Completed contest Blog/eBay-feed needs unique homepage!

Haltingpoint needed a new web page design and created a contest on 99designs.

A winner was selected from 13 designs submitted by 5 freelance designers.


How Haltingpoint started their web page design journey


First, do NOT laugh at my original design! I know it is horrible. This is a fun project that allows you to get a little more artistically creative due to the nature of the theme. The site is a tool that displays steampunk eBay listings and has a blog. If you don't know what "steampunk" is, the brief has several links that will bring you up to speed in no time.

I'm looking to get a professional, modern looking homepage design that still evokes the charm and visual grittiness of the steampunk genre. Also interested in a basic logo design for a little extra.

What inspires you and how do you envision the design for your business?

Note: 99designs butchers brief formatting.  If you want something a little easier on the eyes, I published a Google Docs version that has nicer formatting:

As I stated in the summary, I created this more as a proof of concept to see if I could find an easy way to aggregate steampunk listings on eBay to save me the hassle of searching every time by hand.  I told some folks in the steampunkcommunity about it and word spread and now I get a decent amount oftraffic and have high rankings.  That said, I'm looking to sprucethings up and give it a professional spit-shine and turn it into a useablesite that is able to grow with my user-base.  I don't have a coderselected yet and am not really sure what the rule of thumb is forgetting work coded on here but I'm open to anything at this point.  Ineed to outsource the coding and I don't care where that comes from aslong as the person can deliver and it is not expensive--this is a Wordpress theme after all.


Improve look/feel of site – The site needs a fresh new look and feel that plays off of the steampunk theme.

Convert to WordPress – As it currently exists, the site has a subdirectoryhosting the blog.  This new design should incorporate the blog content(viewable at into the homepagedesign as I want to make that more prominent so people are actuallyreading the new stories when they hit the homepage.

Optimize for search – While I do want to add a high level ofvisual flare to the site, I have great google rankings and do not wantthose to suffer, so please take SEO into account when designing things like menus, etc.
Allow for expansion– The navigation needs to be something that can be easily expanded toadd an additional link or two while still remaining easy to navigateand uncluttered (yes, I know that's like asking for two mutuallyexclusive things there...which is why i'mrelying on your talent to solve this).  In the near future I amplanning on adding a main navigation link to a forum I am creating andI also need the ability to add an additional category or two.  If youcan figure out a way to easily and CLEANLY allow for subcategories tobe included in the navigation, that is a big plus.  If I don't seesomething I'm happy with, I'll probably just include sub category linkson the individual category pages which will have other contentdisplayed where the current blog articles are showing (such as infoabout the category, relevant links, ads, etc.).

Target Audience
My users are typicallymen and women ages 20-35.  They are fairly tech-savvy and have verysophisticated tastes in terms of style.  They are of course attractedto the steampunklook/feel of things, but they like it to have a modern spin, forexample, modern-day computers modded to look like steam-poweredartifacts (you'll see examples in the links below).  The crafts theycreate and purchase are all hand-made and of the most skilledcraftsmanship.  I want this website to reflect that kind of hand-madecraftsmanship.

Design Style

If you’re not already familiar with the steampunkgenre, I recommend you familiarize yourself with it through thefollowing links to get a feel for what it is about, and the visualaesthetic that is associated with it.  Don't just look at the designsof the sites themselves, look at the pictures of steampunk crafts that people have created and let that be your inspiration! - Wikipedia link - Most popular blog in the steampunk community Personal blog of one of the foremost craftspeople in the community(take note of his animated header, while I think the animation is overthe top, I love the visual design of the header element and think ithas some nice components that could be incorporated somewhere withinthe design) - A site for downloading steampunkwallpaper.  I like the color scheme used but am totally open to otheroptions.  I am not a fan of the torn paper look though.  For me steampunk is about high quality craftsmanship.
Key Requirements/Specs:- The eBay listings widget is 540pxwide (unlimited length) currently.  There is some flexibility withthat, but try to keep it around there as I want these to be verynoticeable.  I am able to customize all the colors in there (includingfont colors) as well. - I'm looking into switching to an RSSfeed, so feel free to design the listings block in a manner that fitsthe overall theme of the site (within the limits of what is codeable for outputting RSS feeds in HTML), but please maintain the basic column listing format.  The more it ties in with the steampunk theme of metal, steam and gears the better!
- Below is a list of some general technographic data of site users--please ensure your design will play friendly when coded to these requirements.
- - 56% use Firefox, 31% use IE
- 29% have a screen resolution of 1024x768 and the majority of the restuse higher resolutions, so you can make it bigger than 1024x768, butplease keep it under 1600x1200.
- I'd like to maintain the "How to use this site" section but the location/layout/design of that is up to you
- Primary navigation should be sidebar based (if you strongly feel itshould be a top banner or something else, please post in comments and Iwill consider)
- Sidebar should also include the following:
- - Existing main navigation links
- Recent posts section
- "Sign-up for our newsletter" form box to collect email addresses
- prominent RSS icon
- "Featured Craft" spotlight box (this should be above the fold if at allpossible...if its not feasible, not the end of the world) that willinclude an image (larger than those displayed in the main listings) anda brief blurb of text
- "Suggest a link" menu item
- Contact Us link
- Again, eBay listings and blog articles should both be viewable startingabove the fold on the homepage.  I do like multi-column layouts forthis purpose but if you have something else in mind (such as havingarticle blocks across the top) I open to that as well as long as theeBay listings have a significant presence above the fold.
- If you include a logo, it should be something that spells out the entire website URL "" and if it has graphical embellishments that is fine. Questions/Comments

Please post your questions in the project comments.  I'll bechecking in on this very frequently and will be sure to respond in atimely manner.  I'm happy to exchange info with 4 and 5 star voteddesigners for future projects.


- Extra money for logo, but not a lot...I'm not looking for anythingfancy logo-wise, just something other than plain boring text.  Maybeadd a gear in it somewhere...whatever.
- Fast-loading graphics
- Design that draws attention to the product listings, the primary purpose of the site is to get people to click on a product
- Flexibility to allow for expansion
- I will ultimately be adding additional categories/sub-categories and need this designed in a way that is Wordpress-friendly
- Professional, unique design.  This is a fun genre to design for so let loose a bit!  Visual embellishments are what steampunk is all about, even if its a little excessive....think "Victorian Bling".  (Please don't sacrifice useability for this though)

Don't want

- No generic look/feel!  I can spot this a mile away and won't consider it.
- Designs that will be prohibitively complex in terms of having it coded into a Wordpress theme for a low price.

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