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[MBC] - Monthly Banner Contest | February 2012 - Voting Thread


le quant-à-soi

[MBC] - Monthly Banner Contest

February 2012 Voting Thread

The submission period for the February 2012 Monthly Banner Contest has passed, and it is now the time for you to cast your votes on the entries! Firstly, let me remind you of this month's requirements:

  • Theme: - Music
  • Medium: - Banner & Icon Set
  • Specifics: - Banner Size: 390 x 150 pixels; Icon Size: 100 x 100 pixels. The banner and the icon must complement each other; they do not necessarily have to feature the same style/render/etc, but they must complement each other and clearly form a set.
  • Animation Permitted? - No

Before you cast your votes, though, I must refer you back to the voting rules which can be found towards the end of the first post in this thread.

For the sake of clarity, I ask that you adhere to the following format when placing your votes.

Use this form please.
[B]Entry 1[/B] - Brief critique (at the very least, one or two sentences)

[B]Entry 2[/B] - Brief critique (at the very least, one or two sentences)

[B]Entry 3[/B] - Brief critique (at the very least, one or two sentences)

[B]Entry 4[/B] - Brief critique (at the very least, one or two sentences)

[B]Entry 5[/B] - Brief critique (at the very least, one or two sentences)

[B]Entry 6[/B] - Brief critique (at the very least, one or two sentences)

[B]Entry 7[/B] - Brief critique (at the very least, one or two sentences)

[B]Entry 8[/B] - Brief critique (at the very least, one or two sentences)

[I]I would like to place my vote for[/I] [B]Entry ___[/B] because ____________

I would also like to remind you that if your vote is deemed inadequate because you did not provide critique or did not provide adequate critique for each and every piece, your vote may not be considered valid. Continually spamming or placing invalid votes may result in an infraction, so consider this to be your warning.

Also, please note that you are voting for a banner + icon set; you cannot vote, for example, for Entry 3's banner and Entry 7's icon. You must instead vote for Entry 3's banner and icon.

Inside the following spoiler you will find the eight entries I received. When voting, please ensure you take note of all the rules.

Voting will close at midday (GMT) this Saturday. I will then announce the winner sometime on Saturday night (GMT).

Best of luck to all of the contestants!

ENTRY 1 - "This is the lead singer/guitarist of a band called Muse."

ENTRY 2 - No description provided.

ENTRY 3 - "Michael Kiwanuka, a british singer/songwriter from north London. I highly recommend looking him up, writes some great stuff."

ENTRY 4 - "Both the banner and avatar feature singer Amanda Palmer and the banner contains lyrics from her song "Sing.""

ENTRY 5 - "I chose Taylor Swift because she's one of my favourite singers."

ENTRY 6 - "I based my banner on the famous Japanese Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku. I chose her because I’ve always loved her songs and they always inspire me."

ENTRY 7 - "Vector Daft Punk Banner."

ENTRY 8 - "I listen to music hardly ever. I thought an anime-style would be the best I could accomplished for this contest. As you can see, the girl is wearing headphones and sheet music is visible through the background."

I think that's about it. If you have any questions, please let me know and I'll try my best to respond reasonably quickly. Best of luck to the contestants once again!
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Well-Known Member
Entry 1 - I really like the colors used on this one. The avatar isn't so great, the text is really hard to read and I would've probably never knew it said Muse without the description. The banner has the same problem. It would've been better without text. The border on the left of the banner also looks out of place to me.

Entry 2 - The avatar looks blurry to me but I like the texture used in the background. It doesn't look like much has been done to the banner, and it's a bit too bright fir my taste.

Entry 3 - I like the idea behind this banner. I really like the music notes floating next to the banner. The banner itself is okay, but the text says the same thing twice, and one of those times it's really hard to read. The frames on the left of the banner also show irrelevant parts of the image. About the avatar, it's just a cropped banner and the text cuts off.

Entry 4 - The avatar looks good, I like the colors & the texture. The banners looks good too, but I think it would've looked better without the small text. The image on the left doesn't seem so sharp, and the neck looks weird imo.

Entry 5 - Not really a fan of the banner / avatar. The avatar looks like an image has been pasted on a background and the sides have been erased. The font also looks blurry. There's too much text on the banner & the text also looks blurry to me. I do like the colors used, blue & purple together can turn out quite nice.

