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.