updated: October 13th, 2006 / Ross Johnson / 5 Comments

CSS gallery – inspiration or repetition?

Pre:edit – based on this post, I have started a css gallery focusing on display new ideas and creativity in design/style.

“Web cleb” Jeffery Zeldman’s latest post on his blog cited several resources for design inspiration. While they were alternative web sites than the popular and well known css galleries (such as bassdrive, css mania, etc) – it brings a question to my mind. Do these galleries promote inspiration and better design, or repetition of the latest design trends?

It doesn’t take much time looking through these galleries to see how many of them have reflections, rounded corners, and lots of white -space (aka the Web 2.0 look). While it is no surprise that the “in” trend of design shows up frequently, as it is no doubt what excites the judge panels… but does it discourage alternative design stylize and promote repetition?

How many designers hope that their latest website is good enough to be showcased on these sites? I for one will admit, I like the idea. If majority of the designs that are accepted are of a particular style it simply is promoting the repetition of said style. Eventually the style will seem played-out and the next trend will start and the process will repeat itself.

Is this good for the industry as a whole? Absolutely not. It promotes a narrow minded view of design instead of creative exploration. Of course there will be lots of designers that will ignore the temptation to create similar styled sites, but as whole they hurt more than help.

I am not the only one who has questioned the value of these websites – Vitaly Friedman has discussed this and listed the sites he felt did a good job. CollyLogic wrote a series of articles (one, two, three) on what he saw as the downfalls of these types of sites. All of them are a good read if you find the galleries to be more of a problem than a help.

5 thoughts CSS gallery – inspiration or repetition?

  1. Amen. As you know, my site recently took on a (satiric, I hope) web 2.0 look. Dumbed down to the nth degree. I’m working on a new design that breaks out of the barriers, to be unveiled when I get bored with the joke.

    I do think the repetition gets a little dull, and that the showcases tend to promote conformity to a certain extent. I thought zengarden was doing a great job for a while, but it’s kind of fallen off the map.

    However, there will always be leaders and followers and we’ll all have our moments of divine inspiration at some point ;-).

  2. I so agree with you, where’s the recognition for creativity?

  3. Zen Garden is an excellent example of a good resource. It seems Zen Garden promotes unique “theme” style sites instead of the flood of “agency” sites that use a trillion badges, reflections, and lots of white space.

    Dandyna – I think well designed and creative sites will always get recognition by those who are in tuned enough to notice. Those looking to please the latest “Web 2.0 crave” will probably just piggy-back the latest trends.

  4. Pingback: Circle Six Blog » Blog Archive » The new plan

  5. Even if i find what you are saying quite interesting, i dont totally agree with you. In my opinion, if you see a lot of reflections of the same websites on every showcase gallery, it’s because when someone submit his website, he submits it on every gallery he can find (I dont know if it’s to get more backlinks or really to promote their design) but as a consequence, most of the galleries get their newly featured websites either just by submission, or by checking the mainstream galleries. But it’s not possible to generalize, as I (trying to be modest) am getting my featured websites, by submissions, but also by browsing a lot the internet to feature new websites unseen on other places. Anyway, as always in the css galleries, I know that if i showcase a greatly designed website, i have a lot of chances to see it ‘popping’ on other galleries after 1 week…

    As a conclusion, i’d say once again that its not possible to generalize, because some people (http://css.wearethebuzz.com for example) try to consider mainstream but also other trends in webdesign. And by addind this intention, with the fact that my gallery is the most frequently updated over the internet with a new website featured every 4 hours, i hope my browsing and searching work will be rewarded for its real value.

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