Please tell me what you think of this format! (Updated 9/6)

I am working on a site for my father’s business, and I thought I would come here and get some comments on it. The business logo is in the left top corner of this site, and it is always red. I decided to use red for the primary color of the site. The big white box in the mid-left is where all the text information will be when it is done.
My questions: Is there too much red? Does it look good? Anything I should change?

Please tell me what you think!

Looks pretty good. My only crit, is that I think the Container box thingy, and the text box should swap places with each other. But that’s only my personal opinion.

I like it. You balanced the red well. my only crit is that you should make the other red stuf look more like the ‘container pic here’ place.
Good job! :smiley:

Design-wise it’s very clean and conservative.
Designing such a webpage pretty much reflects the
soul of the company. If it’s a company with “old” traditions
then perhaps such a clean design will reflect that it values
the old “tidy-and-proper” values…

…but if you did something new…It’d reflect something daring.
If you want a middle thing between what you’ve got now
and something “daring” - I suggest that you make the
“3d-bevelling” a little “deeper” and perhaps integrate
that Nice logo you’ve created a little bit more in the menu-design,
just a suggestion.

Anyway - nice and clean work

AAAaaaccckkk!! No more beveling!! There’s already too much beveling and the color is too saturated. My eyes are bleeding from that red! Beveling and 3d hardly make a website good. Some simple searches on design will get you some great tips about color usage and composition. Find some websites that are really well designed and borrow the elements that you like.

Here are some sites that have some good design:


mr_bomb: Well, I have done these kind of things before and I go for something different everytime. This time I put it on the right. Once I add a picture of a container, then I will decide if that looks good there or not.

digital_me: The ‘container pic here’ is a placeholder, so I made that design in 2 minutes to show my dad how it would be. I am looking through my dad’s container pictures right now to find a good one for that spot.

JoOngle: My father’s business cards, previous fliers, and other Triple J Equipment stuff have been very conservative. I went through what I had (logo, letterhead, business cards) and figured out what I wanted this page to look like. It is sort of a mix of everything with a touch of ‘James Finley Design’ into it. I am, as stated, still playing with it. The information for the site is still ‘yet to be decided’, as my father is very slow at getting thing like this done. I hope that this summer will provide him time to work with me to get this site up and running.

TorQ: I would (and so would my father) like to keep the reds in the format somehow, and this is just what I am wondering. Is there anyway you could suggest in taking the saturation down a bit? Would a colored background work to tone down the contrast?

What type of business is it for?

I think it’s a bit too red but it might look completely different when you get some text and pictures on so that might be ok.

Maybe add a third colour, red, white and… light grey? But then all my sites have light grey in them so I might just be stuck in my boring ideas. Either way it’s professional looking.

Well everyone else is being nice, so I’ll break the ice. In short I think the overall concept and execution of the design is visually offensive, ineffective and unprofessional.

In my opinion, the design displays nearly 0 creativity. It looks exactly like every other junky site that gets thrown together by the phone company or the 12 year old kid down the block or the company owner’s son.

Specific Crits:

The huge Triple J Equipment banner seems to be an enormous waste of space. You already have the logo, why do you need to use up all that space to restate the obvious?

Negative space is your friend. Introduce some to your design.

As was previously mentioned the highly saturated red is offensive to the eyes. I understand that you want to keep the red for the sake of the brand. Fine. But trust me, “a dab will do ya”

Others have called your design “clean”, uhm, is clean - yours is boring.

Lack of message: What is the design supposed to tell me as a potential customer about your Father’s business? What about the design is going to convince me that Triple J is more qualified than Triple A Equipment? Graphic design is communication. This design does not communicate ANYTHING positive to me.

The size of your fonts on the navigation seem the wrong proportion for the nav bar (font size is too big), and the alignment with the bevels feels akward.

Figure out how to use real copyright symbols instead of ©

Good design must follow the rules of CRAP, otherwise you end up with crap.

Contrast, Repition, Alignment, Proximity

I would recommend scraping what you have, as there really isn’t much there to start with. Go look at some professional designers whose work you respect. If you can’t immediately think of some web designers whose work you respect, then go do some research and find out what is being done by the pros. Study what you like about the site designs. Look at successful sites like Figure out how they have implemented CRAP in their designs. Identify the message your site needs to visually communicate. Identify what specific actions the website will need to encourage to provide real market value to your Father’s company. Then go back and start again.

Really I’m not trying to be a jerk. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t have even bothered to post.

Hate to be another to say it, but nuance9 is right. I’ve done more than a few sites, and even took 1 year of website design in school.

