11 Almost Perfect Business Layouts

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Business companies tend to impress visitors with solid site structures, precise navigation and the credibility of presented content. Therefore business layouts are usually quite unspectacular, mostly informative, but not attractive. It’s an appropriate approach if you want to inform your visitors, but what should you do if you want to attract users’ attention? How to combine serious tone with attractive design? We’ve decided to figure it out. And selected 11 almost perfect business designs / layouts used by companies from different countries of the world.

What does perfect mean?

Different tastes result in different understandings of a perfect layout. The examples we’ve selected stand out, because

  • they are clean. It concerns both code, text and graphics.
  • they have a balanced layout, all site elements have their own place and are consistently placed on all pages
  • they pay attention to small details; the smallest things such as link colors and headings are well thought-out
  • they make use of white space, which places special emphasis on design and content
  • they use modern design elements, but remain moderate, without extreme use of graphics
  • they use intuitive color schemes and high contrasts to make sure the legibility of the text and the perception of visual elements are optimal
  • not all of them are gorgeous, but they don’t have to. All of them are descriptive and they work, and that’s what really matters.

11 Perfect Business Layouts

1. Sumagency1 (USA / Paraguy)
Sumagency2

2. ReachGroup Consulting3 (USA)

ReachGroup4

3. Exceel5 (Brazil)

Exceel6

4. Folietto7 (Austria)

Folietto8

5. ROI Sure9 (UK)

ROI Sure10

6. Jewelboxing11 (USA)

Jewelboxing12

7. Adesus13 (Portugal)

Screenshot14

8. Triplecrowncs (USA)

Screenshot

9. Brightfinance15 (UK)

Screenshot16

10. WEB917 (Thailand)

Screenshot18

11. Agentur 52eins19 (Germany)

Screenshot20

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.sumagency.com/
  2. 2 http://www.sumagency.com/
  3. 3 http://reachgroupconsulting.com/
  4. 4 http://reachgroupconsulting.com/
  5. 5 http://www.exceel.com.br/
  6. 6 http://www.exceel.com.br/
  7. 7 http://www.folietto.at
  8. 8 http://www.folietto.at
  9. 9 http://www.roisure.com/
  10. 10 http://www.roisure.com/
  11. 11 http://www.jewelboxing.com
  12. 12 http://www.jewelboxing.com
  13. 13 http://www.adesus.pt/
  14. 14 http://www.adesus.pt/
  15. 15 http://www.brightfinance.co.uk
  16. 16 http://www.brightfinance.co.uk/
  17. 17 http://web9.biz/
  18. 18 http://web9.biz/
  19. 19 http://www.52eins.de/
  20. 20 http://www.52eins.de/

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Co-Founder of Smashing Magazine. Former writer, web designer, freelancer and webworker. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories.

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  1. 1

    VERY NICE WEBSITES

    1
  2. 2

    Thanks!

    -1
  3. 3

    Nice collection! I especially like Sum Agency – its simple and effective – it takes a few cues from current design trends, but adds Its own flair to the mix. Attractive, but not distractive. On the other hand, Exceel’s header and footer distracts me from the content, and Folietto looks a tiny bit scattered & too 2.0 – but both are still great and other designers would do well to see them…

    -1
  4. 4

    Some nice designs there. I would love to see some nice designs that allow for banner advertising? Article idea for you guys?

    I have no troubles creating a nice design, with a nice colour scheme, but banners always kill everything!

    -2
  5. 5

    i like the first 2,

    Brightfinance loks like an old template monster…

    0
  6. 6

    shure, that web9 is from thailand??
    i think this one is from germany….

    0
  7. 7

    I liked Folietto

    -1
  8. 8

    Why do I continue to see the same companies featured here on Smashing Magazine? The web is gigantic and full of great design, I would love to see more digging or *sniff* I’ll get bored with you!

    0
  9. 9

    nice…alot of non english sites, eh?

    1
  10. 10

    Nice article. I like the way that “less is more” these days with 3 columns as a maximum, centered templates and small yet noticable graphic styles (notably drop shadows) to make the difference.

