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    Brian Meyer

    Trey, Hi. I am an employed web designer, with a degree in “visual communications”. You need neither to be a good designer/artist, but I want you to know I take the craft seriously, and have invested a lot of time studying/developing in it. I want to offer you some constructive advice, and I am not trying to be rude. Assuming you’re not just teasing us with some bad designs, please read on.

    Your websites are absolutely poor. There is no other way to state it. I feel like i need to be honest with you, because it’s not worth your time to be given minor aesthetic criticisms like, “I don’t like how large the font is”. Now this is totally excusable if you’re a young guy. Are you under the age of 18? Honestly, it’s fine if you are. Let us help you. I certainly made some “interesting” art when I was a teenager. It’s very clear to me that you do not have any kind of background in design. Web design could be thought of as an extension of a good sense of graphic design, mingled with some technical knowledge. The technical side of things is variable, but accounts for say 10% of a good site aesthetically speaking.

    What to do now? Start from the basics. Go to the library and check out some art history books. Read up on Bauhaus, De Stijl, Modernism, Mondrian, Frank Lloyd Wright. Get inspired. Go to a museum. Read some magazines. Find an artist who’s work you admire. Tell us why you like it, and why you think the work is “successful”. Are you able to take some beginning art classes? Drawing, painting, anything?

    For the next several months of your artistic education, you should not touch a computer unless it’s posting on this forum, or looking up art. You do not need to read tutorials, because you lack the fundamental design sensibilities REQUIRED to create successful work. Computers tend to be bad for a developing artist. You need to grow.. A LOT…

    Shelf your idea of free-lancing as a web designer until you’ve grown significantly as a designer. If it’s truly a passion and you’re able to evolve your aesthetic sensibilities, you’ll be fine.

    Let me know if there’s anything I can elaborate further on, or if you’d like some additional advice. Best of luck.


    Alright. I feel like ranting on how bad his design is, is a little much.

    , I believe you’re improving in stages which is great. I am using a color similar to the one you chose on the CSS-Tricks charity project along with (@jamy_za and @joshwhitedesign), although it’s not set in stone. I think your site would look cool if you use the color (shade of red) of your main section as your background and rethink your typography on the menu. Get rid of the black sections as they really will serve no design purpose.

    Something like this.

    Take into consideration this was thrown together in a few minutes and I am not sure where you’re from so I used Italy.



    While some of the criticism here might put you off a little bit, you should be super happy that people are taking the time to comment! From what I’ve seen it’s all been pretty valuable advice.

    Nobody starts off as a pro. You’ve made great strides from your first design and if you keep on going you’ll definitely improve.


    Others have said it best, there is no way I can top it. Don’t let it deter you though. It’s important you know that it isn’t done with the intent to stomp you down.


    I don’t think the reason all these sites suck is because I have no artistic ability. I think its because I automatically scrap anything that looks remotely close to something I’ve seen before, because I don’t want to seem like a copy-cat.

    @ChristopherBurton So, I swallowed my pride a little bit. A I just chopped the “treyrust” from your mockup, and did the rest in CSS3. I do like it better. But where does that leave me? I could polish it up from there, should I really just “steal” a part of your mockup? that seems lazy to me…

    Note: That picture isn’t very good, its a screen cap and the colors on the edges are distorted. I messed with it for about 30 minutes, but its 4AM, so I’m going to bed…



    As we say in dutch “Beter goed gejat dan slecht bedacht”.
    Or in english, it is better to steal a good concept, then to create your own that sucks. (not saying your concept sucks, I wouldn’t dare saying that with my lack of experience)


    By the way your previous design before the one @ChristopherBurton suggested, had a feel abit like this one – (probably because of the background). My point being that you may think you are doing something different, but it may end up looking like something else that maybe you just haven’t seen. So what the other people and me are saying is: Focus on making your site look good and then on making it look different. And you are just starting as well (I am too, you know), so just think how musicians and other people start out with art – they first copy and recreate classics and already established concepts,songs,drawings etc.. And only then they go on creating work of their own.