Entry 6 - The avatar is good, but again, I feel like the text shouldn't be there. It's hard to read. In the banner the render seems to get lost on the left side. My attention goes to the "ice cubes" or whatever it is first. Too bad cause it looks like a good render to work with.

Entry 7 - I like the colors used, and I really like the vector style. But perhaps it's a bit too much all those colors. I like the text on the banner. But I feel it's missing something, not sure what. I also like the render used.

Entry 8 - I like the music texture in the background. And again, I feel the text is a bit too hard to read. The text doesn't look very special too. On the banner there's some weird black spot on the left of it, it doesn't look normal. Otherwise it's good.

I would like to place my vote for Entry 4 because I like it the most. It was a choice between the first banner and this banner, but I choose Entry 4 mostly because it's one of the only banners with decent text which is also readable. Entry 1 would've gotten my vote if it had better text.
Entry 1 - I love the composition, the empty thing on the left gives it a cool contrast kind of thing with the right side. It's a little too sharp however. The icon is a little too messy for my taste.

Entry 2 - Bubble effects and a matching color don't make a banner. The same with the icon.

Entry 3 - Really nice idea. Poor placement however. Rule of Thirds. The icon is very nice however, a little bland though.

Entry 4 - overcontrasted... it's all over the place. Makes it really straining to look at.

Entry 5 - Bad placement. Should have thought more about the colors. The blue is all over the place and the little portrait is orange? At least add in some more orange to get a nicer contrast.

Entry 6 - It's very bright. And the render is tucked away in a single corner. Pretty boring to look at.

Entry 7 - Lots of colors make it interesting. The vector decoration works great with the render. I do miss the lighting you can see on the helmet of the left guy.

Entry 8 - The colours are very dark and tucked away. Also, messy pixely splatter.

I would like to place my vote for Entry 7 because it has used the render to its full potential with the style chosen and performed extraordinairly. Really would have liked that lighting though.


Sorry if I did not comment all that much on the icons. It's because I don't know anything about icon design and I better keep my thoughts on those to myself. Wouldn't want to give dumb critique.

Entry 1 was a close second. Really anxious as to see who the people behind these cool tags were.

On second thought maybe it was best I didn't enter after all. :redface:

Really cool entries. As I said, 1 and 7 in particular.

EDIT- I'll add some more detailed critique later.
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Entry 1 - Good attempt, the composition of the banner is very well done, the contrasts and dynamics in the graphic help to highlight the focal point. However, for me there was an issue with the focal point in that there seemed to be a clash of two; by this I man that the focus of the banner is torn between the text and the render. I think the area around the text is too sharp and in focus, which detracts from the render. Because of the way the text is styled, I would disagree with some of the above critics in that it seems to have been used as more of a brush or effect, like a well worked displacement rather than poor text. However, if it was intended to be readable then it was indeed a poor attempt.

As much as I'm a fan of the banner, the icon really drags this piece down for me. I personally believe the creator would've been better off bringing the text back into being visible and using that as a focal point, as of now, I don't know where to look. It seems like a more abstract kind of mess, which could be good on a larger piece but I think an icon is too small for such effects. Overall though, a good piece, great blending of the render.

Entry 2 - I don't really have any problem with the techniques worked on this banner, the aesthetics are all good enough. However, the artist doesn't show a broad range of skills, it looks like the image has been slightly contrasted with the colours turned up a bit and a splatter brush thrown in the corner. The strengths are that the colours all work well together, its nicely focused and the brushes used compliment the image well, without detracting from the focus. I think what's really let the artist down here is a lack of ambition, perhaps the wrong choice of image. I think the image doesn't really lend to the dynamics, the artist should've tried to work more with the flow of the render and follow the movement created by the arms. Overall, a well worked stock image- but one that lacks creativity.

The icon is again dissapointing for me, the render is a bit out of focus, it's over-contrasted and the effects on the image don't really add anything too it. I think a wide border would've helped control and reduce the contrasting issues, so again, not bad, but not a winning icon.

Entry 3 - Kind of cheating the space a little bit by filling it with empty space and some rendered music notes, It still looks OK but it shows the artist was incapable of filling out that space with other mediums. The music notes suit the banner, however, they are blurred around the edges and lose a bit of their focus from the drop shadow which the main banner is lacking, this looks unprofessional and should be sorted out. I like the placement and colour of the text, it suits the banner and creates some kind of flow which is otherwise absent from this piece- Although the image doesn't lend itself to flow. However, the text in the background doesn't add anything to the banner and just appears pointless. The little photo frames look OK, but I think they'd be better placed at the side of the image, I prefer that they're abstract though, sometimes when people put in a section which is from the focal point I think it creates a clash.

