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I was doing free reviews. I will not be accepting any more until the backlog is cleared.

Reviews Completed:
- iBf: GFXForums - 8.5/10
- Uncontrol: Harajuju - 9.5/10
- Alex H: Snowfreaks - 5/10
- Bob Jansen: MyBB Runway (In Progress)
- UndiscoveredTalent: NeroChat (Waiting)
- Renegader: Gaming Bay (Waiting)
- Matt G: Web Server Forums
- Until rest complete no more accepted.
What kind of sites do you want to review and where will it be posted?
I review forums. And it will only be posted on my forum as an example when others go to see how a review looks like.
GFX Forums
Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Layout and Access

I think you’ve captured quite well, areas of discussion regarding graphic design. You have the usual areas of a graphics design forum as well as web-design. I think it is a nice change to see web-design as part of the forum, as many people would consider it a part of graphic design, and buttons, emoticons, markers and icons would also be part of it as well. However, I am disappointed to see an area of discussion of traditional art, and a great focus on signatures. I think art isn’t simply in signatures but also in banners, large compositions and avatars.

For this I propose suggest the removal of area such as smudging and abstract, or their making into sub-forums, but in the end, they are showcase. The category of Graphic Design is pretty much showcase, with the inclusion of discussion and requests. I would suggest something along the lines of.

  • signatures and avatars
  • traditional art (hand drawn and digital painting)
  • large piece (photomanipulation and wallpapers)

  • user galleries (users create a gallery for themselves and their work is discussed as a whole)
  • critiques (designers submit themselves for a critique to see if they have improved, they are ranked according to a ladder)
  • support (ask for help)

This makes things more clear as to what they are. It separates graphics and discussion accordingly and is more organised.

Other than this, as I’ve seen done at a design forum at which I was a Global Mod, you can add Design Articles. This would tie in nicely with your new blog. Every week you would interview a member or discuss a design style. Much like the large design blogs, you would look around at the changing design world, and leave your comments, find things you may like and show them to others. Teach others about what things are done and how they benefit the design. It’s something fun. An example of this was the article author attempting to replicate and teach others a new design style he had seen.

Another problem I find to the layout, is in the Resource area. At the moment I cannot tell the difference between normal tutorials and GIMP tutorials. I think the normal tutorials section should be renamed for Adobe Based tutorials or as follows:

  • General Tutorials
  • Photoshop Tutorials
  • GIMP Tutorials

Furthermore, I think resources should also be subdivided to allow for easy access. This area would also then include a section for resource packs. For those members that wish to release a pack of resources rather than a one off.

I like the various competitions, battles and tournaments. I find them fun, but it may be an idea to have group battles, and this would be based around graphic clubs. It’s just a way for members to make friends and be taught by others in the group. Competitions between these clubs would then involve either ones in which members would each have to be strong in one aspect of graphic design, but at the same time, each have a strength in a separate area. This would mean, while you may get a lot of signature designers, to win you may also need good web-designers, iconographers (a term I like to give people that make icons), and artists in other areas. These would then all teach each other and help each other out.

Lastly, I do not see the reason for the inclusion of themes. Sure, they bring members to the forum sometimes, but I do not see how themes being a resource has anything to do with a graphics design forum. That’s just my opinion, but I have seen it done before.

Forum Design

The second aspect I am looking at is design. At times graphics design forums are known for their fancy themes with great designed banners. Here I see nothing more than a premade theme which isn’t very well designed. I like the fact the design is a bit lighter, which is a change to the dead dark designs other graphics forums choose to adopt. I guess other than that there’s nothing more to comment on design wise.

Management and Order

The forum seems to be running nicely and users are well mannered. I think at times however, some users consider themselves elite compared to others and adopt a know-it-all approach when giving feedback. This is a problem with many design forums. Members need to know how to criticise, but not seem to be putting the other person down. This involves not only telling them the weakness of their design, but a way to improve it - and always reassuring them, and supporting them to design more.

Moderation and Administration seems to be good. The staff is very heavily involved in the forum and are a great part of the discussion. They know what they are talking about and are very friendly. It’s nice to see such a forum.

The forum looks great. It seems to be a nice graphics design forum. Yes, the downside is the layout and the look, but that doesn’t seem to have deterred members so far. Keep supporting members and encouraging new designers. It’s great so far.
Terrific review.
I've been trying to split the showcase up into something ideal for a while now. I think what you suggested could work.
I'm surprised you don't like the theme, everyone else does.
Haha well, go ahead and review mine then if you'd like Toungue
@iBF: Thanks. I love writing reviews and helping others out. The reason I don't like the theme is because I'm a webdesigner and a big critic so overall the theme isn't that great, hence why I don't like it. Things are supposed to be subtle and the whole theme to work together, yet the only thing that shows some sort of link to the name, is the background and the slight transparency.

@Uncontrol: Sure. I'll have yours soon.
@Alex H.: Yours is coming as well.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Discussion and Organisation

I have to say, at first sight I was appalled by how little organisation there is. Yes you’ve got main categories, but you’ve got nothing separated into sub-forums. The large majority of discussion is surprising awesome, and this is one of the greatest, fullest discussion heavy forums I have seen. With the little amount of posts you have, everyone that talks does so with meaning. I thought this sort of stuff was just something we all hoped for, never to be reached.

Organisation wise, you’ve got various fashion types and organisation under them, but how about organisation under various types of clothing. This would help structure conversation and allow members to find threads more easily. An example would be if I wanted to find a picture of a pair of shoes someone posted, if it was organised, I would be able to find it easier.
  • Shoes
  • Pants / Skirts
  • Tops / Dresses
  • Accessories

I’m not a big fashion guy so I wouldn’t know what exactly to separate them into, but that seems the most ideal.

Some other ideas I have about ways to get more people in would be to get some people who love to design. Get people to draw up sketches and talk about design ideas and what would look cool, what you would like to see. It’s a great basis for discussion and allows people to be creative. At the same time, you could have competitions around this and get members to judge.

Another thing which would be similar would be Entertainment. There’s already a section for it, but as we all know, the media is a great influence in what we wear and do. This could be anything from cartoons to music and actors. There’s an endless area of discussion just there.

Forum Design

All I can say is awesome! Sure, I’m not a fan of the logged in background and it has some small downsides from a designer’s point of view, but everything else is awesome. I love the simplicity of member profiles when viewing posts and the dark buttons. Everything complements through contrast. It’s nice to see a change in which red and black are put together but not to burn the eyes like most dark themes do, but used in combination with the light grey. The leopard skin background is awesome and really shows the genre.

The only thing to improve this I would say is to play around with the templates and really design the forum to make it less MyBB looking and more of what you want it to look like. The design of the banner area and the top bar stands out, while the generic forum design pulls the appeal back down. It’s not a must, but would definitely help a little.


I wasn’t really sure what to really look for so if there’s anything else in particular you want me to look at let me know. This forum looks awesome and the people there are great. While it lacks the statistical side, it makes up in an active and fun community. There are heaps of members that joined because they saw the forum and aren’t active. Hence the reason why there aren’t a lot of posts per day, but the community has a small member base of active members and that’s what makes forums great.

I love the uniqueness, the simplicity, and the closeness of everything. It’s definitely a new genre to me, and nothing I’ve reviewed before, but I hope I gave you some nice ideas to include.

Great forum!
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