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Agree mostly with your points and yes, many websites look the same. If a designer uses a few shiny gradients and drop shadows he/she thinks they’ve created something great. Usually not the case. BUT…I design a lot of web applications which require user many types of user interface elements. Using gradients and drop shadows just for the sake is silly but using in a thoughtful way which improves UI is important.
I looked through your portfolio and have seen and like your work but you’re not designing user interface / application style websites. When you do, you’ll see the “web 2.0/gradients/shadows/depth” are pretty necessary – which isn’t the case for the sites you’ve worked on. At least nothing I see in your portfolio.
So what I’m trying to get at is there are multiple styles of web design, some work for certain brands/types of sites and some don’t.
So before we lament that web 2. 0 is crap maybe we should redefine what web 2.0 is?