Pants: Digital Sugar Designs

 |  Interwebs, Review, The Pants Awards

When you tell the world that you have “7 years of experience in the field“, it helps if you show that so-called experience off. And no, blurring a few dodgy photographs so that the subject looks like they’re being melted under a 500W halogen lamp does not count as experience in the field. Only in your imagination does that even begin to look professional.

When you tell the world that you “can create beautiful CSS for your website and make it look vibrant and professional“, I expect the most elegant and wonderfully presented CSS document of all time; tabs or 4-space indentation for preference. I don’t expect to discover that you’re actually referring to the website as being visually vibrant, because the misuse of ‘CSS’ makes me very angry.

When you tell the world that you can install Cutenews, because “[it] is a powerful and easy to use news management system” and you don’t end that sentence with “that will ultimately result in your website being hacked by a 9 year old script kiddie from Russia” I have to question your competence as a user of the Internet, never mind as someone who claims to have “coded in PHP”.

Amarilys, your “design site” is the 14th winner of the highly coveted (hahaha) Pants Award. Do the world a favour and finish your design schooling before you con anyone else out of hard earned cash; distributing Dreamweaver bloat in place of a real website is not the way to do it.

pants award

Feel free to direct link :)

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

68 comments so far

  1. Julie said:

    Hurray, a pants award!

    I think the site is centered for a smaller resolution.

    She also claims to know Javascript. Like that Highslide JS thing…totally not hers.

    And she uses a Bravenet form.

  2. Veronica said:

    She charges $299+ for that …. what? Her retouches wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t go so overboard with some of the effects, the point of retouching is so it’s not so utterly obvious. Says she’s also a graphic design student, maybe she’ll actually learn something from that?

  3. Mimi said:

    It’s been a while since the last pants award, I was beginning to miss them! But seriously, people actually pay for her “services”? I don’t know who is crazier, her for charging people or people for actually buying it. :Q

  4. Allie said:

    Everyone has to start some- who am I kidding? “I’ve taught myself everything there is to know about Graphic and web design.” For some reason I don’t believe her. Eek, her contact form even has a different color for the background of text inputs and the background of text areas.

  5. Maria said:

    You missed where she suggested installing Wak’s (outdated and highly insecure) Ask and Answer. I’m surprised that she didn’t boast her excellent spelling skills because “staright” and “whit” should always be used in the English language.

    Tee hee, this makes me laugh:
    “…easier to find my search engines like Google and Yahoo search.”

  6. Margot said:

    Wow, I hate how she’s got minor Photoshop manipulations listed as a graphic design service. As somebody who’s studying graphic design at university and getting a degree in it, I’m almost offended. Graphic design is so much more than using Photoshop. I sincerely hope she doesn’t refer to herself as a professional graphic designer. I bet she has no sense of good graphic communication or typography, and those are cornerstones of graphic design, and all of this existed years and years before Adobe or even the computer had been invented. When she learns that Photoshop =/= graphic design, then she can start calling herself a designer. Although I’d rather she didn’t.

  7. Chien Yee said:

    Omgz, I can haz no idea hw to do posterize D: And oh, blurring is such a hard tool! Halp!

    Eww to her designs and services. I think Digital Sugar Designs itself shows a failed web 2.0 design. I also love how her website’s content goes all the way down with a big fat block of utter blankness.

    If she gets that much money for her services, and I did the same, I’d be hell rich by now. Just that I’d feel so guilty for charging rocket high prices for crap service.

    I agree with what Margot says. I mean, you don’t have to study a graphic design course to be a graphic designer. Graphic designers don’t necessarily need Photoshop to excel. I bet she’d be clueless without it.

  8. Vera said:

    Well her design is not that bad, although her padding is either nonexistent or steadily decreasing for some weird reason o_O
    Does she even know what state of art means?
    “Cute news is a powerful and easy to use news management system that uses flat files to store its database.” — WUT?

    As for the prices, they’re comparable to what you’d have to pay here if a professional webdesign company did your site. Well yeah they’re cheaper, but then prices in general here are cheaper then in the US.

