Way too many cooks

With thirty designers and developers working together on a single CSS file, we should have a page worthy of the mighty StyleGala...

In Too Many Cooks I invited 30 designers and developers to contribute to a single CSS file. It has been interesting to see the CSS styles roll in and now we have a finished result.

I hope that with so many talented designers and developers giving up their time and adding their vast experience that we have a result worthy of featuring in the major CSS design galleries, possibly even the mighty StyleGala. After all, how could we possibly go wrong?

So here is the result of Too Many Cooks? Perhaps we can ask nicely and StyleGala reviewer Simon Collison with review it for us?


  1. #1 On May 18, 2005 05:01 PM meyde said:

    wahooo how to say .............................
    ..........;delicious ;-))))))

  2. #2 On May 18, 2005 05:02 PM JIm said:


  3. #3 On May 18, 2005 05:07 PM nikki said:

    woah! look out for that bit of trifle on the floor!

    truly... breathtaking

  4. #4 On May 18, 2005 05:20 PM Mike S. said:

    Can I use that for my blog template? It would save me a lot of work. ;o)

  5. #5 On May 18, 2005 05:23 PM Nathan said:

    Sorry about the bird background...

    I laughed...

    Looks cool, you can tell that so many people were working blindly...

  6. #6 On May 18, 2005 05:24 PM Casey Gollan said:

    'tis a thing of beauty, Malarkey.

  7. #7 On May 18, 2005 05:29 PM Dean Edwards said:

    Great idea this "Too many cooks" thing. I was looking forward to seeing the finished result. About what I thought... :-)

    I request six additional hacks to make this page look presentable!

  8. #8 On May 18, 2005 05:39 PM Marco said:

    This is very good. The repeating bird image made it truly magical :)

  9. #9 On May 18, 2005 06:02 PM Andy Hume said:


  10. #10 On May 18, 2005 06:03 PM Colly said:

    Too Many Cooks

    Submitted by Andy Clarke and 30 others

    Collaboration is a buzzword we can't ignore in web design at the moment. At a time when many web agencies are little more than an amalgamation of freelancers, it's interesting to see this collective seizing the zeitgeist and pushing the envelope so fast it bursts into flames and singes the fingers of all who view it.

    Collaborations ain't always smooth. The recent collaboration between Jeffrey Zeldman's Happy Cog and Doug Bowman's Stopdesign shows just how out of touch the "pros" are. Their Capgemini redesign was a terrible concoction of well-thought out structure, clean CSS and usability. Awful.

    Thankfully, the refreshingly misguided Too Many Cooks shows us the worth of dueling approaches. Why on earth tie yourself to the tedium of delivering a page with purpose? And usability - overrated really, isn't it? Do we need to think our designs through any more? Is there any need for design workshops, site plans or testing? Just get all the designers you know to do two minutes work each, scrunch each contribution up into a little ball, throw it all in a hat, and serve up the results.

    I'm predicting this approach, and the look and feel of Too Many Cooks will have a great influence on web design throughout the remainder of 2005. Beige, italics, fish and stupid five-year-old's drawings of big birds will be influencing us all from this pivotal point onwards.

    CSS Zen Garden? Give it up, Shea. Cederholm, you failed to teach us anything with your books. Jeffrey, pull that hat over your head. Too Many Cooks throws your teachings out of the window, and brings back the child in all of us.

    This is one broth that has not been spoiled by too many cooks. Pass me some crusty bread and let me dunk.

    Reviewed by Simon Collison (after drinking a pint)

  11. #11 On May 18, 2005 06:22 PM Rob Waring said:

    Oh wow, I'm on stuffandnonsense :D:D:D I'm actually really pleased :D

  12. #12 On May 18, 2005 06:55 PM joel schou said:

    Who was the dolt who decided pale orange and bright green went well together?

    Wait a tic... that was me, wasn't it? D'oh!

    Still, green 'n' orange have nothing on that bird. Schweet!

  13. #13 On May 18, 2005 07:52 PM Jon Hicks said:

    Wah! Stop it! It hurts!!!

  14. #14 On May 18, 2005 08:14 PM Carlos Porto said:

    I must say, I do like the parrot ...

  15. #15 On May 18, 2005 08:48 PM Matthew Pennell said:

    I quite like it... :o

    This should definitely be a weekly event...

  16. #16 On May 18, 2005 09:05 PM Arnaud said:

    I believe that the real meaning of the work is to be found in the relationship of the parrot and the fishes : a bird, cut in half by hunger, unable to think of anything but nonsensical words--then a vision, hundreds of fishes. Will the parrot manage to fight his way to be the one to cook the fish ?

