Howard Rheingold's 1994 sketches for HotWired

Howard Rheingold is scanning and posting the awe-inspiring pages from his notebook with sketches and notes for the design of HotWired, Wired's groundbreaking (and defunct) website. I love his use of color. Link


  1. You know, back in ’94, HotWired was the first website I ever tried to visit. The catch was, at the time, my buddies and I didn’t know which lab on campus had computers with NSCA Mosaic installed, and had no idea what Lynx was. Took us a half hour to figure out that you couldn’t get there from FTP or Gopher.

  2. CDRCTHHCK: *Lnk t th ’97 dtn f htwrd…www.rchv.rg*

    nc t s tht rchv.rg hsts cltrl mtrls tht RN’T rltd t Th Grtfl Dd(!)

  3. I don’t remember those particular colors on Hotwired. However, I do remember when Hotwired had those graphics but in bright red and gold that hurt my eyes or otherwise unreadable, it was in 1996. At that point, Wired Magazine lost its credibility to me and I never picked up another issue nor went back to the website again.

  4. Jeffrey Veen’s HotWired Style: Principles For Building Smart Web Sites is still relevant ten years after its publication.

  5. I especially appreciate Howard’s use of triangles and circles (and even non-linear!) containers in his screen sketches.

    I’ve long awaited the mass appearance of relatively free-form containers on webpages, which 13 years later are still dominated by rigid boxen.

  6. I remember wandering into Cyberia, where I worked at the time, and seeing a bunch of suits clustered around one the PCs looking at a Wired page in its early yellow form. At the top was a long, thin graphic with a Ford logo at one end. Advertising had come to the web. Did Wired invent the banner ad?

  7. CJP said, “Jeffrey Veen’s HotWired Style: Principles For Building Smart Web Sites is still relevant ten years after its publication”

    Why did HotWired go away? I never saw the site, but I do like Wired and always find something interesting on the pages. God the print is small!

  8. I remember HotWired mostly for HotBot, which for a while had a really annoying acid-green background. I much preferred Google, which had the same basic design then as it does now.

  9. Did Wired invent the banner ad?
    Pretty much. The first one they sold was to AT&T for AT&T’s future-forecasting “You Will” ad campaign.

    While some of that campaign’s technology predictions have become laughably paleo-future (it’s hard to “Tuck in your baby… from a phone booth,” when the cellphone has nearly eliminated the phone booth in the wild) AT&T’s “You Will” banner ad with it’s question of “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here?” was easily a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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