Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
Great program, ugly skins
Published on October 12, 2007 By Frogboy In WinCustomize News

 WindowBlinds 6 reviews are starting to perculate. will be covering these reviews (both positive and negative) to let others know what people think of Stardock's new Windows customization utility. has, thus far, the most thorough review we've seen.  It can be summed up as liking the program but not liking the skins.

People not liking the skins made for WindowBlinds is the #1 criticism of WindowBlinds.  The more flexible something is, the more variation you will get.  Of course, another way to look at that is the more rope you give someone, the easier it is for them to hang themselves.

If you were to go through the WindowBlinds gallery and find the ten skins you would recommend to other people, what would they be? And what do you think of the argument that most WindowBlinds skins are ugly? And if so, what can be done?

Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 12, 2007
honestly, the vast majority ARE ugly. . . That is not to say, however, that there are not some truly exceptional skins (and artist) out there: Vstyler, Basj, essorant and Cycoced are just a few of the many exceptional artists. Skins such as Vienna, V2 Spectrum, Glassmaxx, Buuf, Sonix07 and Vectra to name just a couple of dozens of truly great WB themes.

I would like to say, however, that just because I don't necessarily like certain themes, that they are not great to someone else. . . It is all a matter of personal taste, so you have to appreciate the diversity of styles and all of the hard work by all of the artists who submit their work!

I would like to personally thank all of you artists out there who continually submit great work!!
on Oct 12, 2007
My Top 11 (in no order):

  1. DogmaX4
  2. Vector-Cell
  3. Retro
  4. CopperDeckII
  5. ChristmasTime
  6. Aquarium
  7. Blackcomb
  8. K-TEK steel
  9. 5imple
  10. FauxS-TOON
  11. Fett
I think that the new Vista skins are incredible . . but they need to rest like a good wine until I add them to my Top List.

On the whole, I thought the review of the app was good.  I thought the focus on the skins was unfair.  No one criticizes the templates that ship with Word or color schemes in PowerPoint (shudder).

I would have like to see them mention the recoloring that is possible.  *THAT* feature should be splashed across every review.  It is simply awesome.
on Oct 12, 2007
My list of a few.

Ecliz Deluxe
Mac OS X Leopard
Pristine OS
Smooth Blue

And sadly, this is where WindowBlinds fails - in my opinion. There are ten million billion themes out there, but 99% of them are - excusez-moi - utter rubbish. When I set out to find a theme for my desktop, I want that theme to be subdued, elegant, and consistent. I do not want fire breathing dragons, flames, or snowflakes falling inside my titlebars.

I really have to agree with that...which should be obvious from my list. I like clean, sleek, and highly usable skins. I don't like the big, gaudy, in-your-face Fisher-Price looking stuff (that's why we skin in the first place, to get rid of Luna!).

I haven't updated to the final version of WB6 yet...but I wasn't too impressed with the new skins that came with it (or for it). Reminiscent of older WB version skins or something. Adamant looked nice...but there were no shadows and no toolbar icons, I thought something meant to showcase what the new WB can do would at least include that stuff.
on Oct 12, 2007
Actually Brad....nothing can be done. It all boils down to personal taste. I personally wouldn't fret over the comments about the skins. The person sitting next to the one that wrote the review might have had a whole different opinion about the skins. And there are tons of great skins as well as some that aren't all that good. But like whats been said...what I might not. Its just great that we have so many different skinners that can put out enough diverse skins that can appeal to everyone.

All I can say to anyone that cannot find at least 30 or more great skins here that would appeal to their taste...theres always...and I shudder to 3...count them...3 different colors!

And theres always SkinStudio where they can make what they want.
on Oct 12, 2007
I think there are so many choices you can't help but find a few skins to enjoy. Plus with the better ability to alter color and fonts in skins, even novices can change a skin they may not like into one they do.
I agree the skins that came with WB6 weren't exactly my cup of tea, but overall I tend to find at least one skin a month that I really like, and then several that are good. Can't please everyone though that is true.
on Oct 13, 2007
Here are my top 12 favorites:

1- Azenis2 (JJ.Ying)
2- Big Sur (geyster)
3- Cryo64 Exodo YQ (D. Arnaez)
4- devoir (essorant)
5- LovesDyingEmbers (BoXXi)
6- Mica (PurrBall)
7- Paippr (^^Gabriel)
8- SexyXP (vStyler)
9- Stargate SG1 (vStyler)
10- Tiger Glass (IOU)
11- Vienna (vStyler)
12- Vienna2 - Spectrum (vStyler)

IMHO, each of these 12 WB's are creatively designed, make artistic use of color and are well crafted. There are quite a few others of this caliber in the gallery but these are among my favorites. Also, none of these have that bloody user pic sticking out the top of the Start Menu. I just hate that.
on Oct 13, 2007
I think that determining whether a skin is nice to look at or ugly is TOTALLY a personal choice. To state that we are hurting for nice skins is unfair. Kind of the old "One mans trash another mans treasure" scenario. I mean, there are tons of skins that have a lot of downloads that I personally haven't downloaded, then again there are some that haven't seen alot of downloads that I've downloaded and used. I disagree with their assessment on the skins. I think the real beauty of a piece of software as versatile as Windowblinds promotes the pinnacle of creativity which by the way is the intention of this software. I think anyone that overlooks that aspect of it is missing the whole point of Windowblinds. I'm convinced that skinning is still in it's infancy stage and the true potential won't be realized for some time. Let's face it, we have a mix of extremely experienced artists and a lot of budding artists and some in the beginning stages, all of this provides us with some really great choices and ton's to look forward to. I personally think that there will always be skins that don't appeal to some and others will love. I mean really, most are made to meet our own personal taste.
on Oct 13, 2007
For long-term usability (in no particular order):

The Invi Series

I could easily have listed another 20+ favourite skins that I love, but these were some of the best.