    The design comitee definitely produced a major work of modern art.

  17. #17 On May 18, 2005 09:24 PM Lanssing said:

    I love the bird, it makes the page.

    What would be neat would be a 'css pass the torch.' Kind of like this, but not blind. Each person adds one bit to the css.

  18. #18 On May 18, 2005 09:51 PM Calvin Walton said:

    I must say, this was fun.
    Judging by the end result, I'm afraid I was a little too conservative with the bit I added ;)

  19. #19 On May 18, 2005 10:47 PM Rimantas said:

    30 birds makes it Hichcock..

  20. #20 On May 18, 2005 10:47 PM Nicholas Rougeux said:

    Yegads...that's one curious-looking site there. Can't say that it turned out so wonderful that it would win an award or anything but it was fun to watch it grow. We should do more of these.

  21. #21 On May 18, 2005 11:18 PM gf3 said:

    All I can say is wow.... incredible

  22. #22 On May 18, 2005 11:29 PM Tom said:

    ha ha is this great stuff.

  23. #23 On May 18, 2005 11:36 PM Craig C. said:

    Well I think the blockquote portion is gorgeous.

  24. #24 On May 19, 2005 12:05 AM myk said:

    I like the idea of a non-blind one, where we go one at a time and try to build on previous notions. What says Malarkey?

  25. #25 On May 19, 2005 12:34 AM Bryan Veloso said:

    Oh my god, my eyes. Where did my eyes go? o_O;;

  26. #26 On May 19, 2005 04:27 AM KevinN said:

    OMG! I'm bilnded by the excellent work you guys did!


    Malarkey make another one! :D

  27. #27 On May 19, 2005 06:57 AM Ian said:

    Good god! What the hell where you guys smoking when you made that...

  28. #28 On May 19, 2005 07:50 AM Ozh said:

    Definitely fun stuff. I would not say "pretty stuff" maybe, but fun anyway :)

    It would be probably more fun to extend the concept to, say, a (week|month|anything)ly event, with maybe more guidelines to play with ? (a week focusing on selectors, a week with a typography focus, etc...)

    Looking forward to seeing more of this kind of things

  29. #29 On May 19, 2005 09:28 AM Phunky said:

    hahaha :D im setting that as my home page!

  30. #30 On May 19, 2005 09:32 AM Nathan said:

    Wow it looks great in Firefox, but sadly IE just doesn�t seem to be able to handle the complexity!....;P

  31. #31 On May 19, 2005 09:38 AM Michael Ward said:

    That is similar to what I expect our MS-CMS site will look like by the time we get to the end of our design process at work.

    Design death by bureaucracy :(

  32. #32 On May 19, 2005 09:39 AM Dave said:

    It looks like the first web page I ever designed! Memories of animated under construction pages come flooding back...

  33. #33 On May 19, 2005 09:42 AM Jens Meiert said:

    Quod erat expectandum.

  34. #34 On May 19, 2005 10:19 AM pixeldiva said:


  35. #35 On May 19, 2005 11:16 AM Olly said:

    Nice parrot.

  36. #36 On May 19, 2005 02:49 PM Malarkey said:

    I'm just sat in a cyber-caff in London (Lordy, why is it always Internet Explorer in these gaff?) (Wait up... this site is all black-and-white?!? ;) )

    It's half an hour until my train back to Wales and I see that none of the main galleries have featured Too Many Cooks!


    I've decided that this experiment proves that from now on, I should outsource all my CSS rules to freelancers, line by line. So...

    Who does the best headers?
    Who does the best anchors?
    Who does the best... ?

    Who should I hire? ;)

  37. #37 On May 19, 2005 05:01 PM Phil Baines said:

    All I can say is ... ouch, but this might explain how Microsoft builds some of it's software.

  38. #38 On May 20, 2005 05:47 PM sneer said:

    It's crap. Wake up, the king is wearing no clothes.

  39. #39 On May 20, 2005 06:40 PM Sean Fraser said:

    How about taking the Exquisite Corpse methodology on the next installment?

  40. #40 On May 21, 2005 12:16 AM corey said:

    i have tried to leave a comment three times before, but the site kept giving me fits of diarrhea. thanks much.

  41. #41 On May 21, 2005 07:09 PM goodwitch said:

    actually, malarkey, it looks great on my handheld..and is the best thing i've heard all week from my screenreader!

    naaaaaah....just kiddin'!