Branding
Good starting Point for brainding a  SharePoint 2010 site is: http://sp365.co.uk/2011/08/sharepoint-2010-branding-series-part-one/

WebParts
Walkthrough - Creating a Web Part for Share Point 2010 (with Visual Studio)

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee231551.aspx

To configure the Share Point 2010 Navigation in the Top Link Bar you can find a good explainaition in the following MS document:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-server-help/configure-the-top-link-bar-for-site-navigation-HA102105259.aspx
The configuration is different if you the "Publishing Features" are enabled or not!

How To Customize The Search Center (german)
http://www.communardo.de/home/techblog/2010/05/28/how-to-anpassung-des-search-centers-sharepoint-2010/

Creating Search Scopes with PS:
http://www.dotnetmafia.com/blogs/dotnettipoftheday/archive/2010/07/29/creating-enterprise-search-scopes-with-powershell.aspx

Simple Guide to Moving SharePoint Content Databases to a New Server 
This is a good +/- step by step tutorial by Dan Holme
http://sharepointpromag.com/sharepoint-administration/simple-guide-moving-sharepoint-content-databases-new-server

 Share Point Community DE http://sharepointcommunity.de/ 
 Share Point UserGroup CH  http://www.sharepointcommunity.ch/default.aspx