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Please have a look at my Irish Gift website designs

Hey there, I'm holding a contest to redesign my website www.traditionalirishgifts.com

I've a bunch of entries in and I'd really like some constructive opinions on what looks best and what works best.

I should point out that the designers haven't been completely sticking to the brief and there should be 6 Guinness related categories (and images) plus another 16 Categories (and images) which I'll need to add in when I've chosen the style.

I want the site to look like it's been professionally designed and not just some dopey website thrown together by someone in the back office of a dodgy gift store who's attempting to learn some html

If possible please put yourself in the position of someone who is looking to buy either some Guinness related merchandise, an Irishy novelty gift or some fancy Aran sweater and please give me your critique of the following.

Untitled Document


Staff member
barricades said:
I want the site to look like it's been professionally designed and not just some dopey website thrown together by someone in the back office of a dodgy gift store who's attempting to learn some html
then why did you run a competition rather than paying a professional designer....

Sorry but I don't support competitions

oh and you've got 2 of the exact SAME design in that link lol
Going to have to agree with Levi, especially as you've requested quotes from people here and have obviously ignored these.

Lets say on average everyone spent 4 hours on their design, so that's 52 hours you've used here, of which 4 you'll (assuming you will) remunerate, wasting on average £960 worth of industry hours*.

*figures taken from a reliable survey of 1 person
Actually I came on here and hired two different designers. I didn't ignore anyone and thought I was courteous to all who quoted.

One guy completely disappeared - did HarlequinStudio ever make an appearance again? - and the other told me after a couple of weeks that he had been offered another job and due to terms in his new contract couldn't possibly finish the job for me.

I had liked the advice I was given when I first signed up on here which is why I posted for quotes in this forum. Unfortunately for whatever reason the designers let me down.

I know design contests aren't great but at least you know there's a deadline! lol

@Chris, hehe thanks for the breakdown but I never put a gun to anyone's head forcing them to enter the contest, they did so of their own volition so I assume they'd contest your *wasted* claim. And of course I'll remunerate (wouldn't you?), I've paid upfront so not a lot of choice there either way. lol :)

@Levi - thanks for the spot! They are indeed the same design from the same guy, there are a couple of minor differences, though I admit it was stupid to include the both of them.

Re: the contest
thats all fair enough, no need to comment if you don't want to. Doesn't change the fact that this contest is running now and if there's anyone on this forum who fancies giving me an opinion I hope their not put off! Chris and Levi are obviously senior guys on here.

Just the last time I asked opinions I got the best feedback from this forum compared to the others I also posted in :). I know there's proper designers on here
GilmoreVisuals said:
So you're expecting only non-proper-designers to help you out?
Would I be on here if I was looking for non-proper-designers opinions ?

I'm looking for any opinions (about the designs).

Look, I'm just looking for a bit of advice, I don't mean to ruffle anyone's feathers. I get it, you guys all hate design contests and everything they stand for but that doesn't change the fact that I've started one andI want to get the most out of it.

I've already paid so whether I like them or not these are the designs I've got to choose from. I'm interested to learn about design and having the opinions from people who seem to know what they are talking about seems a good way to find out.

I'm sorry if I've put people's noses out of joint by not picking their quote back a month or so ago but like I said I have tried to employ 2 members of this site so far! All the quotes and portfolios were good and it was a hard pick at the time.

And for anyone who's advice is to not do design contests - I get it!
Sorry to hear that you got stitched up then!

I see what you're saying, although understanding a problem and acting on it are two different things.

I wouldn't pick any... The one that has the most potential aesthetically is the last one 14. However this would need working into still, making more of your 'above the fold' space to sell...


Sorry to hear that you still aren't having much luck (if any, considering the state of some of those designs you linked to) You would have been much better off accepting mine or someone else's offer all that time ago when you first came to the forums. The unfortunate predicament that you may now find yourself in is that you may still have to pay someone else to rectify the abundant issues found within the competition designs.

I'm afraid I can't really add anything new to the conversation. I agree with Levi and Chris, furthermore, to say that it's not your fault that someone put themselves into a negative position because of an 'opportunity' that you created seems a little ignorant to me, especially of the wider effect that these 'competitions' are having on the industry. One person that supports an evil is just as wrong as 1000 people supporting an evil.
Hi Squiddy, as I mentioned above I did actually accept someone else's offer all that time ago (two people actually - have a read first)

I didn't want to get into an argument or anything :) but I don't like being called ignorant (what is it with you guys? If I'm not being accused of ripping people off, I'm wasting peoples time, being evil or just being ignorant - gimme a break! So far the only person who has even bothered to give any type of constructive response is Chris, and even that was after he had a go!).

Anyhoo it really isn't my 'fault' if someone enters a competition just because I started one. You clearly don't like design contests and that fair enough but you have to understand that that's your opinion and there are plenty of people with different opinions and just because they might not agree with you doesn't mean they are wrong. That's the glory of opinions, they're personal, which is really nice :)

What you have decided is a 'negative' position for might perhaps be a positive position for someone else. Certainly the designers (if you don't mind me calling them that) on those design contest sites wouldn't enter the contests if they thought it was putting them in a 'negative' position.

They might argue that it's a good way to gain a bit of experience, earn a bit of money, build up a portfolio etc... For my part I get a bunch of different options and if one of the designers decides to bugger off mid project then no skin off my nose. My point is, your 'bad' is someone else's opportunity.

Plus if your so much better than the other 'designers' who've entered the contest then why not enter yourself? You'd be bound to win, netting you a pleasant bundle of $$$ [x3 what you offered your services for :)] and it'd be a good way for you to start off a portfolio ;)

Good luck - it's on design contest. com


I'm afraid there isn't really anything else constructive left to say. The vast majority of those designs are terrible. The one with the most potential is, as Chris said, number 14. What more can be said?

The way I see it, your opinion is that because you're not forcing people to participate in the activity which you've started then you are not to blame. Well, what you need to understand is that your actions are only adding to the problem, much in the same way that buying ivory creates demand for the product and results in the further killings of elephants.

It seems like you don't understand the problems that competitions create and why people are so vehemently opposed to them. That's fine, because as someone who isn't affected by the issues involved I don't expect you to have done much research into the matter. However, don't start preaching to those who are affected about how they are wrong and need to see things from another perspective. I'm sorry to say but that's just plain naive.

Is it a matter of opinion that discrimination is wrong or that people should work in unfair conditions? Of course, but that doesn't mean it's justified to believe otherwise, simply because it's an opinion. This is not the opinion of a couple of graphic designers on a design forum, we haven't merely just decided this. This is an issue that is wide-spread and recognised at many levels and you should realise this.

When did I, or anyone else for that matter, say we're better than the other designers? Some of your comments are very patronising for someone who doesn't want to get into an argument, whether this is intentional or not I don't know, but it's not doing you any favours.

Good luck with your website, I hope you have better success in the future.
Well, at the risk of joining a growing army it looks to me like you got what you deserved - alot of dross, one design with potential and a complete lack of imagination, individuality and stereotypes.

I'm sure you're personally very happy with the result, but from my(our) side of the fence, you would have had a great deal more success if you had employed a designer, had meetings, discussed options, made plans and let a designer take this project under his wing and produce a site that had soul, character and more than just the same ruddy student / wordpress style look you ended up with.

The last one of the screengrabs has potential though to finish on a positive. If you paid the designer a decent amount of cash to go away and finalise this concept (ie invested and trusted in his skillset) you may just come away with a site that could work. I wish you luck fella....