The brief for Big Red Tin and its redesigned sister site, Soupgiant, included a couple of notes for our very patient designer, Christa at Zepol:
The frame of both sites will be pretty similar. We were thinking of different colour schemes […] as a way of demarcating the two sites.
We haven’t got an exact style in mind, but something relaxed and modern without going over the top – Web 1.5 if you like.
— source: email to Zepol (emphasis added for this post)
The rest of the brief detailed the content separation between Soupgiant and Big Red Tin. We wanted the design to come from the designer to fit the content, not from a committee to fit some other agenda.
In the context of this site’s design, the exact interpretation of Web 1.5 was left to Christa’s devices. As should the exact interpretation of any design brief.
To me, web 1.5 means something like: dump all the cliches of Web 2.0 design, at the same time keep the good bits
“A good bit” may be a feature that is used frequently, such as oversized footers, because it adds something for users of the site. Cliches are those design tricks that add nothing but appear on every second web site, such as elements with faded backgrounds and rounded corners.
It strikes me, as a developer, it must be said that the definition of design is something similar: dump all the cliches and keep all the good bits
Failing to do so risks rendering you a regurgitator, not a designer.