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  1. #1
    if($awake){code();} PHP John's Avatar
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    Why are drop shadows "unprofessional"?

    I have seen lately the expressed opinion that "drop shadows are unprofessional".

    Now, I have to ask, is something unprofessional because it is used frequently, and what is now considered professional will soon be considered "un"professional because it will become more widely used in the near future?

    Just what defines a "professional" site when it comes to design?

    Are there any solid, time-tested professional designs that hold there own in the wake of fads and fickle fashions?
    Last edited by PHP John; Sep 24, 2002 at 20:54.
    John

  2. #2
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    I am not sure who is saying the "drop-shadows" are unprofessional, but I think it all depends on how they are used. I think they can add a fantastic level of depth to certain pages, and make some artwork look a lot less "flat", but I have seen some websites where every single element has its own shadow of varying size/color...

    Imho it all comes down to the use, but stating that drop-shadows in general are unprofessional is a little generalistic.

    My 2 cents
    Jordan Windebank

  3. #3
    if($awake){code();} PHP John's Avatar
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    Wizardx8,

    I've been seeing that comment a lot in the website review forum, but I agree with what you said.

    Take a look at this page and tell me what you think about it's use: www.onlineproductreviews.com
    John

  4. #4
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    While I am not a fan of that font, the drop shadow does not look unprofessional in my opinion. It could be a little tighter to the text, but I think, especially on a white background, that they work fine...
    Jordan Windebank

  5. #5
    ********* *********** Jason Donald's Avatar
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    I'd agree with Wizard. It could be a bit tighter, it's a bit gratuitous but not over the top.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard Crowe's Avatar
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    I suppose I'll chime in and third that motion. With text like that, I like to bring the shadow in closer as well as reduce it's opacity, make it a little less harsh. I think It'll look cleaner that way... However, that's just my personal style preference
    Chrispian H. Burks
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  7. #7
    if($awake){code();} PHP John's Avatar
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    Hmmm... changed it a bit...

    I'm not very experienced in these matters, so all your opinions and views are good to be exposed to.

    I really appreciate it.
    John

  8. #8
    . Ruchir's Avatar
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    well, i would say, u cannot classify anything as unprofessional unless it makes ur page bad... i mean, if u take it that way, for flash developers, HTML/CSS would be unprofessional ... and drop-shadows are good with the color scheme and make ur page look good... or don't use them !
    Peace.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    John...

    People say that drop shadows are unprofessional because they tend to be very cliche. Many times they're used incorrectly or with a lack of consistency which causes the look of the overall page to degrade. For example, if you use too many DS on a page then it's overdone; if you aren't consistent with the DS angle and depth then it looks jumbled.

    Try not to mix and match, only use them when they ENHANCE the object that you're using them upon. For example, on the link you showed us, while the DS doesn't look bad, ask yourself, do I really NEED that DS? What does it add to the text? To the rest of the page?

    Tasteful is the word of the day when using ANY sort of typographic effect, be it underlines, bold, italic, bevels etc.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast Chul1ss1mo's Avatar
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    I personally think that unprofessional means when something becomes commonly used in hobby and personal sites. Many things begin as innovative, but once an effect or specific design is used by 3/4 of the people with personal sites, you have to do something to distinguish the business aspect.

    An example I can think of is page counters. Many, many years ago, the few companies that had websites also had page counters to show how much traffic they were getting. As soon as page counters were being distributed like ice in Alaska, companies had to stop using them for fear of being labeled "unprofessional." I think the same thing is happening with the drop shadow. What used to be a pretty cool text effect is now used by many personal/hobbyist websites. This leads to a saturation of the effect and the need for professional websites to move away from it so as not to look "unprofessional."

    Then again, I might be wrong.

    --Chul1ss1mo
    --I like bouncy things--

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard Crowe's Avatar
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    Chul1ss1mo, I gotta say, your bouncing signature frightens me.

    I nearly had a seizure.
    Chrispian H. Burks
    Nothing To Say

  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict theGuest's Avatar
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    Post

    And now for something comPLETELY different...

    There are more than a couple ways of interpreting the word "professional".

    Personally, i prefer the one that uses it as a comparrison to "ameteur" -- mainly because i've seen a lot of really bad 'professional' work done in the world. Which would lead one to believe that 'skill' is NOT a defining factor in representing the true meaning of the word. But more appropriately, whether you got 'paid' for the work.

    http://www.wordsmyth.net/cgi-bin/sea...atchtype=exact

  13. #13
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    I think the same way. If you do the entire layout and put a drop shadow on it it does not look professional but on a logo it looks pretty good. I really can't say what is and what is not professional. Its very for examples on this topic

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    It's no more unprofessional than a lensflare... ;-)

    Seriously, like lensflares, scanlines and just about anything else in design, there aren't too many hard 'n' fast rules. Design elements only become truly unprofessional when they're a distraction from the message you're trying get across. Most people hire professionals to help get a message across, anything that detracts from the goal of getting the message across is therefore 'unprofessional' in my view, which isn't the same thing a 'bad' design (but obviously that's a pretty fine line).

    IMHO, the defaults are almost always 'unprofessional' in most circumstances so always tweak them to best compliment your design. :-)

    ~~Ian
    Last edited by Ian Glass; Sep 25, 2002 at 22:58.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast robcg's Avatar
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    i'm in the middle of designing the below web site:

    http://stage.medave.com/DrMills/

    what do u think of my use of drop shadows?

    robcg
    for web design visit:
    www.rcgodina-design.com

  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict theGuest's Avatar
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    I think that type of DS is fine.
    It simply enhances the overall environment of the page design... but drop shadows on text will usually come across as being a 'special effect', and one which has no real bearing on a site's design/layout.

    But that still doesn't mean drop shadows on type is a bad or unprofessional thing to do.
    Hey... if the client likes it, who gives a crap.

  17. #17
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    Drop shadows are only unprofessional if they're done unprofessionally.

    Good typography is "professional." If all amateurs start using good typography, does it suddenly become "unprofessional"? No.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Originally posted by sonjay
    If all amateurs start using good typography, does it suddenly become "unprofessional"? No.
    Three Words: Times, New, Roman ;-)

    Rob, the use on the first page is very good and it enhances the depth of the page--I didn't even notice them at first. I didn't like the internal pages' dropshadows much though because they seemed a tad inconsonant and "choppy." Tighten them up a bit and try to make them contiguous, oh, and get the damn things off 120°--remember what I said about defaults? Problems with dropshadows occur when they make you stand back and say, "hey, there's a dropshadow."

    Anywho, I'd really like to caution against asking, "how's mine". It can quickly turn into a review, which would get this topic closed. Please try to be very precise and very concise when you either ask or answer a question like that. :-)

    ~~Ian
    Last edited by Ian Glass; Sep 27, 2002 at 18:54.

  19. #19
    Former Staff Member silver trophy Adam P.'s Avatar
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    I think that in your case, the drop shadow is a bit unprofessional, only because it's basically unneccessary. A good time to use drop shadows is when you are making the text stand out on a busy background. A good example is the drop shadows at www.gravitydigital.com -- not only are they very stylish, but they're also serving a purpose.

    Here's a fairly good tutorial on how to create "professional" drop shadows: http://www.eyeball-design.com/fxzone...ial_feat01.htm

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