I found the comments below from a friend of mine on another 
list provaocative. She is not a Gimp user. I wonder how 
many of her cautions are universal and how many just 
dependent on the program used to create the graphics?
-----quote begins-----------
I visit lots of authors' sites and see many that are 
gorgeous. The thing that always tips me off as to whether 
they're professionally done or not is the graphics. I 
cannot stand jagged edges around images, banners, etc. Even 
the most inexperienced designer can clean that up and do it 
properly at low resolution, so, I guess it's not so much 
that it's a sign of being an amateur  - to me anyway - that 
it's a sign of not caring....lack of pride in the work. 
Even if a person simply cannot create clean edges (one of 
the most common mistakes is using "tansparent" on a layer - 
transparent doesn't work..you  need to use the background 
colour as the background colour on the image around any 
curved lines. Also that "delete" background rarely gives a 
clean lift - that all needs to be erased one pixel at a 
time.) they can go with text only, or visit one of the 
1000s of sites that offer free web tools, or avoid curved 
edges (in most cases jaggies are only an issue around 
curved edges). Round
 buttons only look nice if they're done properly. Square 
(with no transparency and no background) and text buttons 
work just as well and will give a more "polished" look.

I'm not a web designer by any means, so maybe those on the 
group who are can offer more insight into this.

-----------end quote
BTW I have permission to quote the above from the author. 

John Culleton
Able Typesetters and Indexers

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