    Her coding is not necessarily incorrect, but for someone who claims to have taught herself the ins and out of coding it’s rather mediocre.

  9. Mumblies said:

    Oh if ever there were a site worthy of the prestigeous ‘Pants’ award it is this one! Nicely spotted Jem :) Nice pants too lol

  10. Rich said:

    As butt-ugly as the code structure (I use that term loosely) may be, and as laughable as the claims made on the site are, I will give full credit to her for actually making her XHTML and CSS fully validate. Most “pants” (they’re knickers, surely?!) award winners rarely get that far.

    Mind you, it could have been totally unintentional. Dreamweaver may have done it for her without her realising it :)

  11. Jem said:

    @Rich: If I recall correctly (I’ve only used Dreamweaver about 3 times; not once out of choice) if you select the right option when creating the new document, you can just drag and drop crap on to the page and it will create it all 100% valid. Certainly it requires no actual knowledge of what a tag is or what it does.

  12. Grax said:

    At first glance I thought “Say, this sites not too bad. A bit generic but not too bad”.

    Then I turned off the CSS…

    What in the blue hell is this person doing slapping a huge image as the background. Why didn’t she slice up the headers??

    And don’t get me started with all the excess bloated code under the bonnet.

  13. Allie said:

    @Vera: actually, a database is any (large) collection of data that is organized and can be searched. That’s a loose definition for one, anyway. A filing cabinet could be referred to as a database so technically she’s right to say that the flat files are a database. Now if she had called it a relational database she’d be wrong.

  14. Margot said:

    @Chien Yee: Actually, I do think you should take a graphic design course in order to become a graphic designer, or at least a good and proper one for the real world. I’ve been a part of this design community online for years (I used to go by Anataya and I owned Animekandi Designs), and for a long time I considered myself a graphic designer. Then I came to university and realized that while I knew a bit about design, it was nothing compared to what there was to learn and what I’d missed as a self-taught designer.

    I didn’t even see on the site that she’s a student in design school, in which case, judging by this work, I doubt she’s doing very well, especially if she thinks Photoshop is all there is to graphic design. You DO NOT need Photoshop to be a graphic designer. It’s just a tool. You can be one with a pen or pencil just as well. People were doing it for hundreds of years before now. Logos and symbols are all graphic designs, and typography has really been around since writing was invented. They certainly didn’t have Photoshop. Look at the posters designed by Alphonse Mucha, for example, during the Art Nouveau period of the 1920’s. There definitely weren’t computers back then. He used lithographs to do his work. All the computer did when it came along was speed the process up a whole lot. And apparently, it confused people too, and made them think they can be a graphic designer just by owning a copy of that stupid program.

  15. Lee said:

    I wonder how many people would pay for someone to create a website for them. I would have thought a better idea would have been to pay a smaller fee to go on some college course to have a basic understanding or just use one of those ready made sites.

  16. Arwen said:

    Just because someone has “7 years of experience” does not make them a good designer. It’s not the amount of experience one has, it’s how they apply that experience.

  17. Allie said:

    Vera: I was just giving a few examples of databases. I never said that a filing cabinet was a good example of a database, just that it is also a collection of organized data that can be searched, albeit manually and not by a computer. Relational databases aren’t the only types of database. At any rate, look up flat file database online sometime if you don’t believe me. It’s a real thing, I promise. While she may have, well, almost everything else wrong on her site she’s right to say that flat files can be used for a database.

    Also, you’re right: programs are algorithms. However, not all algorithms are programs. Your website says you’re a programmer so you probably already know that.

  18. Christina said:

    “I can crete banners and buttons for your web site that will attract even more visitors! I can make them animated or static.”
    O.o Oh god.

  19. Vera said:

    Allie: I did look up flat-file databases, and I found the logic behind considering some of them databases and others not, rather flawed. Just because there are a lot of people considering flat files a possible database model, it doesn’t mean I agree with the logic behind their reasoning. Especially when csv files are accepted, but not xml files. The latter is much easier to parse than a csv file.

  20. Rafia said:

    It reminds me of those personal sites from way back when that had oodles and oodles of simple two-click tutorials.

