California Web Design Amateur Unknowingly Created the North Korea State Website
File this under really offbeat design stories! For a nation that’s bent on putting on a show for the West when it comes to rockets and missiles, North Korea sure did a 180 when it came to its official state website. It turns out that the template used for the new website design of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was created by a California web design amateur, and anyone can purchase the same template on themeforest.com for only $15.
Who figured this out? Michael DiTanna, a junior at Fordham University, while he researched North Korean official media for a Korean history and political science class. DiTanna told techie blog Wired that after visiting the official English version of the communist country’s site, he noticed that it used some elements commonly found in open-source web platforms. Curious, he did a little more investigation and in a matter of minutes, DiTanna was able to find the original $15 template that the DPRK used to design its site.
Robert Westmore, the builder of the template, was contacted by Fox News to comment on the revelation that North Korea was his website design customer. It was news to him. “As a Web designer I’m always happy to see my work getting utilized,” Westmore said. “Especially when it’s on a high-profile website.”
Later, Westmore tweeted, “North Korea uses the Blender theme, I like their style!”
Not surprisingly, North Korea markets itself as a utopia on its website. There’s even a merchandise page where buyers can purchase golf tee shirts and throw pillows. Of course, Americans aren’t normally greeted with open arms by the dictatorship government of the DPRK. But that didn’t stop the nation from using a website design template created by a U.S. citizen who peddles his California web design services on discounted template sites. Go figure.