I like the icon for this, the colours are nice and its nicely contrasted. One of the few icons which doesn't crowd out the space it's in, the text works well enough as something to break up the image without damaging the focal.

Entry 4 - I feel like the artist has tried too much (where do you draw the line? Nobody knows.) One of the few banners where I think the text is well executed and well placed, In saying this i refer to the main body of text, I'm not a fan of the font used for the smaller text- it doesnt suit the style of the banner and seems unnecessary. The main render seems very over-contrasted, and doesn't blend well with the background at all, some of the text used seems to have been left on her sking which because of the over-contrasting makes the effect too obvious and detracts from the focal. Because the banner is quite bright overall, I don't think the dark brushes suit the piece, and the one of the right seems to go against the flow. I like the smaller image in this banner, it's well blended and doesn't detract from any of the focus- a good fill for what would otherwise have been empty space.

Again the icon is poor in my oppinion, although it has good colours and lighting, the render is in hideous condition. You can see some quite obvious pixel splatter around the head in particular which should really have been dealt with without too much effort required.

Entry 5 - I don't like how the main render is half-covered by a texture which is far too invasive across the whole banner, don't go over the render too much! Fundamental stuff. The background in this banner seems quite poorly put together, its a blended mix of textures and brushes which clash, I think you'd have been better off laying down a background and then just blending in the render before adding in any effects, instead of applying layers on top of the render first. The text doesn't really work, there's too much of it and I'm not a fan of the fonts, however, I like how the font is change for emphasis; if theyd have had less text it would've looked better and suited the banner well. The little image put in is a poor gap-filler, it doesnt suit the colours of the rest of the banner and just clashes with everything really, the banner already lacked flow but the picture is far too intrusive. Overall the piece is OK, it has potential if you work on your layour and formatting.

I think the icon is better than the banner, the lighting and flow are quite good, colours are nice. I would’ve chosen to give it a border, as it rounds of the finish and fits well with the brush. The text again seems pointless but it doesn’t class with the image as much and suits the colour well.

Entry 6 – Not a bad piece, The colours are well done and the render has good dynamic. However, I feel you could have done more in the way of flow, the perspective of the render really leads itself to flow in the way the piano is positioned, and you’ve failed to capitalize on this. The brushes you’ve place over the render haven’t really added that much to the effect of the banner, instead they’ve more blurred the focal than anything else. It’s odd because you have the main light source centred on the piano, and yet the girl is more in focus. If you lined up the light with the girl I think it would work better for the overall focus of the piece. Again I think its a bit too light and could do with more contrast, this would make it a lot easier to see the text. I’d have either gone for a 1px black border, or a thick white border to compliment the banner, the blue just doesn’t suit, especially as it’s not quite on the border.

Entry 7 – Love this piece. Great contrast between the (mostly) black and white render, and the colourful vector background. The vector-style in this is pulled off very professionally, the piece has good flow and a good choice of complimentary colours which provide good contrast yet do not clash. The render is really well focused, good balanced of overlayed brushes and patterns which add to the depth. Can’t really complain about the text, it suits and although it’s not terribly exciting it doesn’t hinder the banner and shows that you know how to format text into a graphic well. Great choice of render too, very original. My only preference would be a change in border to either a border which goes around the whole perimeter of the graphic, or one which is thicker above and below.

The avatar is good, one of the best I’ve seen in the competition. However, I think it’s crowded out, you’ve tried to fit so much into that 100square pixels that I’m not sure where to look, and I shouldn’t have that problem with a small piece. However, the softer lighting makes this less of a problem.

Entry 8 – One of the better pieces for lighting, the main focus is very good and well done. The lighting fits the placement of the render which is a well chosen off-centre, this allows for good focus on the text as well- however, the text is hidden by this ugly black gradient which seems to have masked it just a bit too much. I like the fractals you’ve place over the top, they create good flow; however, you need more brightness in the centre, especially with a dull-grey render the banner as a whole lacks contrast. Also, be careful not to leave bits of the fractal floating over your render like they are now. I’d ot have bothered with the semi-transparent background either, it doesn’t fit the rest of the banner. Some of the brushes you’ve used, like the splatter next to the render, take more from the banner than they add to it. Overall though, quite a good piece.

