Just because you can do something, does not necessarily mean that you must do that thing. A truly talented designer knows what not to use, and knows how to balance the presentation of information with the absence of clutter. The desire to use every new trick, trade and tool to wow your audience can often be overwhelming, but those desires must be tempered if you want to succeed in creating a professional looking site.
We've all heard the aphorism "Keep it simple stupid", and this most definitely holds true when crafting a thoroughly contemporary looking website. However, the large percentage of cluttered and messy looking websites on the World Wide Web proves just how difficult a concept this is for many people to grasp. The assault of colour, cheesy graphics, animated gifs and even music can quickly lead to frustration for the user, which will instantly put them off. First impressions are absolutely critical, as the typical web user has a very limited attention span.
Far too many wannabe designers spend all of their time building an array of effects using every different filter available in programs like Photoshop. This looks amateurish. Furthermore, it accentuates a definitive lack of talent. Instead, designers should concentrate on building a simple and clean layout, punched up with suitable graphical elements, and selecting the proper fonts and photos.
It's all about the three F's - fonts, fotos and f*cking talent.