These are requirements we have in mind:
- must fit nicely with our our logo
- fixed width +/- 980px (max usage of a 1024px estate)
- top part has place for large message (be it an eye-catching picture or a large slogan). This 'banner' style box optionally has tabs for switching to a next slogan or image.
- menu has 4-5 items, could grow to 7-8 in the future
- a login link or small form somewhere
- a part of the page should have multiple smaller blocks where we can place small bits of info, like links to subpages or a news feed
- enough place for some text (2 - 3 paragraphs)
- be original
- thinks we like for various reasons: http://andreasviklund.com/templates/andreas02/, http://www.activecollab.com, http://www.zend.com/en/ (ok, that last one is probably too much 'enterprise' style, but it has a clean interface). All of the previous examples have good and clear navigation, but are a bit too "clean" overall. Some smart/funny accents added to such a clean interface would be nice. Our logo is a bit out of the ordinary, we would like our site to have that same touch.
Nice to haves:
- light background, preferrably white, but you can always try to surprise us
- design should make it quite easy to re-arrange items once navigating to subpages for example. Header and footer will stay in place, but other items may be switched on/off, depending of the content on the subpage.