About the bevels. They are a very usefull tool for pushing the focus of your veiwer to your intended messages. However if you look at your design and the first thing you are noticing is the bevel then you should rethink how it has been implemented.

I like that little quote though “a dab will do ya”. You’ll find the most eye pleasing sites tend very much towards 3 color schemes. For example, elysiuns orange, blue, grey. Blending and shading give it a completed look.

Keep working on it. Things like this take time. That’s why the professionals charge the big money.

edit: might want to take a look at to get an idea of how the color doesn’t need to dominate.

Blarg! My eyes!

Too much red, methinks.

Otherwise, very nice.

nuance9: Wow/Ow. I don’t think I am hurt, because that is exactly what I needed to hear. I want blunt comments. For the last 3 hours I have been thinking about a better color scheme with red. I noticed after looking at it this morning that the red is very dominating. I remind you that this was 1 hour of work from 11:00pm to 12:00am, so I was really tired. lol I have other ideas that I could work on tonight, and see what I come up with. I will state that in the state of Illinois SkillsUSA competition for 2004 I ranked 2nd in web design, so I know I lot about color scheming. The fact is that my father liked the red and like this format. So did my mother. They are, of course, not designers, but it is my father’s business. So my goal is to make a good looking site that my father likes. I will take into consideration what you have said, and get back tomorrow with a major update to color, design, etc.

Jay Eff, i don’t think your design is a bad starting point, but i think you can improve it considerably.

Some of the comments so far are bullsh*t an i wouldn’t take them to seriously. i don’t know your background but i have seen a lot worse designs, in fact what you have done conforms to web design principles fairly well.

The first thing that i would suggest is definatlely tone down the red colour, it is used way to much, their need to be some variations in colour. Is the business logo red? or have you just decided to use red in the design?

If red isn’t a prerequiste, then i would suggest you use a less garish colour, more pastel colours, bergundy maybe. Think about colours that would work well with red.

If you do need to use red then i would limit it maybe to the logo and or the button bar, but either way i would try and use some texture to break the colour up.

Your design is fairly generic - that is to say that you have gone with the “obvious” options. Try not to think in a “rigid” sense, you have used too many sharp edges, try to make the design flow, add contours to the button and menu bar.

I would definately say get rid of the title banner as it is boring and a waste of space, it isn’t offering any new info and is bland, replace it with a flash movie if you can, or some pics or patterns?

I would also say don’t use so much bevelling, i would maybe keep some but dont use it on the whole design, it makes look amaturish.

The more i look at your design the more that i think it is ok, it is simple and to the point, the colour isn’t the best but the layout is ok.

All so, is the site going to be a staic layout or will it be liquid, will it be the same dimensions at different resolutions or will it stretch to fit the browser window in different resolutions.

By the looks of it, it looks like you are going for a static design. If this is the case, the largets dimensions can be 776x450. This will fit the browser window perfectly at 800x600 with no scrollbars. You need to remember that different users will have different resolutions, this is an important point to remeber.

Some of torqs points are valid, but the his examples are not. The spacefx site is nice but is design in flash so effects like that are not going to be achivable with standard HTML. Also the spacefx site is obviously for a furniture designers or something, which lends itself perfectly to that snappy trendy flash design. Would this suit your dads equipment company??? No

i work as a web designer, designing sites for estate agents. While i try to be as dynamic and creative as possible when designing mocks for clients, they are very set in their ways and they never want to try anything new or different. So no matter how hard i try to break the traditional design they all ways want something plain and simple, sometimes you just have to go with what the client wants no matter how sh*t you think it looks, so i appreciate what you have done with your dads site.

anyway, experiment, try something different, change the layout around, try to think differently but make sure the site is easy to navigate, but i would definately change the colour.

Hope this has helped - keep at it you will be surprised at what you can achieve.


Yeah, that spaceFX site is a bit over the top for what they are trying to sell. And I wouldn’t even say they present their site very well after looking through it for a bit. Too much flash, not enough content.

If you need a bit of help doing a banner I can maybe give you a hand. I don’t use flash much anymore (been thinking of selling it) but it would only take a moment to put something together for you. I guess the main thing to consider here is who will be looking at your fathers site? Will they have dial up? DSL? There is a simple rule of website design, that if the veiwer has to wait more than 5 seconds for the site to load they will often head elsewhere, or at best not return to visit again.

And nuance9, if you want to see clean flash, go to Now that’s what I call clean.


PixielRanger, aka Shane, works as art director at 2A - and I am generally a fan of the work that they produce. Personally I’m not too keen on the new 2A Prophecy site, like the last version better. Some of 2A’s work is really beautiful.