Once again the lighting in the icon is good, not really too much to say about it, I like it. I think it could do with a slightly stronger contrast, and again the colours could be more vivid but I guess that’s just the style its done by.

I would like to place my vote for Entry 7 because I feel that the artist fully met the criteria place before them, the banner fits the theme appropriately and ticks all the boxes as far as making a banner is concerned. The flow is good, the colours, the lighting, placement of text, far better than something I can produce.


Well-Known Member
Entry 1 - Nice colors here and the use of the clipping mask text was quite enjoyable. Seems a bit messy however and the avatar isn't the best.

Entry 2 - I do like this, however it does feel rather plain and without any sort of lasting impression. The avatar is slightly blurry and has some of the same problems as the tag.

Entry 3 - Good overall idea, however I've seen many of those 3-image type rectangles on the sides of tags in my day so just seems a bit too trendy. Also seems a bit plain like the second entry.

Entry 4 - The contrast level appears to be over 9000. I'm also not a fan of the text as it just seems a bit forced. The avatar looks pretty nice though.

Entry 5 - Cool idea but it doesn't seem to be executed too well. The stock on the right just sort of ends and the image is mostly comprised of text. The avatar is nice, despite the random text on it

Entry 6 - I'm liking the atmosphere on this and the text wasn't overdone and didn't look too forced like some of the other ones. One thing I dislike is that the colors are rather plain.

Entry 7 - Nice idea, reminds me of some of the images I used to make a few years ago. The shapes are all rather basic though, which doesn't give the tag very much depth at all.Colors are all over too. Avatar is very nice however, easily the best of the bunch.

Entry 8 - Very nice, would have been great if it wasn't for the splatter behind the render that distracts from the well composed and nicely colored background. Good work incorporating the text as well. Avatar is about the same as the banner.

I would like to place my vote for Entry 8 because the colors and background got it for me mainly, better composed than much of the others. Even though the effects seem to mainly be a c4d, it complimented the rest of it well.
In my decision I place significantly more emphasis on the banner rather than the icon.
Entry 1 - The banner's nice but I feel as if the color scheme doesn't really "fit" Muse. There is also white/blue space on the bottom edge and it kills it for me. The icon is "unreadable", if that makes sense.

Entry 2 - It's a bit too soft/blurry but I like it!

Entry 3 - I'll take the comment's message and check the guy out. In the mean time, the notes on the side of the banner look like brushes, which is okay! But they're a bit blurry. The border should be evened out rather than the sides having a bigger border than the top and bottom. Is the icon just a crop of the banner because some of the text is cut off. When using that sort of "photo frame" effect on the middle of the banner, it's supposed to focus on certain parts of the image but these look like randomly selected pieces. The only focus though is the guy's face and the guitar so using the 3-photo frame effect isn't really... effective here.

Entry 4 - Love the banner but I'm not too keen on the icon itself. Maybe because of the darkness but that's alright. Normally using "vistor/pixel fonts" on this style of banner isn't suggested but putting long lyrics is excusable, imo.

Entry 5 - Very sparkly banner. I like the icon but as for the banner, the text should be a bit more sharp. (but it's a brush? Also could be sharpened) Or if the brush cannot be sharpened, you can duplicate it with the actual fonts. I can't focus on the actual fonts it uses at the moment but hopefully this helps with other text brush uses/workarounds! The image on the right could have been a bit more visible but now it looks like a piece of Taylor Swift's head floating around. The image/photo on the left could've been the actual image without the background. The color scheme for that certain piece is a bit too contrasting compared to the actual banner.

Entry 6 - The icon could have focused more on Hatsune's face and perhaps more readable text? It may just be my resolution screen or brightness but I couldn't tell at first that the last two words of the text were "my life". As for the banner, the image could have been slightly larger. Perhaps the background could have been a darker shade of blue, indigo or turquoise since it's hard to notice the piano there. The border could have been better without the blue strips on the top and bottom or one blue border all around the banner with a size of 1px could be fine. (sort of... maybe white instead)

Entry 7 - I like the banner but it's way too colorful! The icon is actually better than the banner imo but I love the text. (where it goes from one color to another depending on the object it overlaps)

Entry 8 - The brush on the back of the image/render looks a bit random to me. The glow around the image/render too doesn't work too well with me either. The abstract banner is a bit too much for a calm render and music sheets.