    I mean really, I can make photos look like art too in PS… and I can figure that out on my own.

    The rest of the site is not that bad though… but honestly, I never saw the point in most “design” sites. Most just aren’t that good.

  21. Chien Yee said:

    @Margot, there are some that are self taught though, but then again it isn’t a 100% must, although it’s better, I know. :)

    … I just don’t know how to really express myself. =X

  22. Margot said:

    @Chien Yee: There aren’t many self-taught designers out there who are really successful and working for good agencies/companies or running their own. There’s just so much to learn that you wouldn’t even think of looking up were it not pointed out to you by a teacher or another designer.

    What’s she’s doing can hardly be called design though. They’re photo manipulations at best. I don’t even know why she would call that graphic design – she’s not DESIGNING anything!

  23. Carly said:

    ^ and to add to your point margot, most of the photo manips seem to be images of celebs already taken off the net, ergo most likely already manip’d. She seems to be adding effects on top of effects!! Random… plus most of them look odd, bleached out and ott.

    My advice to her, if you’re not already studying graphic design, do… or at least pick up a graphic design book… I have a brill book which basically highlights a lot of things I’d never thought of before. Sure it’s only the tip of a very large iceberg, but a good start. It is called: Design Elements, a graphic style menu.

  24. Amarilys said:

    I was actually in plans of updating everything, and making it a lot better :-( I’ve been crying for hours about certain things that have been happening in my life, I’m not in a good place right now, and I just don’t understand how people can be so mean.

    You all have extremely valid points and I agree…but there’s just a way of saying things. I never thought something like this could hurt that bad (I’m usually not easily offended)…but it does :-(

    Don’t worry I was planning on getting rid of the site already…

    I don’t understand why anybody would enjoy making people feel so bad. How can you be happy with yourself? Why couldn’t you just send me and e-mail with constructive criticism, instead of insulting me?

    I’ve just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I’ve been trying to keep it a secret and stay positive but I thought I might as well let you know why I’ve been depressed. Obviously the site is not one of my main concerns at this moment.

    Please, when you’re going to insult someone, or try to make them feel this bad, think about the things that they might be going through. You might be causing more damage than you think :-(

    You have a very lovely site.

  25. Jem said:

    Wow, that’s the best come-back for a pants award yet. “You can’t tell me my site sucks because I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer”. Well, I hate to break it to you, but your site still sucks.

    In fact, I think this is most appropriate:

    tiny violin

  26. Erica said:

    Jem, I don’t think that she’s saying “you can say my site sucks because I have cancer.” She’s saying “I have cancer, I’ve been really down about it, and now you went and made my day worse.” I think she has a valid point that you could send emails (or write blogs) giving constructive criticism instead of the somewhat insulting pants award.

    Not to say I don’t enjoy your pants awards.

  27. Amarilys said:

    I’m not saying my site doesn’t suck…that’s perfectly find if you think it does. It’s just that you were so mean about it. And I don’t understand why you’re picking on me to this extent, I have never done anything to you…I just made a site that you didn’t like, but why do you feel the need to hurt me? I don’t get it.

    But I guess…you just have no sympathy for anybody.

    And yeah, whatever, I have cancer. How can you call that a “comeback”? I just told you I am going to die :-( Only to let everyone know why I’m depressed and why I’m taking things hard at the moment. But whatever, obviously that doesn’t mean my site doesn’t suck…but it means that maybe you should be so mean to me…All I want is happiness, I want to feel good, and I want harmony, I don’t need this as one of the last things that happens to me in life.

    I don’t know how you can feel okay about this :-/

  28. Jem said:

    Not to say I don’t enjoy your pants awards.

    Right… isn’t that a tad hypocritical?

    I don’t need this as one of the last things that happens to me in life.

    So go and do something constructive, instead of whining on here? You said it yourself, you’ve obviously have much more important things to concern yourself over.

    If you’re looking for sympathy, you won’t find it from me.