Glad you didn’t react badly to the advice. If you think my crit was harsh, you should try posting over at the HOW design mag forums. But learning from crits is the key to becoming good at anything.

I’m glad you placed 2nd in some contest, but to keep your feet on the ground, did the competition include any professional designers or was it high school students? If it was the latter, that’s a great starting point, but it ain’t the real world. Honestly, you said you spent 1 hour of work on this. I think that is the main problem with many “web designers”, their thought process is:

“This is simple, I can make a design in 2 hours, code the site in another 2 hours, and make $XXX”

Unfortunately the process often completely ignores the needs of the clients. In most cases your clients are not going to be web or design experts. They aren’t going to know what the website needs to do to help their business.

So if you are going to be a one-man-show you need to be a web expert. You need to know the graphics, coding, marketing and business side of websites. That is the only way that you will be able to produce a site that will hold lasting value for the client.

Would your client feel comfortable knowing that a total of 1 hour design time went into creating the image that would present their company to the world? I certainly wouldn’t.

I wouldn’t change a thing honestly. The red doesn’t show up so vivid on my Mozilla’d view and I think it’s refreshingly simple and very easy to read. I like it truly.

Nuance9: The competition was for High School students, but all of them were from Chicago, where they all got to take Web Design courses in school, where as I live in Troy and had to teach myself everything. For me to place 2nd against 20 school trainer designers is a major success. That site screenshot is here:
Second, I will am not done with this site. 1 hour to make what is here is a very little amount of time for me. I have been known to spend 7 hours or more on just the graphic design of a site. I wanted a simple format for my father, nothing like or . I am an artist when it comes to web design, but I tend to stay away from the flash and whisles of some sites when designing professional-style sites.
Third, I do not ignore my client (my father) when making this format. My father loved it.
Fourth, I am a PHP programmer that has interactive sites such as . I do know how to code, design, and develope every aspect of a website by my self.
Last, I do not have the money to purchase Flash, so I do not have the ability to use it. If you feel that Flash (which is a kick in the butt to 56Ker like me) is essential to web design, why don’t you just purchase it for me. Until I have enough money to get it myself, I will likely keep to XHTML, PHP, and mySQL. Okay?
What you should learn from this: it is okay to insult my design, but not my integrity. I am a web designer trying to improve, and I do not need you to be insulting me.

To everyone else: I am working out a more modern design at his point that may be uploaded later tonight.

Okay, here is a preview of the WORK IN PROGRESS format: . Critique what is there, not what isn’t there. If you have suggestions, please give them. The bevels used here are much smoother, and create a much softer feel. I am using a slight amount of red highlights in this with greys and blacks.


Listen, I’m not trying to insult you personally. I’m saying many “web designers”, especially high school age individuals, don’t have enough experience to even begin to realize what they don’t know yet.

And if any of my comments have bothered you the least, frankly, you will need to toughen up. Let me describe real world design: You spend hours and hours working up a design, present it to the client and they say: “hmmm. I don’t like that at all. What else you got.” If you want to survive in design, start eating two bowls of rejection for breakfast every morning. I’m not bitter or trying to be pessimistic - It’s just part of the game.

I understand where you are at right now. In 1995, at the age of 16, I was first contracted to do Graphic Design work for a company and also started doing web development ( That first e-commerce site I developed was profitable until it was closed in 2003).

I also understand that the only way to get the needed experience is through doing.

Thus, my suggestion is to forget that you won some school contest and compare your work against real world sites that were made by professionals. I’m only asking you to do the same thing that I do myself.

BTW - I never once mentioned Flash, so I’m not sure where that came in.

Don’t think that the “education” the Chicago high school students recieved was worth a hill of beans. I imagine most everything covered in the class could be reproduced in a 50 page “for dummies” book. Shoot, the classes offered at community college level are often taught by individuals who have no real-world experience. What is the saying: “Those who can do - Those who can’t teach.” :wink:

I’m glad your Dad loved your design. But honestly, what does your Dad know about web design? I could design a house that a client would think is beautiful, but because I don’t know squat about architecture it would probably collapse on the client. The same thing often happens with small business websites.

Finally, this is truly the wrong forum to be getting feedback from anyways. I know there are many talented designers and artists here, but a web design forum would give you much more constructive and valuable feedback (although perhaps a bit harder to swallow).

Your latest version: I’ll just say that it is much improved. I like the gradients. Much more effective use of the red as well.

Actually, the first thing I should have asked is: What does your Dad’s company do or sell? I’m guessing heavy equipment like truck trailers and what not.

Here are some similar global level sites to look at: