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Paying $10,000 for design work at early stage is lunacy. I solved the problem by:

1) Reading the first 100 pages of the Non-Designers Design Book (http://www.amazon.com/Non-Designers-Design-Book-Typographic-...).

2) Using CSS grid systems (e.g. Blueprint) and CSS abstractions (such as Compass) to ease the design process and minimize cross browser tomfoolery.

3) Visiting http://www.smashingmagazine.com/ and browsing lists such as "best minimal designs" and then slicing and dicing parts from my favorite pages together.

End results: www.bolivianexpress.org, www.oxbridgenotes.co.uk

Your end result might not win any awards, but hey you'll have $10,000 more in the bank.

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