Step one - Theme and colour
Choose 2-3 colours and use them throughout your auction. Don't use too many different colours as it confuses and puts readers off. Pastel colours work, as does a black background with consistent light content.
Step two - Create a logo
This can be as simple or advanced as you'd like. A simple idea would be to do a quick search online for fonts and download the ones you really like. Now you can create a text logo, which requires no graphic design skills. I would recommend Photoshop to do this. You can get a free 30-day trial for a Mac or PC so there is no excuse in giving it a go. You can also try using paint, ms word or paint shop pro.
Step three - The layout
The best advice I'd give to layout is using tables. This allows your auction to have better formation and easier navigation for your readers. I would recommend Dreamweaver, which also offers a free trial for you to play with. Any other HTML editor such as FrontPage etc will do.
If you sell music consider placing audio on your site. Where this might put buyers off on other auction it works with music auctions. You can provide samples of the music you are trying to sell. It has worked for me in the past.
Things to avoid when creating your 'image'.
Avoid adding too much bold font, moving text, different sized lettering, jargon and animated gifs. Things like l@@k seem so cheesy to me. I mean; they are so pointless. Keep it simple and best of all English. Going overboard with fancy effects can damage your auction. You may think it looks cool but buyer will not. Not only do these effect take ages to load (keep in mind we all have different Internet speeds) but they distract away from your intent; which is to sell a product. Professional is clean, simple and understandable.
Own an eBay shop? Do you want to create a unique look in 20 minutes?
In a word (or 3) CSS, cascading style sheets. Did you know that with a few lines of code you could dramatically change the whole appearance of you shop front? Don't believe, huh? Check out my store, The Fancy Design Store . You will see that I have got rid of all the 'common' blue eBay text and customized it to my xmas shop theme. I have also slightly changed the layout, all with CSS. I did this by placing a few lines of code into my header insert box. You simply choose custom header from the designs available and add your CSS as well as your logo if you have one.
The best thing about CSS is that it is only a little bit of code and once you edit it you change everything applied to it in one go. If you are new to CSS I recommend doing a quick search and learning a little about it. I have CSS code available in my shop for those of you in a hurry and want quick results. Simply copy, paste and wallah!
Image is everything. It is the decider on whether a potential buyer will trust you or not. Remember the key is to make the effort; it is not to try and create a design that will be liked by everyone. Let's face it, designs are either loved or hated but they are always appreciated. Gain buyers trust by putting in the time and show your reliability. Thanks for reading and good luck!