What to do to polish a website design? [closed]

I’m the type of person who’s between a programmer (because I enjoy it) and a designer (because I have a sense for it).

I’ve been designing various websites in the past years and while they’ve been far from the ugly 90’s type of sites, they’ve never been as “polished”, or cool or “wow” as designers’ sites out there.

Some people have zero sense for design, I have some that lets me realise when a design is good or bad. But in either cases I don’t know why it’s good or bad. It’s only recently that I realised that the thing I was missing was design theory, the rules of aesthetics.
I tried to use some of them (golden number, 2/3, contrast, alignment, complementary colours) in the site below, but I’m not totally satisfied with the result, especially with the menu’s appearance, the header and also the “immersion” (I wanted to get rid of the flatness). N.B. the logo is fake just like the text, but is similar to the real one.

In brief: what can I do to give a nice polished look to this site ?

The live site. (best viewed not in IE)



Some of my thoughts about this:

Link to the image

enter image description here

Some things that I forgot to mention:

  • Currently the colors dont play too well together.. Complimentary colors are good to try if youre stuggling to find colors that look good together.. ( .and the red ad the bottom is just.. red. )
  • I wouldnt recommend all of the buttons to have same width.. creates problems and doesnt always look so good, especially when youre running out of space.
  • Maybe the footer text could start from the left side of the content box instead of the sidebar’s left side.
  • I’m possibly talking about the sidebar when I say: Sometimes its good to have plain color ( like white ) in links ( if it is otherwise clear that it/they are link(s) ) and then you can use different color in different states of the link: Hover, Active, Visited.

..at this point I realize that I should’ve read the whole question properly… Most of what I’m saying is still fine I believe.

Source : Link , Question Author : WaterBearer , Answer Author : Joonas

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