Renda Morton

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Bags site, 2007. Studios: Rumors, Push; art director: Forest Young; illustrators: Randy Morris, Forest Young; writer: Gordon Weller; creative directors: Chris Robb, Mark Unger.

If you look at the web as an extension of print, you’re going to be disappointed, according to web designer Renda Morton. “You have to accept the web’s constant evolution as a positive thing; then you can really get the most out of it,” she says.

In 2007, when the American Craft Council was set to unveil the redesign of its 64-year-old magazine, American Craft, they asked Morton to assemble a website. Rather than posting a table of contents, she stitched together 250 still photographs with JavaScript to create a tour of the magazine guided by a pair of hands (her own) flipping through the issue page by page.

Morton first started thinking about web design after her first year at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she studied under interactive artist Piotr Szyhalski. After school, she worked for two years in The Hague, at the Dutch design studio Lust, before settling in New York for stints at Project Projects and Local Projects. After a brief solo career, she joined with Andy Pressman and 2008 NVA winner Holly Gressley to launch the design practice Rumors, in early 2008.

The way Morton’s sites look and feel is often a function of her knowledge of how they work. A site Morton designed for Interloop Architecture in Houston, for example, has a homepage composed of elements chosen at random from the underlying MySQL database—you might find projects, press clippings, or even the principals’ bios listed side-by-side. The site’s underlying structure is exposed rather then concealed. “I really like the complexity of all these different things working together as an experience you have to go through, and I like the way it can always be different,” she says.

Morton sees herself as a problem solver, rather than an artist. She is modest about the restraint that so many of her websites display with their use of white space and classic typefaces, chalking it up to her practicality: “It looks like I’m really interested in type, but really I’m just interested in not having other things around.”