site was created by UK-based Introactive, and it is extraordinarily well-designed for a small label. Dropping into the Introactive site for a quick visit, you will find the implicit declaration that there is more to New Media than the so many poor quality sites that litter the landscape of cyberspace. They write, “It’s a sleazy piece of terminology, but we are a multi-media company.”

Returning to the Nude Records site, clearly the label cannot hope to achieve online what larger operations like Virgin Records can, but in hiring Introactive, they have gone quite far. The Nude Records site is an excellent example of a well-composed, finely executed Internet presentation.

While the rest of us are doing battle at 72 dpi, fighting the limitations of the low resolution medium of the web, the designers at Introactive went the other way. With only a hint of hesitation, they instead celebrate aliased type, “jaggies”, and the roughness born of the limitations of online design. The result is definitively digital. And in this age where everything digital is cool, the effect is quite good.

Nonetheless, the overall design style of the site is somewhat dated — isn’t this just David Carson ala 1994? But somehow, when a design is so well conceived and executed, the achievement of the final work takes on a timeless air.

On the downside, try digging into the weeds of the site you will find that where the content needs to sing, it almost isn’t even there. The copy is overall very weak. Select one of the label’s artists — that is, after all, why you would come to this site in the first place — and surf the presentation. Click on photographs, for instance. Some have a dozen images (this is good), while other galleries are but four images deep. Click on the bios. Five or six paragraphs, a quick read, but devoid of energy and presented with just a single header graphic each time. Furthermore, the presentation isn’t uniform from artist to artist.

Ultimately, the job of the label is to produce and sell records. In effect, this is about creating stars, building image, branding your artists. And branding your label. Ultimately, you can’t do it with coverage that is just skin deep. You’ve got to go the whole nine yards (isn’t it wonderful to mix American football metaphors into the subject of British music?). Design-wise, they’ve got it right. But content is king.

Without content, design is just an empty gesture.

A full review of the site left me wondering just how to classify each of the individual artists. In fact, I really didn’t know what to expect until I listened to the music. And there is the positive side: the RealAudio server is definitely up to snuff.

Let me just say this one thing: some of this music is positively outstanding. Overall, the best of the bunch is probably Suede, at least for American tastes. This sort of thing makes me wonder when this sort of sound is going to crop up in San Francisco.

Our best advice: surf the design, check out the layout and then head directly to the Audio Cafe. All in all, Nude Records has the sound, has the design, but lacks the sophisticated copy that would really sell their artists. Two out of three isn’t bad, particularly for today’s web.

Scoring (10 is Maximum):

Graphics Design…….. 7.6

Programming………… 7.2

Content and Copy…… 7.0