PSDFan Extra

30 Minute Redesign: The Capital Singers of Trenton

This Weeks Poll

Many of you voted in the poll deciding which site would get redesigned today. As you may have picked up on from the comments to the poll post, there was some doubt over the true winner. Whilst DoKall showed the most votes, I have a few reasons for choosing The Capital Singers of Trenton for this weeks redesign:

  • The Capital Singers of Trenton were leading the poll considerably, which was also evident from the genuine comments left by people who didn’t like their original design.
  • DoKall was not receiving many votes at all, but then in the space of a couple of hours received around 100 votes, pushing them into the lead. Since that point they have continued to hardly receive any new votes.
  • I received several spammy comments to the post promoting DoKall and it’s ‘wonderful’ services.

So at the end of the day yes, it is my decision which site gets redesigned. Although I’m sure you’ll agree that in this case the right site is getting the redesign, as none of us like spammers.

Week 2: The Capital Singers of Trenton

The Capital Singers of Trenton are a semi-professional singing chorus, aiming to enrich New Jersey. You can view their current website below:

The Capital Singers of Trenton.

In the space of 5 minutes I can identify some of the key strengths and weaknesses of this design, and sketch out a mockup.


  • I never like to be too harsh about a design. But the strengths of this website are limited. The inclusion of upcoming events on the homepage is a positive.
  • Additionally the logo is OK, although a little small.


  • The top of the content area is being wasted. The huge amount of padding and useless text like ‘welcome’ pushes the important content way down the page.
  • Similarly the lack of columns for content means that all text, images and other content are all on separate lines, spacing it out way too much.
  • There is a lack of any real design. The whole layout is very blocky, table based and generally 90s feeling.
  • The huge headline text overshadows the logo and menu, making the website harder to navigate and the ‘brand’ of the group fall to the wayside.
  • There is no real color scheme going on. There needs to be colors used for backgrounds, buttons and menus that tie in with the site’s logo and general image.
  • The photo of the group, which should be acting as the ‘face’ of the website is pushed right down the page. This needs to be brought up, so that the website is no longer faceless, and shows just who the ‘The Capital Singers of Trenton’ are!

My Redesign

As always, I was limited by the 30 minute time-frame, perhaps more than last week as I had to try and ‘undo’ a lot of the negative points of the original design. However, I managed to come up with the following design:


  • Give the website a more personal feel – using a larger logo, and prominent image of the group to promote who they are.
  • Created a much clearer navigation, cutting out redundant links from the original menu, focusing on what users will actually be looking at.
  • An explanation of who the group are, and what they do took visual precedence over the upcoming events section.
  • To assist the ‘personal’ feel of the redesign I added in a section showing the director, and encouraging visitors to learn more.
  • A lot of content as either pointless or repeated on the original design (such as contact details). I stripped away all unnecessary content and made a single set of contact details for the header, encouraging visitors to get in touch.
  • I used the colors of the groups logo to base the main websites color-scheme around. This helped provide more of a ‘brand’ for the group, as well as an attractive, unified color-scheme for visitors.

Comparing the 2 Designs:

Here is a quick comparison between the original design and my 30 minute redesign. Sure, my design could be more polished, but I believe that a lot of the basic elements have been improved upon, creating a more pleasant browsing experience.

How and Why To Enter Redesign Saturdays

You can have the chance to have your website redesigned in next weeks post. All you need to do is leave a comment to this post with your website address and why you think it needs a redesign.

The Benefits of Getting Your Site Redesigned Include:

  • Most obviously – a FREE redesign job!
  • Your website gets exposure to PSDFAN’s thousands of readers
  • You understand how to improve your website. This isn’t just a redesign, it’s a lesson in design.
  • You will get emailed the .psd of your redesign and can do whatever you want with it!

So please, leave a comment today for a chance to have your website redesigned next week!

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. Manda says:

    Hi Tom, I’m so happy that you decided to redesign the Capital Singers of Trenton site!! You’ve made a HUGE improvement in 30 minutes, congratulations! It’s much friendlier now, and the information is SO much more organized! This is a fantastic project — I can’t wait to see the next redesign :)

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks so much Manda, I appreciate the kind words :) . I gotta say I’m really enjoying this weekly post so far!

  3. Vector says:

    Hi Tom! nice job! really like you site… you know…I’ve been thinking… of course, i don’t mean to be rude or anything… i just want to know what do you think about this… making this redesigns for *free, MAY make people think that design should be for free or cheap at least, or something like that, then they may not value all the work and knowledge behind a FAST job, they usually say “hooo c’on, it took you just 5 min. you cant charge me that much!” or “what?! i know some one that can do the same job for a much lower price”…etc…that kind of ideas, that kind of thinking…lol , they almost think we have a “magic button” that do all the work…well…anyways… let me know what you think, i’ll apreciate your comment, thxs in advance :D

  4. Vector says:

    I FORGOT SOMETHING! haha, i had a comment about the re-design, i see they use a prominent “donate” button, up in the side bar, and on the footer, i thought that was a important’ thing they want to promote on their site…or maybe not? :S….no more money for you guys! :P jk

  5. Wow, you got some mad skills to be pulling that kind of work off in only 30 minutes. very impressive. Check out my site and let me know what you think. I spend my time improving my photography skills, rather than my web design skills, so I had to stick with a silly iweb template. its atrocious.

