Type Records Website Review

Record label websites always fascinate me. Partly because, I suppose, I’ve always wanted to run a record label of my own. And partly because I spend so much time on them, looking for new releases, for press materials, for MP3s, etc. And it amazes me how often label websites get it wrong. Often they’re poorly designed, probably intended more as a portfolio piece by the designer than anything useful and informational, lacking in substantial material and content, and woefully out of date.

These are not criticisms that I can apply to Type Records’ website. Type Records is a UK-based label specializing in, as they put it, ​“inspiring experimental music from around the world.” It certainly helps that one of the label’s founding members, Stefan Lewandowski, is a web designer himself.

The site design is clean and minimal, using Flash to a very minimal effect (for example, the masthead on the homepage that contains information about the latest release). The imagery used on the site is quite beaufitul, lending the site a nice bit of atmosphere and complementing the stunning imagery on the label’s releases.

Navigation-wise, it’s pretty simple and straightforward as well. Which is very helpful because the site is absolutely packed with information about all of their artists, releases, events, etc. This includes MP3 and video downloads, desktop pictures, and photos. And as someone who has spent way too much time scouring label websites trying to find good artwork to use for reviews, I’m very appreciative of Type putting up nice, big versions of their album artwork.

I know, I know… it’s rather obvious, isn’t it? And yet you’d be amazed at how many labels deny their fans and customers such information.

The site, however, could use a little improvement under the hood. HTML tables are used for much of the layout when a CSS-based approach could handle the design quite easily and more efficiently. The site does offer some cool design switching methods (check out the little boxes in the upper-lefthand corner) to pull up different images based on the time and season. These too could probably be CSS-ified, using a JavaScript styleswitcher rather than page reloads.

But such issues aside, the site still works as a whole. And the more I visit it, the more I find myself wishing that all label websites were as rich and rewarding.

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