    I do believe only way you learn is by example. I don’t think you are going to be a copycat for trying to do similar website to somebody’s while you practice.

    I don’t want to be cheeky by posting the site that I made recently, but I wanted to get some constructive feedback like you did. For some reason my topic doesn’t get the same attention – its called “Latest Version of my New Website” under Other Discussions.
    The site is:

    I am in no way trying to change this discussion of course.

    Thank you,


    @Treyrust: I, in no way was suggesting you to use my mockup over yours. I was suggesting you use the background color and get rid of the black box feel. Which I noticed you even used again for some odd reason. Why are you using the boxes as a design standpoint?

    I don’t believe you stole an idea of my mockup as people work collaboratively all the time. If you want to use the PSD I have for the mockup reply with your email and I’ll send it to you.


    Chris is right, you seem to be stuck on these ‘boxes’. Break free from the little boxes.

    Typography is not easy, and I think it might be what you are struggling most with right now. Here is a site that I just found (and bookmarked for inspiration!)

    I am constantly comparing and contrasting my own designs to people that I aspire to becoming – it’s how you grow!


    I can’t stop reading this long string of denial. It’s addicting. It’s not a pride issue, it’s a being self aware issue. Your designs are awful, your code is okay. That list that @scubasteve gave you is awesome, and the fact he took the time to write that is even more awesome.

    Swallow your pride, accept that your design skills are awful and your coding is decent. Go read scuba’s links, go pick up a design elements book, and get educated in good and bad design.

    I’m constantly sucking at something, I mean, I’ve asked @TheDoc and other masters on this forum more questions than I care to remember — the best way to approach learning is to accept that you know NOTHING and you are never THE BEST. It’s a Plato thing. Also the fact that you compared your site to Chris Coyler’s is arrogant as all get out.


    @Tannercampbell, As @TheDoc stated, no one is a pro off the bat so telling someone repetitively that their work basically sucks is not really constructive criticism and people won’t take kindly to that if you resume to act that way.


    “Break free from the little boxes” But…. I like the little boxes…

    I…… I’ll try!

    @ChristopherBurton You can just send it to: trey {{at}} treyrust . com

    Yes, I do have quite a bit of trouble with typography. It’s the last thing I put into a website, and I try and design them so that its boxed off and “safe” from messing with the design itself.



    I think typography is more important than the amount of time you are giving to it. Typography is usually the very first thing I work on for a design – it has a great impact on the tone and feeling of the design.

    Little boxes are fine – you’ll find them all over the place in great designs, but they are usually have a far lesser impact on the design. Take a look at this site, for example. There are boxes everywhere but they don’t feel like ‘boxes’ – they are functional and simply separate separate ideas of content.


    @treyrust, in reading through this thread, I think the commentary can be distilled as follows: originality is an outstanding goal. Powerful, authentic originality, however, comes from a profound understanding of the conventions of one’s medium, be it writing, painting, photography, or web design.

    Typography, color theory, layout (visual design), graphics…all need to work together to create an interesting and harmonious whole. (and please don’t think I’m preaching from the mountain top here: I’m still trying to learn all these pieces and put them together myself!).

    Knowing the ‘rules’, for lack of a better term, isn’t an impediment to originality; it’s a prerequisite. Even a kick-ass, totally original site like this is rooted in a thorough understanding of all the aforementioned elements. @scubasteve has given you a great list of resources to aid in learning (I’ll be digging through them also, as well as following some of his advice).

    It’s all a process of learning and improving; you’ve improved your design through this process, and I’m sure it will continue to improve. Just don’t be afraid to make a clean, conventional design for now — that you can then use as the base for your explorations into originality as you learn and grow.



    I believe my bad designs come from not having experience in merging my graphic skills, with my web development skills.

    I’ve been working on both for years now, but I’ve only ever put them together a handful of times.

    My art standalone isn’t half bad (says me), but when I try and make it a functional website, it falls flat, because I don’t have experience in typography, for example. I can do pretty graphics, but not a pretty website.

    I’m going to study typography and put some of that into the new design, and see how it goes.


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