I stumbled across a blog post by Andy Denton. He did some of his own research and listed the Top 55 web designers in the world. While some people may not agree with the selection criteria or how he achieved his results, I really like his effort. Take a look at the top designer’s own websites, they are excellent. Even if you don’t agree with the criteria take a look at the list to just checkout out those websites. It makes for an excellent CSS gallery.
Here are his criteria
1. Superior design.
2. Clean design.
3. Great UI (User Interface) for ease of navigation.
4. Use of CSS and web standards.
5. Utilizes CMS backend architecture. (Content Management System – ala, WordPress, Expression Engine, Joomla, or other)
6. Good portfolio.
7. Freelancer or very small firm. (lower overhead, lower prices)
8. PHP, Ajax, Ruby on Rails, mySQL, and CMS plugin knowledge were a plus.
9. Eat their own dogfood. (their own website had to look just as good as I hoped my site to become)