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Web Design Inspiration

Written by Tyler Wetzel on Thursday, October 17, 2013


Work desk with a computer

Photo by Aleks Dorohovich

Finding inspiration is not always as simple as it sounds, whether you’ve been designing for years or you’re a newbie. Personally, I use a host of websites to get my creative juices bubbling. I have compiled some of my favorite websites for design below.

TheFWA.com

TheFWA

TheFWA stands for Favorite Website Awards, an industry recognized internet award program and inspirational portal, established in May 2000. TheFWA is largest and most visited online awards site on the internet to date. Web design inspiration here is abundant if not endless. Sites from around the world compete to win their badge of honor.

They are dedicated to recognizing amazing digital work. Their focuses is to give exposure to some of the most amazing creative projects on the net. The editorial section is loaded with useful articles and interviews from web professionals.

You can also check out their Hall of Fame which is a curated collection of some of their best submissions. There you will find companies such as Google Creative Labs and Hello Monday leading the way in digital design.

Check them out here.

Awwwards.com

Awwwards.com

If you’re looking for exceptional web design inspirational then look no farther then Awwwards.com. Awwwards offers a large collection of websites that range from some of the most sophisticated websites on the net to amateur submissions from users. The submissions are ranked by professionals in programming, design and development. Also, users of the website are encouraged to vote on the submissions as well. The votes are tallied, and a winner is chosen for each day. There are monthly and daily winners.

I have found some of the best sites on the web through here.

The best part about Awwwards is its overall quality. I have found some of the best sites on the web through here. From the most background heavy to the most fluid responsive sites to date; they’re all here. It’s all thanks to their top notch curators. So if you really want to get an idea of what your competition is pumping out then it would be wise to give this site a look.

You can check them out here.

Dribbble.com

Dribbble.com

Don’t be fooled by Dribble’s playful name. It’s serious business to get accepted into the close knit circle that makes up the Dribbble community. You must get accepted and then approved by the creators to be able to post your own work. This strict selection process has let Dribbble become one of the few and largest closed community of designers on the net. Although if you aren’t fortunate enough to be approved, you can sign up and surf freely through content without a problem. Whether you’re searching for web design inspiration or trying to network, you can also find something useful through Dribble. 

Dribbble has become a go-to resource for discovering and connecting with designers around the globe

Headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, Dribbble began as a side project and is now a tiny, bootstrapped and profitable company helping the world’s design talent share their creations and get hired. Dribbble has become a go-to resource for discovering and connecting with designers around the globe. Due to the high quality nature of the work presented there, it makes a great site to search for web design inspiration. The community is quite large now, and is a great place to promote, discover, and explore design.

You can check them out here.

Behance.net

Behance.net

Behance has established itself over the past few years as one of the most used portfolio websites on the net and can serve as an effective source for web design inspiration. It’s one of leading online platforms to showcase and discover creative work. The creative world can upload their work in one place to broadcast it widely and efficiently. Behance’s integration with other websites and their partners makes whatever you upload instantly visible across a range of platforms. Companies explore the work and access talent on a global scale.

Behance is a rapidly growing design-centric technology team based in New York City. As a unique business unit within Adobe, they’re crafting the future of creative workflow that connects and empowers the creative world. If you’re looking for a website to host your own work or you want to surf the work of others for web design inspiration, then this is a great place to start.

You can check them out here.

Piccsy.com

Piccsy.com

Less known then it’s competitors, Piccsy is emerging as one of the most fluid and beautiful interfaces out there to search for creative work and web design inspiration. It’s an image based website. Piccsy covers topics ranging from architecture, interior design, all the way to street art. This wide range of categories allows Piccsy to be a source of inspiration for a variety of professions.

You can filter by popularity or by category. If you sign up then you can follow and upload your own images to the website. Another offshoot of Piccsy which caters to web design inspiration directly is their Design Portal. It’s a brilliant sub-site which can help you find a variety of other websites pertaining to web design. 

You can check them out here.