  29. Amarilys said:

    I’m not trying to whine…I was just brought up to know not to hurt people. I know that being mean and hurting people’s feelings is not a good thing to do. I care about people’s feelings and at least I know I’m a good person :-)

    Don’t worry this will be one of the last days I’ll be online, I have other things to worry about. But I just want to say…I hope you have a wonderful life, I hope you get to make all your dreams come true, I hope you live a long healthy and happy life, and that you get to experience lots of good stuff. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

    Lots of love <3

  30. Nick | Resource Pile said:

    hehe, this is awesome! The comments are even funnier! I have to say though, @Amarilys, if you really have been diagnosed, then this petty issue shouldn’t be of concern, although, from my experience on the internet, I don’t actually (or never will) know the truth. At the end of the day, cancer or not, your site indeed sucked (because it seems to have vanished?).

  31. Sarah said:

    Surely if you were dying of cancer you would have blogged about it or something? Why whine on Jem’s site? If you really are dying of cancer then go and do something fun, which means not having an argument on the Internet.

    Cancer is a horrible disease. If you are making it up, you’re one sick person.

  32. Catherine said:

    Have to agree with a few of the above commentators.

    If you do have cancer, I am sorry about your situation. However since this is the first ever mention of your illness, this Pants Award was awarded without any bias either way. Jem was not looking to make a dying girl feel worse, and if that was the case I don’t think of us commentators would be happy with that idea.

    However if you are lying about this illness, then you are more horrible than what you are making Jem out to be.

  33. Erica said:

    “Right… isn’t that a tad hypocritical?” -Jem

    Possibly. I enjoy the humor in them, and because I know that you’re not intentionally being mean but being very, very blunt. (Which is why I love ya, Jem.) But, obviously, words are pretty expressionless and can be taken different ways. *shrugs*

    And I agree wholeheartedly with Catherine above me. *points*

  34. Samantha said:

    Jem, You know that you know what you’re talking about. When someone receives a pants award, it’s always hard for them to read the facts when they think they know everything already. Especially when someone has “self-taught” because most likely, they learned from a shoddy source. Good coding is what it is or it isn’t… emotions have nothing to do with it.

  35. Jem said:

    …that made no sense to me whatsoever, Samantha. Either I’m tired, or you worded that really badly.

    Although, not sure what being self-taught has to do with anything, because I managed to teach myself what I know and not turn out as a total idiot.

  36. Mimi said:

    Gonna jump right on in here and agree that this sudden mention of cancer is just above and beyond any excuse ever. I remember when I was 12-15ish on the internet, people used to say shit like that all the time. It’s the way she said it, you know?

    “I wasn’t going to mention this but…”

    Please. If you weren’t going to mention it, then why bother mentioning it now? It’s a sorry ass excuse and it saddens me that I see people dying of cancer every day that don’t have to go telling everyone about it. Especially on the internet. What’s next? Will she ask for “donations” so she can go see (insert exotic country name here) before she dies?

    Then lets see, she disappears from the internet dramatically and starts a new site with a completely new identity. No one is ever the wiser.

    Been there, seen that. It’s a used storyline and it’s completely pathetic that you need that much attention.

    Damn Jem, look what your site does to me! :3

  37. Lauren said:

    I am going to die :(

    Is it bad that I LOLed at the tasteless use of smilies?

    Amarilys, if you do have cancer I have nothing but sympathy. But it’s really neither here nor there when it comes to this.

  38. Allan said:

    Hi. I have read all of the comments here about this design site and the other sites you deem deserving of your hostilities. I have a few questions. How did you find these sites? What are you measuring them up to? Who made you the measurer and why do you bother? You seem to do it for the laughs as it contributes absolutely nothing except as a form of cyberbullying and a forum for the same. It seems to me that some of the comments directed at these few site owners should be directed towards the peanut gallery that converge on this site to humiliate and degrade persons who have done nothing except try and make a website. Exactly how many websites did you, or your cohorts, look at before deciding to harrass that person to the point of taking down their website? And why do some of you feel so proud about that? I would like a link to all of your sites, if you even have one, to see how perfect a website should be. Since you and yours seem to be the standard the rest of the world should be held up against I really need to view such self promoted perfection. God forbid I ever make a typo and you pounce on it like an Internet Rambo. Thank you for your time and courage,


  39. Jem said:

    Hi Allan, I’ll try and answer your questions for you…

    How did you find these sites?