    -1
  11. 11

    Worst list ever, (from you guys that is).
    Seriously. They are not that good.
    If I had to do a list of your lists this would come bottom.

    -2
  12. 12

    Some nice websites, bute also some I would never call perfect.

    1
  13. 13

    Lee Rickler I agree. Brightfinance, exceel and Web 9 are really bad!

    1
  14. 14

    Very nice compilation. My favourite: “Web 9″ from Thailand

    -3
  15. 15

    wow, 2 sites i’ve done made the list, thanks a lot!

    -1
  16. 16

    Some of these site layouts are pretty nice with clean lines and a lot of simplicity. But, is it just me, or are other people beginning to see a recurring sameness to this whole Web 2.0, airbrushy, eye candyness? I think it’s a far cry better than the usual pre-bubbleburst designs from the mid-nineties, but it may wearing thin as a current trend. Plus there’s a preponderence of cool graphics for coolness’ sake, rather than having any relevance to the content. Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest.

    -1
  17. 17

    Very nice list, i really like Sumagency design..

    -3
  18. 18

    I have to say, I’m not a fan of these sites. Three of them use a nearly identical layout, while the others come straight from 2002.

    Love the idea, but I also doubt that these sites even have solid sales. There is very little (or in most cases no) immediate call to action.

    0
  19. 19

    Okay, nit picky creative director stuff aside, great article thanks!

    -3
  20. 20

    Hmmm. When I look at them I immediately think that the site will be completely content devoid.

    -3
  21. 21

    Christine Rondeau

    April 26, 2007 11:41 pm

    The last one is reminiscent of the first generation website. There used to be a lot of these around. The clean code is quite impressive.

    -2
  22. 22

    Fantastic designs; shows that companies can have stylish design and sensible layouts, without compromising on branding.

    -2
  23. 23

    Not all good.

    Sumagency and Adesus very good for my ideas.

    -4
  24. 24

    Fabian Fabertez

    April 27, 2007 8:11 am

    One question: What is good about number 11? I can’t see what makes it special.

    1
  25. 25

    Horácio Soares

    April 27, 2007 1:53 am

    I like the article and some sites, but you miss some important issues:

    – easy to use
    – accessibility

    Regards,

    Horácio

    -2
  26. 26

    really? the only one i found at all compelling was web9. the rest are uninspired, cookie cutter sites.

    -1
  27. 27

    Folietto.com is beautiful!

    -1
  28. 28

    nice sites. I think this site deserves mention:

    http://www.veratta.com/

    I am not affiliated with them so no, I’m not promoting them. I think their site strikes a perfect balance between professionalism and creativity.

    -2
  29. 29

    Jason Sanzone of Jetpacked

    April 27, 2007 9:12 am

    Good stuff.

    -1
  30. 30

    Not a terribly impressive list.

    #3 The “rounded” look is unique, but the main landing page is way too plain!

    #4 and #9 seem really familiar. Then I realise they look like they came straight out of those ready-to-use template sites. #9 in particular looks horrid. What is it doing here?

    My favorites: #2, #8, #10

    -1
  31. 31

    Wow, great websites from a design point of view. The new logo looks really good..

    0
  32. 32

    Katrineholm Review

    April 27, 2007 2:35 am

    But they lack humor. They’re stiff.

    -3
  33. 33

    I like how clean they are.

    -1
  34. 34

    Great collection. My vote goes to Adesus.
    In the “dark side”: Agentur 52eins
    And what about this one?

    -2
  35. 35

    You know, the six bullet points are an excellent guide to business sites that work and “work” is singularly the most important.But our swedish freind summed it up they are stiff and lack humour. Dont be afraid of humour, IF you know how to use it! One last thing, learn how to write clear and compelling copy. Most get wrapped up in flash and dynamics that they forget the visitor wants INFORMATION !
    Fine guidlines though. Thanks

    0
  36. 36

    Nice to see some relatively non-web2.0 designs in there.

    -1
  37. 37

    No e-commerce sites? (Well, besides that Jewelbox one, which just sells 1 product.) Most of these websites appear to be text-oriented. They’re largely for consulting and service companies, so it’s no surprise that they’re big, fancy brochures.