I would like to place my vote for Entry 7 because looking back at all the entries, this sticks out the most to me. I do like the 2nd entry too though so here's some imaginary award of my love. XD

Ahh I'm a bit unhappy I didn't join this round. T__T Despite how I already knew who made some of these entries, I did the best I could giving honest comments. Still trying to get the hang of giving proper critiques so I hope some of this helps you out in the future. Perhaps when it's not 3 AM in the morning I'll fix these up before the voting round ends. ^^; Good luck to you guys!
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Did it on 'em
Only commenting on the banners – for the most part, the icons match the style of the banners so one critique can pretty much be used for both.

Entry 1 – To start off, I absolutely love the colour scheme of this banner. All of the colours mix extremely well with one another, and the banner overall has this candy paleness that I really like. The brushes and layering to the left side are pretty much flawless. The background obviously goes very well with the colours on Matthew’s outfit, and I freaking love what you did with the left side melting together with the guitar. The text also fits in extremely well – barely any outline which is my personal preference when it comes to text, and although the ‘E’ is barely noticeable it still is noticeable. The glowiness the left is also really good and the colours flow well. I also like the bar to the left. The only thing that I would change is to eliminate the underlying line on the bottom of the banner. Overall though, this is type of visual amazingness is something I strive for In my graphics.

Entry 2 – The background snow/stars seem too synthetic, and the blue white and pink splotches look blotchy. There’s also a little too much glow for my tastes, and Taylor seems too bright. The colour scheme does look good though, so I will give you credit for that.

Entry 3 – I like the overall feel and style of this banner even though it’s not in my personal style. All of the colours work very well with each other and it looks good. I don’t really understand the stacked squares to Michael’s left though; I see that you were trying to fill up space but the guitar/collar/ear picture segments don’t make any sense.

Entry 4 – The colour scheme and photo exposures work well in this banner. The thing that I notice though is that everything looks too default-settings like and doesn’t appear like you’ve put that much soul into it. Also, I think you should have probably used two photos from the same brick-wall photo shoot rather than the same photo twice.

Entry 5 – The first thing that my eyes were brought to when I looked at this banner was the unreadable text above Taylor’s head. I like the differing sizes and styles of the readable text though. One thing that I don’t like about this banner is that there are too many types of brushes in the background; it looks like there’s way too much going on! One thing that I would change at first glance is to change the colours of the photo to the left to pink/purple.

Entry 6: The colours scheme of this banner is good. Although, for the most part all it looks like you did was to make an image of Hatsune and a scene scape and add some overlaying musical notes. Also, I would change the text so it’s completely uniform.

Entry 7: I really like this banner! The blocky-circley style of this is something I rarely see in artwork but I really like. Also, you make the rainbow array of colors fit very well with the black/white-ness of the band. The all caps text looks good! The banner as a whole is very easy to look at and is very stylish. Good job. ~

Entry 8: The banner overall looks good. The white outline of the banner fits with the white-glow behind the character. The light focuses are really good; generally I don’t fuss with it in my own banners but it is very noticeable in this banner and looks good! The only thing about this banner that could be considered bad is that it looks like a banner that really anyone could make – at least from what I see, there’s no real ‘defining mark’ of an artist and nothing really pops out as that special.

I would like to place my vote for Entry 1 because I like it the most! c:
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le quant-à-soi
---Voting is now closed---

Thankyou everyone for your votes! Overall I was more than pleased with the quality of votes. Thankyou once again.

It is now time to reveal the winner of the first Monthly Banner Contest! Before I do so, here are the people who made each entry:

1. Kamajama
2. meowth_city
3. Win
4. Skiyomi
5. PikaPal_Lyra
6. MagicMochi
7. Mew_
8. Keldeo_647

And therefore, with 3 votes out of 6, the winner of the first MBC is...
Entry #7 - Mew_!

Congratulations Mew_, and congratulations to Keldeo_647, Kamajama and Skiyomi for equal second place. ^_^

And thankyou to everyone for entering the first MBC. It was a blast to host, and I'll see you soon for the March edition of the MBC!


Upcoming Dates

Monday 27th February --> March MBC Thread Posted