3 Reasons Why Winning an Awwward Would Mean a Lot to Us

Today has been an exciting day. We woke up to an email from Awwwards.com informing us that our website had passed the nomination benchmark, making it a potential recipient of the Site Of The Day award.

We are pleased to inform you that your submission to Awwwards has been approved.

The site will be posted in our “Nominees” section and will be evaluated over the next 7 days by our international jury and Awwwards’ users.

If awarded a high enough score, the site will be placed in a queue to appear as “Site of the Day”. It will also be included in our book “The Best 365 Websites Around The World” in 2014

Aah, you should have seen our reaction: jumping up and down all over the place like toddlers. On a sugar rush. In a bouncing castle. I personally did the Ezekiel Kemboi dance!

So why are we so thrilled to be nominees? And why do we seem so eager to win?

1. It will validate “designing from scratch”

When Skyline was birthed, the aim was to provide something that was virtually non-existent at the time: custom-made websites for the Kenyan market. We’ve been beating that drum since the early days of this blog. Almost 6 years later, many purported web designers still scoff at our emphasis on designing from scratch, claiming (rightly) that it takes a lot more time and effort (yea, welcome to life!) It’s always easier to use templates and attempt to capitalise on volumes rather than focusing on quality design and a well thought out user experience.

Well, try winning an internationally recognised award with that!

Don’t get me wrong, design for the sake of an award is missing the point. The aim is to make something new; something distinct; something creative; something useful; something that works exactly the way you want it to; something memorable; something worthwhile. An award is simply a by-product acknowledging those things.

Winning this award will be proof to all aspiring and current web designers in the country that authentic design is worth it.

2. It will be historic

As you will see on Awwward’s Winners List, only two other African websites have received the award ever since the site was established about two years ago. Two! That means that if we win, we’ll officially be in the African web design hall of fame!

That, my friends, is something worth telling your grandchildren when you’re wrinkled and toothless.

3. It’s much bigger than us

Confession: I almost shed a tear today. Ai! The support and appreciation we’ve been shown has been simply overwhelming!

  • In just under 24 hours, our website is the most voted for among the nominees, with 104 votes and counting from all over the world—but especially from Kenya
  • We’ve lost track of the big ups on Facebook and Twitter
  • Even our co-working space (Startup Garage) sent out an email to members to support us

A win won’t be Skyline’s win. It will be Kenya’s win, and it will be Africa’s win.

How humbling. How humbling…

Our sincere thanks to all who believed in and appreciated our “Martian skills” even before the nominations and awards started coming in. And many thanks to everyone who’s supported us this week in one way or the other. We wouldn’t do this without you. That’s what “African skin” is all about.

So vote and pray we win.

Soli Deo Gloria.

31 responses to “3 Reasons Why Winning an Awwward Would Mean a Lot to Us”

  1. C // O says:

    Congrats guys!

  2. Vincent Kajuma says:


    Now to rally up the Mars media :)

  3. ginerlydia says:

    Good luck!!

  4. kmarima says:

    Mambo BIAAAAAD

  5. Michael Muli says:

    I wish all the very best :-)

  6. Design from scratch, all the way.

    As I was reading you reminded me of sth I faced this week. A friend came wanting help with his site. I’m booked solid, so I referred them to another friend. When they got there, the other chap (friend B), emphasized that they needed a WP theme before they began to work. When he informed me, I stood there and thought “someone needs a theme, before they can do anything on a site…”

    I would confess that design from scratch is not easy (I outsource the graphics part mostly, or heavily tweak a stock theme), but original content (bones before flesh) is our biggest need in Kenya today.

    Congrats people. For taking a Kenyan twist to things development and wp makes me an ardent fan of you, and my fingers are crossed…

  7. Great work on the new site, and on the nomination. Voting for you and wishing you all the best

  8. Zech says:

    I am not Kenyan but i am so proud of you guys, well deserved.

    Back to the main point, today i was a bit disappointed to see that some fellow designers get nominated, not because they were nominated but because their site is just a wordpress theme from themeforest, and all they had done was change colors.

    So i don’t really know what criteria awwards used to nominate them (maybe lack of attention or just anybody can be nominated if they submit their site there, hoping for the former).