One of the major things I've noticed is how some of the major players who provided quality content for WB just seem to have disappeared.
There's still great themes coming out from great artists today, but the "godfathers" of WB skinning (those who set the bar for the rest on quality concepts) just aren't visible much anymore. Talking here about artists such as Mike B, Essorant, Xino, Gabriel, Voo, etc. I'm sure you can think of others also.
Without the quality & "trend-setters", the newer skinners have little point of reference from which to work from or towards.

Another point is that newer users are venturing more into skinning as SkinStudio becomes easier to use and WB easier to skin, so the quality of newer skins may lack some of the polish that comes with experience and time in the field.

And that's my two cents.
on Oct 13, 2007
It would be difficult to cull out some of what people think are "ugly" skins. Some of what I think is "ugly as carp" just made the top X lists of some posters on this thread. Right now I'm using StealthOS - which I'm sure others would dis.

If the WB library were cut down to just a list of one person's favorites, then lots of good stuff would go by the wayside. I'd, for instance, like to see a Vista re-amp of ReGeeked, but I'm sure many folks would consider that just wacky.
on Oct 13, 2007
I don't have the new version yet. But, from what I have seen it is first rate. I can't wait to try out the color changing features on some of my favorite skins. I do think the review was a bit unfair about the quality of skins though. Skins are completely a preference. I can't think of a category of preference that doesn't have at least five master level quality skins already available. Sometimes people forget (or don't realize) that creating skins really is an art. It's not just gettings all the margins lined up. And as art the level of skill varies greatly from person to person. So, if the only gripe was the reviewer couldn't be a$$d to search through the hundreds of available skins for what he liked, you came out pretty good

on Oct 13, 2007
Actually one of the only few skins I truly like is Molten, with the animated dragon and start menu. I use it along with the standard lava dreamscene, which is also one of the few I can actually use for more than a little while.

Searching through hundreds of anything sux bad, there are over 700 pages in some of these galleries and after a couple hours of seeing nothing I like it's very hard to be bothered going further. Maybe a more comprehensive search function is in order.
on Oct 13, 2007
In my opinion; a "journalist" who writes sentences like: "There are ten million billion themes out there, but 99% of them are - excusez-moi - utter rubbish". Hasn't really the qualifications to write a review about anything.

Duh... yes each of us has their favorites. None is using all the 4000+ skins that have ever been made. But to claim that all of us want a skin that is "subdued, elegant, and consistent" is utter bull.....
You will find that a majority will settle back to a "subdued" and "elegant" skin after a while, just to swap to a more gaudy theme now and then.

The whole point of WindowBlinds is to give us the choice of what skin we use!

I prefer the sleek and elegant skins if I spend a day before the computer and want a whole lot of work done. But I also love snow-flakes on my Taskbar and I even will load the dragon now and then, just because it looks so damn cool.

WindowBlinds is about choices, and 100% of the Blinds available here give us that choice.
on Oct 13, 2007

removed at request by poster - [Erk]

on Oct 13, 2007
Tastes and preferences will vary from person to person. For anyone to suggest that WB6 is useless or not worth having because no one has catered for their esoteric and eclectic tastes is just moronic.
Sure, so one person likes "subdued, elegant and consistent" themes... but that doesn't mean everyone else will. Moreover, one who is looking for a certain type of look is sure to be critical of everything that they try out.

Very few skinners will actually skin to satisfy others' tastes and those that do, won't do it to please just one individual, or won't do it for free. They'll either skin for themselves, preferring to create what they would like to see in a skin, or cater for as wide an audience as possible, or find a midway and cater for both.

What WB6 + SKS6 does indeed offer, is the ability and freedom for users to be able to satisfy their own desires in a skin, and as this duo of applications become easier to use and more accessible to the general public, more and more variety will emerge. That's not necessarily to say that it will consist of quality themes, but there will be some diamonds that will emerge from the plethora of new content.

However, I strongly believe that quality standards are set by the more established and experienced skinners. When a newcomer is inspired by an awesome skin, or the style of a consistently great skinner, they'll have something to aim for when creating new content.
on Oct 13, 2007
Some of my (current and all-time) favorites:

Universe Metal (hoping for an update there)
Sage (if only treetog would update that one)
Toreup XP (just because it puts a smile on my face)
Peony (for my female side)
Cabal (I'll never get bored of that one..)

(if a mod could please delete post #13)