    I have my own notions about what it takes for an e-commerce site to be successful (especially since I work at one), but I was hoping for some insight.

    -1
  38. 38

    Triplecrowncs stock graphic looks like a guy about to smash a coconut on his head.

    (I hate stock photos on web sites.)

    1
  39. 39

    This is a press release, not an informative article.

    0
  40. 40

    9 is not a template?!

    Take a look at the code, it is clearly a bespoke build.

    My fave is #1

    0
  41. 41

    11 almost perfect business layout? I don’t think so. There are 2 that might qualify, 8 snorers and 1 that has serious accessibility problems.

    Graphically they are technically competent. The have clean code, and generally good typography and use balance of white space. IA and usability are almost all above average. But are they effective marketing tools?

    As far as providing a quickly identifiable brand or anything memorable, they mostly don’t cut it Two do a nice job of providing unique branding, Triple Crown and Web9. Exceel is pretty but has white space problems and embeds the navigation in a useless Flash animation, which should have excluded it from your list. The others? Forgettable.

    I don’t know about the non-english sites but most of the front page copy is marketing speak babble. A superior website has superior content that includes obvious calls to action and focuses on user needs, and which excludes marketing speak and self-focused filler. None of these is superior an most poor in quality content.

    Look at sites like Mint and Coda for examples of compelling content and good layout. Both are still too Web 2.0 looking for my tastes but they are highly effective.

    0
  42. 42

    @MILA: WEB9 is sited (headquarters) at Thailand, really.

    0
  43. 43

    Скакунов Александр

    April 28, 2007 3:45 am

    Really cool

    0
  44. 44

    Excellent sites

    0
  45. 45

    1st 3 websites are good, but the rest are average..
    1 site I would ask you to add is VIRGIN.com. Its got the best interface.

    0
  46. 46

    Nur Ahmad Furlong

    April 28, 2007 7:30 pm

    Mmmm … I’m a little disappointed in this one. I think the list of points which were used to determine effectiveness is ok “ish”, but the sites selected do not live up to the quality we have come to expect from the Smashing team. The exceel, Bright Finance, Web 9 are very poor examples. Some of the other examples display very nice use of whitespace but lack any other significant “perfection”. ROIsure’s choice of background colour for their logo has let them down and lost them major brand focus. I think the example which comes closest is SUMagency. They have a strong brand presence, clean layout, clear focus, no unnecessary elements though I think their use of whitespace has gone a bit over the top. I still love “smashing mag” but hope this post is a lesson in not getting too complacent after past successes. Don’t shoot the messenger!

    0
  47. 47

    The website suggested by Sanchit is nice but in Flash, with a poor navigation system. Each time you click on an item to view its page, the menu fade away and you have to click on the BACK button to get back to the navigation menu. This is annoying and lack usability. Surely this website should not be in this list.

    This list is cool and there are surely over website that can be added to this list. listapart website, to my opinion rocks.

    0
  48. 48

    Very nice Layouts. My favourite: Brightfinance

    0
  49. 49

    Terinea Tech Tips

    April 29, 2007 1:11 am

    They all look good, but make sure you visit the site see how they look when the footers/bottom part the site aren’t visible on 1024 by 768 screens. Some of these designs look better when snap and resized as a picture.

    0
  50. 50

    Lowell Henderson

    April 29, 2007 2:54 am

    Nice layouts, very clean and functional.

    0
  51. 51

    Great websites! I saw that jewelboxing one two years ago! Realyl stands the test of time. Even as optical discs become fast redundant?

    0
  52. 52

    Nice, clean business designs.

    Folietto looks really good!

    0
  53. 53

    Quick question: I’m looking for great layout that will help me reduce clutter on the home page (NYWellnessGuide.com). There is tons of information and I’m looking for examples to help me solve this. If you know of any layouts with tons of info that are well organized, please let me know. Contact through website or post it here. Thank you all in advance. This site rocks. So many great posts.

    0
  54. 54

    Hey Sanchit, Virgin site is crap.

    0
  55. 55

    Terrific Websites. My personal fav.. Web9..