Subtlepatterns.com

Subtlepatterns.com

This is a nifty website for high quality patterns that are also conveniently free to use. It isn’t truly used for web design inspiration so much as it is used to assist a designer with the necessary resources to construct a website.

The creator of Subtle Patterns, Atle Mo, is the sole curator of the website. He has been designing for web for over a decade, and decided to open this website as his own personal way to give back to fellow designers on the web.

You can download the patterns directly from the website.

Subtlepatterns is extremely easy to use. It also hosts a large variety of different patterns that are each unique in their own right. You can download the patterns directly from the website. One cool feature that really grabbed my attention was the preview feature which allows you to try out any pattern on the website. You simply click preview and the website displays the pattern as the background so that you can get a better idea of what it will look like on your site. I highly recommend this site if you are struggling with backgrounds or need a nice pattern to complement your typography.

You can check them out here.

Smashingmagazine.com

Smashingmagazine.com

Smashing Magazine is a German based website which has much to offer in regards to web design inspiration. It is an amazing source of information for design, programming and code. It’s dedicated team of professionals keep you informed on the latest developments in design and technology coming out for the web. Smashing offers in-depth articles, reviews and conceptual ideas from some of the best in the industry. Not only do they provide great articles they also have job postings, a bookstore, and they even offer workshops.

It’s hard to walk away from Smashing without learning something new.

The Smashing Media AG is one of the world’s leading online publishing companies in the field of Web design and Web development. Aside from running the Smashing Magazine’s newsletter and website, they also host events and conferences regarding design and code. Their dedication to the field is what makes them stand apart from other design newsletters out there. You always get the sense that you are reading something truly fascinating. It’s hard to walk away from Smashing without learning something new. 

You can check them out here.

Fastcodesign.com

Co.Design

Fast Company is a full-color business magazine that releases 10 issues per year and focuses on technology, business, and design. FastCompany.com operates as a network of sites with Inc.com. It comprises four sites: Co.Design, Co.Exist, Co.Create and Co.Labs. Co.Design covers business, innovation, and design. Co.Exist specifically covers innovation-related topics. Co.Create covers creativity, culture, and commerce. You can derive all kinds of web design inspiration and insight from the various pages on this website.

Co.Design covers business, innovation, and design.

The articles are long, in-depth and full of information. Their articles are full of useful information that can help aid you in your own personal projects. Passionate writers make Co.Design feel authentic and personal. Aside from the amazing content, the website is fun to navigate. Large images plaster the articles and the overall design of the website is fluid and fun to sift through. It feels similar to a magazine and stays true to its roots. Co.Design in particular has a large contributing team behind it. I highly recommend you to take a look. 

You can check them out here.

Designspiration.net

Designspiration

Designspiration is a resource to help you discover and share great design.Therefore, it’s a key website if you’re searching for quality web design inspiration. Designspiration focuses around maintaining a search engine for great design and web design inspiration. You can upload your own work to share around the world. It is also a nudity-free environment so browsing at anytime, anywhere is always safe.

They have made it easy to search for tags and websites from anywhere anytime by just typing. It’s easy and you’ll look cool doing it. The website’s design focuses around a pure white interface. This makes pictures and images a joy to view without all the clutter that many other sites force upon you. On that same thought, there are no visible advertisements to distract you from the content. Freely search with keywords such as web design inspiration, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.  

You can check them out here.

Niice.co

Niice.co

Niice is an inspiration search engine, letting you search across multiple hand-picked sources (Behance, Dribbble, Designspiration, ect). That’s what really sets this search engine apart from the others. It pulls results from many platforms and delivers them all in one place. I used to search heavily through Designspiration, but since finding Niice.co I have little reason to, since it includes their submissions as well. It’s still fairly new but from what I have seen so far it’s looking promising. Try it out, and find good web design inspiration through Niice.co.

Plus, the team behind Niice.co is one of the few out there that seem very down to earth. They are in touch with their audience, and heck they might even be nice. You get the feeling from their blogs that they are truly trying to create something special. Just eight weeks in and they garnered over 500,000 searches. Impressive for a start up. Keep it up guys!

You can check them out here.