    Sometimes other people nominate a site, sometimes I find them just browsing the Internet. In this case, I found the site linked from another site that was linked from someone who a visitor had nominated for a Pant’s Award.

    What are you measuring them up to?

    Does “common sense” and “good taste” count as an answer here?

    Who made you the measurer and why do you bother?

    Nobody; that’s the beauty of opinions… they’re like arseholes, everyone’s got one. I “bother” because I can.

    You seem to do it for the laughs as it contributes absolutely nothing except as a form of cyberbullying and a forum for the same.

    I’ve spoke of my thoughts on this being “bullying” in another post.

    Exactly how many websites did you, or your cohorts, look at before deciding to harrass that person to the point of taking down their website?

    I look at thousands of websites every week. There is no set number or way I decide who should receive a Pants Award… let’s call it a gut feeling. My “cohorts”, as you call them, have nothing to do with who I choose to post about. I often reject nominations, the decision is ultimately mine.

    As for deeming it harassment, “LOL” was all that came to mind.

    And why do some of you feel so proud about that?

    Proud about what?

    I would like a link to all of your sites, if you even have one, to see how perfect a website should be.

    Everyone who has a website has their name linked in blue; you’re on mine.

    I think that’s everything? Do be sure to comment if you have any more questions.

  40. Mira said:

    The site is down, so I don’t know what to say about it. However, it really looks like nobody can take Pants award with dignity. I mean on the winners, of course. Ok, so you got a pants award. Nice. You also got about 32556346 new unique hits. Is that SO bad? A bit humiliating? Perhaps. Maybe even cruel. But you decided to go online, to present your website to the world. OF COURSE you’ll get both positive and negative criticism. If you really like your site the way it is, who would you close it? Because of a sarcastic-or-whatever review you got?

  41. Mimi said:

    I totally freaking called her dramatically leaving the internet!!! She couldn’t just leave, no. She had to put up a little whine before she left! Ha!

  42. Theresa said:

    Why in the hell does everyone you give the pants award to take their damn sites down? It’s getting tiring. I would, for once, like to watch someone push through the talk. Because when it comes down to it Jem, that’s all it is. They’re just WORDS. No offense but why in the hell do they care whether you like their site or not? Why in the hell do they care about the endless comments that get left on here? In the words of my boyfriend, “You don’t pay my bills and you don’t suck my dick. When you start doing those two things, I’ll give a shit what you think about me.” Anyway, it’s just a short ramble. Not sorry for all the vulgarness.

  43. Adrianne said:

    Ah, too late. The site’s closed. =T

    You know this person (the owner) reminded me of someone I know in real life… those sensitive types where they suffer something (like having problems with her boyfriend and all other guys she’s seeing behind her boyfriend’s back, etc.) that brings their self-esteem down and uses that something as an excuse for all their mishaps and mistakes from everything else. It seems like based on the comments that Amarilys wrote here I don’t think she’s experienced what “tough love” is, which was probably why she couldn’t ignore the Pants Award review. (That is, if the Pants Award can be considered “tough love”… to one’s own point of view I guess)

    Arwen: Just because someone has “7 years of experience” does not make them a good designer. It’s not the amount of experience one has, it’s how they apply that experience.

    I agree with what Arwen said here. Experience doesn’t mean jack when it comes to building websites that conform to today’s web standards or graphics that are easy to the general visitors’ eyes. I’ve been building sites for a long time now (probably even longer than that owner) but at the same time I know that there’s always going to be others who are better than I am, experience or not. Besides, I’m the type who likes to learn and apply new things. It’s a lot more fun learning new things than declare to the world that I’m some expert or something.

  44. C. Hal said:

    LOL she re-opened her site and apparently spends lots of time on Facebook. Kind of stark in comparison to being diagnosed with terminal cancer and her previous comments on this post being among “one of her last days online.” She said in her blog she didn’t think leaving would have such an impact, but seriously, you tell people who like your site you’re about to die and you think they wouldn’t care? I know it’s the internet and all, but come on.