    0
  56. 56

    “Hmmm. When I look at them I immediately think that the site will be completely content devoid.”

    QFMFT. 90% of these “almost perfect sites” are horrid. Especially Triple Crown. I love how people use Templates from unnamed websites, and then get awards and recognition like this for it.

    GG Triple Crown.

    0
  57. 57

    Sumagency is my favorite. Web design is really about communication rather than something else.

    -1
  58. 58

    Web9 is awesome!! juz left me wondering from where the stunning layout is comingcfrom

    0
  59. 59

    Nice article, thank you very much!!!
    Web9 is a template (published at cssbeauty or w3csites, can not remember, but seen before for sure). Still good by the way.

    -1
  60. 60

    Web9 very similar… err I mean cloned:
    http://jwsconsultants.co.uk/

    0
  61. 61

    these are dam cool design!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    -1
  62. 62

    Never thought about it. IThey are absolutely gorgeous!

    0
  63. 63

    Nice picks. I think ASHRM deserves a mension too.

    -1
  64. 64

    Great sites! Thanks very match!

    0
  65. 65

    Folietto has nice shades of blue. Why didn’t I checked it before.

    0
  66. 66

    web9 THAILAND — HOME PAGE not working (non-functioning), but other pages seem to be fine. Almost like they lost their CSS for the HOME PAGE, i.e., text is present but that’s it.

    0
  67. 67

    Коллекционер бизнес-идей

    February 19, 2008 3:52 am

    It’s impossible to define objectively the best business layouts. Overyone can name ones own 11.

    0
  68. 68

    #10 imo is the best site…

    0
  69. 69

    I really love sumagency.com design and layout.
    thanks

    0
  70. 70

    SUM is an apple.com rip off… you can do better than that. Simple candy face websites don’t cut it. All this color in Brightfinaance and ROI, and the smart-white-space-wannabees is something I expect from novice designers. You should raise the bar a little bit.

    One good (not perfect) business website: http://www.microsoft.com (Apple’s is better but you’ve seen it already :)

    0
  71. 71

    Great websites, I used to look at Template Monster for inspiration, but this website is awesome for inspirational show cases.

    Thanks

    0
  72. 72

    interesting tips of small business sites, worth viewing; a lot of useful information.. thanks for the article!
    i think i’ll add one more business site to this list – http://bizaims.com
    i have also found some curious information (an article) about how to begin a small business on the internet… good ideas.

    0
  73. 73

    Nice!

    Republic Of China(Taiwan) is not People’s Republic of China(Red China)!!!

    0
  74. 74

    far from perfect…

    0
  75. 75

    not too perfect

    0
  76. 76

    I think this site should be up there…http://www.clintonbeattie.co.uk

    Easy navigation, just the right amount of information and some nice appropriate use of javascript.

    0
  77. 77

    it seems the author’s choice very personal. i would say those examples are generally good. but not brillant,

    0
  78. 78

    These are not perfect examples of business website i think yahoo.com stands out from the rest

    0
  79. 79

    They look too generic every business has a soul, it is art to capture one I believe WestCoastWeb.com did a good job there.

    0
  80. 80

    Alexander M Kerr

    March 15, 2010 9:07 am

    Paleeez; this is not an informative article – most of these are achingly formulaic, at best ordinary – even effective – stencils. Any monkey can google genuine innovative and elegant sites. Do the experiment: “beautiful websites”. Hey Smashing:The authors of this “perfect” inadvert advert ripped you off man.

    1
  81. 81

    I just stumbled upon this old article.. thanks for sharing!

    0
  82. 82

    my bum bum leak brown stuff :)

    3
  83. 83

    IF you see a scary man don’t go into his van
    He likes your style becvause he is a pediofile

    2
  84. 84

    yea yea you know what I’m saying
    cause 1 divided by 2 = 3 divided by four = my intelectality
    cause E=Mc2

    1
  85. 85
  86. 86

    why is S.MOUSE sooooooo FUNNAYYY !!??? ahahahah

    1
  87. 87

    I was going to bitch about the cheap and bland feel of those layouts, but just noticed the article is from 2007!

    0

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