I have been browsing alot recently to notice that alot of css based designs are all the same looking such as a rectangle banner , gradiented side column and content column and with a footer. I myself am victim of this as all of my sites since ive changed over to css based are like this. What im wondering is does anybody else feel like this and how to overcome this.
I agree with you Sharkey, it seems that most designs are almost exact copies of each other these days. To avoid this, I usually begin a design on paper. I sketch out what I want it to look like, then I pick a basic color scheme. Then I get to work on some graphics in Photoshop. Once I have some basic ideas, I begin putting it all together on a web page.
I think most young people seem to design sites which look the same. One big header that normally doesnt have anything to do with the site (like a cloud, building, etc) and then 2 or 3 vertical rows of content.
It doesnt look bad (looks great), but its not very original.
I kind of have to (Damn it!!!!) agree with Omega. One can create cool and crazy designs, but it needs to be practical. Besides, people are creatures of habit, and visitors tend to feel comfortable with familiar layouts. Vertical columns are very practical, headers basically help make it unique. I try real hard to make it unique, but it's hard when you have no creativity.
And I've heard it said before that CSS based designs aren't remarkable. I think this is unfair and gives people the wrong impression of CSS. CSS is powerful, however, the majority of designers don't particularly care and/or even know of CSS. One mostly fines mainly programmers or scripters into CSS. This is what CSS Zen Garden is trying to change, but we'll see.
I'd say one's best bet is to take the existing layouts we use and to make it as unique as possible. It is the little differences and touches that can make a site unique.
"Why did my comment make me sound homeless?" Sounded good, didn't it?
"What do you mean? Theres endless layout possibilities... Just like there is endless possibilities for a painting." I mean practical designs... And paintings and layouts are totally different things. Unless everyone had the same computer, browser, and connection, that is.
Think about on an actual site. There are few designs, (my favourites: "Mediterannean", "Bonsai Sky", and "Outburst" among them), that would work on an actual site. Plus, the atractiveness is all about how good your are with imagery, and your selection of colours.