On Monday afternoon, Blake Lively joined the lifestyle club with her site Preserve.
The first, and most unforgivable, thing that you will notice is the black background and beige font. I didn't think there existed a web developer or a digital designer who could allow this combination to occur in 2014. But I guess when the brief reads "rustic Sookie Stackhouse" you do what you got to do.
Once your eyes adjust to the color scheme, you'll want to pop over to Lively's editor's letter. It's written in mostly single-sentence paragraphs like an awesome slam poem and starts out like any good Common Application essay: "Sitting down to write this editor’s letter has been the hardest thing I've done yet on my Preserve journey. I’m more intimidated than I should probably admit. I’m no editor, no artisan, no expert. And certainly no arbiter of what you should buy, wear, or eat. / I am hungry, though... not just for enchiladas. / I'm hungry for experience." She goes on to explain that through traveling America she's met a lot of cool people and she's going to feature them – er, preserve them, sorry – on her website. "Everyone has a story to tell. This idea is the cornerstone of Preserve."
When you skip back to the homepage you can click on some of these preservations, like a photo gallery and short story about a barbecue including the line, "Maidens and squires arrive at their leisure, on their own time, with their own ideas about how the feast shall unfurl." Right. This is a small example of the larger issue with Preserve.
Lively describes the purpose of her site as "part magazine, part e-commerce hub, part philanthropic endeavor and above all, a place to showcase the power of imagination, ingenuity, quality, and above all, people." The problem is that most of the information on the site is hidden behind the creativity.
A profile of an artist in New Orleans is written like a short story about her life with vignetted photos, so that by the end of it, you don't really know anything about her or her work. The same goes for the barbecue post mentioned above, which is basically an illustrated think piece about why people like to eat together. The new or relevant information one might glean from Preserve is hard to find between the artsy pictures and flowery language.
The most legible part of the site is the shop that sells everything from ketchup to candles to jewelry and donates 5 percent of profits to charities. Oddly, there are no preserves, strawberry or otherwise, to be bought. Those can only be felt.
In your heart.
Of all of us.
Front page photo: Larry Busacca/Getty