    See for yourself here http://smartcodes.co.tz/ is exactly this theme from themeforest http://alma.pixelthrone.it/v1-video/ the only difference is the color

    • Hi Zech,

      I saw that yesterday and was quite disappointed too. Couldn’t be the one to mention it coz ingesemekana I’m hating. I’m really hoping it was an oversight, but I guess the judging process will tell.

      Thanks for your kind words about our site. Much appreciated.

      • Zech says:

        Hey Huston, you shouldn’t worry about people thinking that “you are hating”, If you see evil, call it evil, Its a sign of character.

        Let’s just hope the judges notices it because over here they are already mobilizing people to vote for them. I’m actually more surprised why they even submitted a site they didn’t even design (unless changing the colors to red is “the” design part) because to me that would feel like cheating but I guess we are not made equal.

        Keep doing your thing

      • Thanks Huston for the discussion. Which brings me to another point: what is the pin-point definition of bespoke design? Does it only apply to a situation when a design is done from hand sketch, to wireframe, to psd template, to html, to wp theme? Or does it also apply when a designer/developer heavily customizes a stock theme to suit their needs? What’s your take?

        • By bespoke design I most certainly mean the former, as far as the visuals and front end code are concerned.

          • Thanks Huston. I know of guys who can heavily turn around sth generic, and completely rewrite the code and redo the design to suit their needs-front and back, and hold the two to your face, and you will struggle to trace their “nice art” from the parent stock theme.

            I recognize this is sth beginners will especially turn to, given the tight working environment in the country and their need for a portfolio to put them on the map.

            Whether this is allowed or not, remains the discussion of another day. But. for now, bespoke all the way :-)

          • “Heavily turning around something generic” is putting the cart before the horse. You’ve started with something that is meant to serve as many different scenarios as possible, which leads to three things:

            1. You’re within a box from the word go
            2. Serving everyone is serving no one
            3. The site ends up with bloated code and largely unused framework assets

            The aim of bespoke design is to come up with a product that will portray a specific client’s unique value proposition, to a specific subset of people (customers, audience, e.t.c) using specific content for a specific time. You start with those four things then come up with a design, not vice versa. It’s not about whether a certain site can at first glance be identified as bespoke or not. It trickles down to the entire experience.

          • @Malande True dat, and well said. I know how I’ve struggled with that over time. Those days when I begun with “nice themes” which would “do the work”. Until I was asked to do something specific, and I would try and try. Exasperated, I would look for help from the author, and would be surprised at the complexity of the code needed to do even the simplest thing like adding a widget to the header etc

            Another thing worth mentioning is that it is easier to build from the ground up, than to tweak a heavily coded theme that you have to learn your way around. I don’t know the approach you use, but I prefer WP frameworks like Genesis from StudioPress, which only come with the essential basics, but with a stable code base. The design and customization is left purely to your imagination.

            Maybe just to ask as I close this, what would be your piece of advice to those who are “just beginning”. They heard WP is great, and they wants to dive right in and have something to their name, while at the same time maintaining the correct proportion between originality and scope of portfolio?

          • I’d recommend they start with a naked WordPress theme, like Starkers https://github.com/viewportindustries/starkers

  9. GM Ngari says:

    Good going guys.Definitely Setting a good pace. Just noticed a very minor bug on the homepage placing the cursor on the far right pops a horizontal scrollbar. a simple .container{overflow:hidden;} will fix it. Anyway am glad to see like minded devs (coding from scratch). I think it’s time we realised there is a difference between websh*t design and website design. Oh and thank you for mentioning my work on 2014 best web designs. I did NBK.

  10. […] 3 Reasons Why Winning an Awwward Would Mean a Lot to Us […]

  11. Samuel Kamochu says:

    I just love your work guys!

  12. Williamz Nastrodumus Sanji says:

    am late for the party. the site is awesome very interactive. you have just broken wordpress

  13. Ndagi Stanley says:

    Did this happen eventually?

  14. Kevin Noutsawo says:

    Your work is just amazing! When I clicked on the menu button, it made me fly.
    Keep up the good job folks.

signed. martians.™