  6. Cletus says:


    I think there’s a considerable difference between knocking up a PSD design on your own terms – as is usually the case with these re-designs – than having to deal with a client’s inputs and opinions about why a button should be bigger, or why there are no animated GIF flames over the contact bar, never mind turning it all into a fully functional website. That’s the sort of stuff that takes time and adds to the client’s bill, but if you genuinely only put 5 minutes into your design, it’s obviously a bit dodgy to charge for a day’s work.

  7. Tom says:

    Victor: I definitely don’t want anyone to think that design should be ‘free’, as designers work hard. The point of these posts is just to show people how to improve their designs. A full project would take far longer. This is not a complete design, I’d spend a lot more time making small details/improvements and going through revisions. Additionally you need to consider subpages, coding etc etc… That being said, I do work very fast compared to a lot of designers I know :) . Personally I think that if your design is really good and does the job well, then it’s worth the money, regardless of the time spent creating it.

    Thanks for pointing out the donate button btw, that would have been a good addition!

    Josh: Thanks a lot :) . I’ll consider your site for next weeks redesign!

    Cletus: Good points, although I can’t say I’d be going along with the client if they started calling for GIF flames lol. Dealing with clients is half the battle though, as after all it’s their website not yours.

  8. Tony says:

    Well, the best reason I have is that in comparison to the free theme I installed three months ago and what it looks like now after some modifications, I think a whole lot more could be done.

  9. Michel says:

    Grat work Tom! I really like the colours you used for this. The layout is good as well, and for 30 minutes it’s just delicous.

    Keep on that good working

  10. Vim says:

    This now looks much better then the original design, i like the break down pin pointing where the site lacks and how you improved on the site, What happens after you created the site mock up?

  11. velumani says:

    It is a great job! site looks very sharp and information presented in organized way…

  12. Dominic says:

    Very impressive work. I have to say that I am impressed in what you can design in so little time.

    I would be curious to see what you would do with a Hockey fan site (basically rumors and everything that got to do with the Montreal Canadiens) that I visit every day.

  13. Filipe says:

    Again… freaking fast and awesome ! :D

    The Capital Singers of Trenton was really the best choice ( despite the fact I was one of the participants in the poll ).

    Keep the good word!

  14. mare says:

    Tom … thank you for taking time out to give The Capital Singers a new look! 30 minutes can really make a difference! You gave this non-profit choir organization a wonderful new visual “voice”. It’s a shame to read the negative comments from the polling section in response to the current site. Some people don’t realize that some sites are pulled together with whatever skill, talent and software is at their fingertips … and all from volunteers — just to get the info out there! AND thanks to you, you gave them something to strive towards with wonderful constructive criticism — strengths and weaknesses — for evaluation. THAT is priceless!

  15. Marita says:


    I REALLY like the look of the Capital Singers 30 minute make over – It’s fresher, interesting and visually inspiring. As a member of the Board and the chorus, I am pleased that our site was submitted and selected. I hope we can implement many of your desgin suggestions!

  16. Thank you for doing this. I am the creator and webmaster for the Capital Singers site. I had very limited time so basically I used a MS FrontPage Template to start with and modified a “very” little from there. I like your comments and ideas and will make the changes as much as possible. Ironically, I made some changes just yesterday, not knowing this review was happening, and removed some of the wasted space at the top and added some columns for content. I agree we were wasting the precious 1st look at the site with “Welcome” and other redundant information. I also plan to move to Dreamweaver very soon, which will give me more flexibility. As for the voice clip, the main problem has been copyright laws for many of the songs we have recorded. You need permission for most things unless they are in the public domain and that is not always obvious. The biggest challenge for me is “TIME” and energy. Never enough time and energy in the day. Thank you again for your talented work.

  17. Nancy L. says:

    Thanks for your make over Tom! The new page looks great and is very stylish. As another member of the Board and of the associated chorus, the Trenton Community Singers, I really appreciate your efforts. Your talent is obvious! A sincere thanks to Mare too for submitting our site for consideration.

  18. Tom says:

    Thanks for the wonderful comments everyone!

    Dominic: I’ll be sure to include that site in this weeks poll. Hardly any suggestions for sites this week, so it’s got a good chance of getting the redesign!

    Mare: Thanks! It was a pleasure to redesign, and I’m really glad it’s gone down well.

    Marita: Thanks so much. I’ll be sure to check back and see how the site progresses.

    Nancy Paolini: My pleasure :) . I just took a look at the site and it’s great to see some improvements have been made already. It was definitely a good call to bring up some of the vital information about events etc… As a short term improvement I would implement a slogan-like sentence beneath the site’s title just saying what the group do and where you guys are located.

    Nancy L: Thankyou :) . Best of luck with what you guys are doing, I appreciate all of the support with the redesign!

  19. RUGRLN says:

    Woah…that looks really professionally done. Great job dude! You’ve definitely given a 21st Century look to the 19th Century looking site!

  20. Great timing Thats a neat job Tom Cheers!!!

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