Logopond.com

Logopond.com

Logopond is a great resource for logo designers, or about anyone who wants a fresh spin on logo creation. It’s not only for web design inspiration, but it can also be useful for gauging how well your logo will be received. Create, load, test and see how people react. You can track the most recent comments on all logos in the converse tab.

If you prefer flipping through paper pages instead, the website also sells books pertaining to logo inspiration . Overall, it’s a great site and you should give them a try if you are ever in a design rut. 

You can check them out here.

ILoveTypography.com

ilovetypography.com

Looking for a deeper understanding of what Typekit set you should use on your website? Look no further, Ilovetypography.com is a great source for typographic needs, with tips and forums from enthusiastic designers, publishers and even writers.

This site aims to make the subject of type more accessible, to bring the study of typography to the masses, if you will. It’s just about impossible to imagine a world without type, but at the same time type’s ubiquity has most of us taking it for granted.

So take a closer look here.

Stocksy.com

Stocksy.com Homepage

There are an endless amount of websites out there dedicated to stock images, but none of them come close to the quality or reputation of Stocksy. It was created by veterans of iStockphoto and its founder, Bruce Livingstone. They provide sustainable careers through profit sharing and co-ownership with their artists. They are renowned for paying the highest royalty rates in the industry.

Stocksy purposely set high quality and curatorial standards to ensure that the images you find on their website are authentic, intelligent, beautiful, realistic and inherently useful. I can attest to that. Every photo has character and a clear direction. Their search filters are detailed and offer rewarding results. If you are looking for a image with style and purpose to supplement your type then I recommend you take a shot at Stocksy.

Check them out here.

Unsplash.com

Unsplash.com

Unsplash is relatively new project from a few talented photographers who are releasing 10 free-to-use high resolution photos every 10 days. If you’re Scrooge or a poor college student like me then here’s the place to be. Check out some of the most amazing free photography from a variety of contributors. Unsplash has plenty of character if you’re struggling to find the appropriate image for your homepage.

Bare in mind, the project is still fairly young. If you aren’t pleased with their selection now, then wait a few weeks and watch the project grow and expand. Perhaps you will find web design inspiration from the photos to follow.

Check them out here.

AisleOne.net

AisleOne.com

AisleOne is an interesting website and inspirational resource focused on graphic design, typography, grid systems, minimalism and modernism. The site is run by the talented New York based designer, Antonio Carusone, whom we did a piece on earlier last week. Antonio expresses his passion for design through AisleOne, almost like a blog.

It’s a great source of information for web design inspiration that focuses more around modernism. You can also stay up-to-date on recent developments in the design world or check out their unqiue marketplace called Think for a Living .

Few days ago we featured Antonio on our Designer Profile. You can read more about him here. Also, as a token of appreciation, we sponsored Aisle One feed a few weeks ago.

Check it out here.

CargoCollective.com

CargoCollective.com/gallery

Cargo is a personal publishing platform aimed at creating accessible tools to garner exposure for individuals and the design oriented. The website focuses on flexible templates that are built around the artist’s work. It’s part personal showcase and part global gallery.

Cargo acts as a creative community as well. The website is bustling with updated exhibition of featured images and websites being featured throughout the website. The gallery page is loaded with web design inspiration ranging from artists from around the globe. Simply clicking on the image redirects you to that particular artist’s page. If you’re interested in hosting your own page on Cargo then check out their Webdesign Directory.  

Since the public launch in 2009, Cargo continues to be a constantly developing work in progress, hosting the work of some of the most talented individuals currently publishing their work online.

Check them out here.

SiteInspire.com

SiteInspire.com

As the name suggests, this is definitely a site to check out for web site inspiration. Browse from over 3,000 sites by style, type, or subject, or just see the very best. Websites are chosen and curated by Howells—Studio. Siteinspire is clean and easy to use. Navigating is a breeze and you can find interesting and innovative websites in a matter of seconds.

They also have a newsletter that will keep you informed about some of the latest developments in the industry. Once you’re a member you can upload or recommend potential sites for consideration.

Check them out here.

Read next: Working Hours: State of Mind


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