Black stainless kitchen appliances are trending, and LG’s on it. They’ve put together a sleek page introducing their collection. (Here’s the site if you want to scroll through the real deal.)
We start with a dramatic view of a refrigerator. Doors shut and quietly gleaming, it looks like a tomb, a vault, a crypt of secrets. “DARK SIDE” is bolded slightly, emphasizing the mystery. Notice that the black contrasts with the bright white of the kitchen cabinets and window. Countertops and backsplash are gray, not stealing any thunder. This entry wouldn’t be half as dramatic if any parts of the kitchen were, say, saffron yellow or poppy red or bubblegum pink.
As you scroll down, you see ghosted images of the appliances, which are revealed in full-tone black and white upon hover. Having a black oven in the photo for the microwave is a clever way to keep the words highly visible, like in the others.
The next section of the site is interactive—you can horizontally drag the slider to see how black works with dark or pale cabinetry sets. It’s a fun way for a shopper (or design geek) to imagine how things might work out in their home.
Continue scrolling, and you get an edgy layout describing some details. It’s hard to make a black dishwasher look interesting in a photo—it’s a black rectangle, after all. Here, it’s in the center of your screen, and the darkest thing in the section.
Notice that the counter and bar stools poke off the main photo, adding some dynamism. The dishwasher (as well as the cabinetry beside it) is photographed at a slight angle—this keeps this section from being too boxy. The photo is a rectangle, the text is set in a rectangle, and you’re looking at all of this in the rectangle of your screen. As my design mentor once said, “We don’t experience the world in rectangles.” The angle helps.
The look continues with more examples of appliances, with closer cropped shots that show enough of the surrounding kitchen for you to imagine it in yours. Notice that one photo here is with dark cabinetry, one is with pale cabinetry—smart way to show options and add contrast. As much as I love puns, they should be truly excellent if used in professional productions…I wince at “Our compliments to the chic.” It’s a wannabe pun that falls flat, because chic doesn’t sound remotely like chef. (Maybe I’m a pun snob. You can say I take all the pun out of it.)
Next up are sections on each of the appliance types. Dishwashers come first. Notice that the text naming the featured appliance is differentiated by color in the header (“LG MATTE BLACK” is in black, of course, not gray). Notice also the tiny, scaled down version of the appliance next to the larger “use-in-context” photo, like it’s just sitting there. This look is easily applicable to other things you’re selling…making it clear exactly what is being sold.
Again, I grimace at the pun in the copy here… “Home is where the dark is.” Relating “heart” to “dark” is something Voldemort, Darth Vader, or Joseph Conrad would do. (Seriously, LG? Life’s Good?!)
Other appliances are featured in the same layout…here’s the one of refrigerators. Tall, dark, and handsome. Black and gray typography keeps the look polished and the emphasis on the dramatic blackness of the appliances against the pale background.
At the bottom of the page, the entire suite is shown—a logical place to show them all like products we can buy, assuming that the shopper has maintained enough interest to get here. Hovering over the photo of the oven range shows you the designs for electric and gas ranges, a clever solution to keep the layout visually concise.
But I disagree with two typographic decisions here. The product number shouldn’t be bolded and placed on top as if it were critical content—it’s gobbledy gook that is important to an order, but no one is going to place an order from this particular touchpoint. Either omit or de-emphasize. Different headers would tell us what’s different between the two refrigerators, for instance.
The second thing that my eye disagrees with is the italicized “See All…” It looks tacky and salesy, especially with each word capitalized. I’d try un-italicized lowercase for everything (which might solve that pesky arrow problem with the microwaves section), and maybe get rid of the circle around the arrow. And be sure to replace it with a vector or higher res version (the pixellation is pretty noticeable on the site).
What is still working well, though, is the header black/gray typography carried all the way through. As before, the words about the black appliances are set in black, not gray, though this time they don’t lead the header. Having “LG MATTE BLACK KITCHEN SUITE” set in black is visually stronger and eye-catching, yes, but there’s also a perfect poetic nuance there that even pun snobs like me can appreciate.