When we are told something is “Alice in Wonderland inspired,” we all know it can mean many things. In the case of restaurants, for example, it may simply mean that the china doesn’t match. In the case of tennis dresses it can mean anything at all. Spotting the Alice in the “Alice-inspired” can sometimes be a tea-time riddle in itself.
Take the new WordPress website theme called Alice designed by Raygun (single site license $25) – what’s in the name? The design feels neatly combed and dressed, much like our very proper Victorian friend, and the sample color-scheme could definitely be described as “tea party” (with an emphasis on “cupcakes”*). The prominence of gallery and slide-show features in the demo shows that thought has been given to the proper balancing of conversation and pictures – very important, as we know – and Alice is surely an appropriate source of inspiration whenever anything needs to be both “flexible-width” and “responsive,” as the tag line highlights. But is the overall effect “Alice”? Who’s to say? The Caterpillar would probably have an opinion.
A clearer case is made by Lith, a new typeface by Stefan Huebsch. Whenever we see the bold pairing of teapots and rabbit faces we know we are either in the inspirational realm of Alice in Wonderland or Beatrix Potter, but the addition of a single chess piece swings the dial. To be true, the Alice muse at work is strangely furry, and almost certainly mediated by Tim Burton, nevertheless Lith is a typeface that will say “Alice,” whatever else it might be saying at the time.
*Not very Victorian, I’ll admit, but very Alice Moderne.