StrangeBanana FAQ

Since this website is completely new, there are no frequently asked questions from the users. So I made some up myself:

What is StrangeBanana?

StrangeBanana is a program that automatically creates graphic designs for webpages. Each graphic design created by StrangeBanana is a randomly created unique design. You can use any one of the graphic designs created by StrangeBanana for your own website if you want to.

How do I use StrangeBanana ?

Just go to StrangeBanana's Generator page. What you see there is a webpage generated by StrangeBanana. You can refresh the page as many times as you want, and each time you will see a new graphic design.

How does it work?

StrangeBanana randomly chooses fonts, colors, and other layout elements, and combines them. However, complete randomness very rarely creates a nice and usable design. Therefore, the program follows some algorithms which should make the design better. For example, it does not just select a bunch of random colors - instead it selects one random color, and then creates several other colors that maches this one.

Why did I get a design which was very ugly?

Since the designs are created randomly, most of them are mediocre, and some are really ugly (despite that the program contains algorithms which tries to avoid this). The fascinating thing about the program is that, every once in a while it creates a really great design. So when you get an ugly design, just hit Reload - the great design might be just a click away.

May I use a graphic design created by StrangeBanana on my own website?

Absolutely - that is the point of it!

You can use the graphic design from StrangeBanana as it is, or you can modify it. In most cases, you will probably prefer to modify it a little bit.

I would like it if you link to this site (http://www.strangebanana.com) and mention that your design was created by StrangeBanana, but you don't have to do it.

How can I use the graphic design created by StrangeBanana for my own website?

You need to know some HTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to implement on your own website the graphic design created by StrangeBanana. If you've worked with HTML and CSS you will probably be able to figure out what to do just by looking at the sourcecode (both HTML and CSS) on the generator page. Basically, you have to do two things:

  • Copy the internal stylesheet from the StrangeBanana page into your own stylesheet
  • Modify your page (or pages) with a few DIV's with specified id's

For more details, go to the detailed explanation of how to use the graphic design for your own website

Does it work in all webbrowsers?

No. Older browsers do not support CSS very well, and since StrangeBanana creates the graphics design through CSS, this means that a page which uses this design will look terrible in some older browsers. Even Internet Explorer 5, which is still used by many people, will not necessarily be able to show the page correctly. However, it works in all newer browsers, and will keep working in future browsers because it is completely standards-based.

Why are there no tables in the HTML sourcecode?

If you are used to old-fashioned HTML pages created with tables, then the code created by StrangeBanana will look strange. The lay-out of the page is created through a stylesheet (CSS). This is a much better way of doing it, because it is more flexible, easier to create and modify, and gives much more possibilities for creating a varied graphic design. Instead of tables, the separate parts of the webpage is enclosed with <div> tags.

The lay-out created by StrangeBanana is completely fluid - this means it automatically adjusts to the user's screen and browser window no matter how big or small it is.

What are the technical details? 

The actual webpage consists of XHTML 1.0 code with an internal Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). Behind the scenes, StrangeBanana is made with ASP.NET and C#. The HTML is exactly the same on every StrangeBanana page - it never changes. All the graphical details and the layout is in the stylesheet which changes on every page.

Is it open source?

No.

Why is it version 0.7? Is it full of bugs?

There are still some known bugs in the program, and many of the features I originally wanted to include are still not there. Therefore I decided not to call it version 1.0 to signal that it is really just a prototype right now. Here is the version history:

Version 0.5 The first published version of StrangeBanana - was only live for a few days
Version 0.6 A huge improvement in the colorschemes which makes the selection of colors much better
Some other smaller changes.
Version 0.7 Some other smaller changes: more varied letter-spacing and line height

Do you really think StrangeBanana is better than a graphic designer?

No of course not. Good graphic designers can create designs which are much better than what StrangeBanana can do. I created StrangeBanana just for fun, and for learning some new technologies. However, if you are not a graphic designer and don't have a talent for design, StrangeBanana can probably create a design better than what you can do yourself. At least it can do it quicker!

Who created the graphic design for the StrangeBanana website itself?

StrangeBanana did it! Actually, an early version of StrangeBanana created the basic design, which was then slightly modified by hand.

Who created StrangeBanana?

I did. My name is Torben Kjær. I work as a web developer in Copenhagen, Denmark. I created StrangeBanana because I wanted to learn C# and ASP.NET - and improve my knowledge of CSS. I am a very poor graphic designer myself, so I wanted to create a program to help me. In the process I learned something about color theory and other graphic design topics. The interesting thing is that the program I created, actually creates graphic designs that are much better than what I have ever done by hand.

You can mail me at torben@strangebanana.com if you have any input, comments, ideas or questions regarding StrangeBanana. I would especially appreciate ideas for future improvement.

If you happen to read Danish, I have a personal website in Danish.