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Top 5 Resources for Web Design Inspiration

When starting a new web design project, it sometimes doesn’t matter how detailed a client’s creative brief is... it can be hard to dig up inspiration.


Designers are artists. We may not paint on canvases or sculpt from clay, but we still have a very visual creative process. It helps to have a toolkit of resources that you can go back to over and over to find inspiration for your design work. Here’s where we go in search of web design inspiration.


1. Behance.net


If you haven’t discovered Behance yet, it was pretty much built for exactly this dilemma! The website has curated galleries of great design examples for everything from interaction (ideal for UI/UX designers) to fine arts to advertising - so you can browse according to your client’s needs or your personal style.


Behance was started in 2006 on a mission to “to empower the creative world to make ideas happen”. They wanted to build a platform that removed barriers between talent and opportunity by showcasing creative work on a bigger scale. The site was acquired by Adobe in 2012, so it is supported by a whole suite of creative programs - including Adobe Portfolio, Behance’s DIY web design application.



2. TheBestDesigns.com

As the saying goes, “It says what it does on the tin”. This website is truly full of the best designs.


TheBestDesigns.com was created to showcase design excellence and receives millions of visitors every year. They showcase talented freelance web designers and agencies, and also have some carefully selected partners that build some of the best, most user-friendly WordPress themes.



With a new “Design of the Day” every single day, there’s always fresh inspiration available here. There’s also a section for top-rated Wordpress themes that can give your design project a running head-start.



All designs are tagged for easy browsing - ideal if you already know there’s an element you want to incorporate (like “one page” or “retro”). And, if you find a design you really love, you can even click through to the designer’s website to browse their portfolio.


3. Pinterest

Yep, Pinterest is useful for more than just quick-and-easy dinner recipes and IKEA hacks.


Pinterest was launched in 2011 and quickly became one of Time Magazine’s “50 Best Websites” of that year. The company’s CEO likes to describe Pinterest as a “catalogue of ideas” that inspires people to not only discover but actually “go out and do that thing”.



The platform is essentially a mood board - a collage of images, text and samples that convey a design idea. Some digital mood board alternatives that are also great for inspiration include Dribble (which even has a feature that lets you search by hex colour), Designspiration, and Baubauhaus.



When I’m starting a new project, I often scroll through Pinterest for ideas. A quick search of keywords like “web design” or “branding identity” can send me down a total rabbit hole of inspiration. I always pin the designs that really catch my eye for future reference.


4. The Client’s Market

It was Pablo Picasso who said, “Art is theft”. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little bit of inspiration from your client’s market.


Industry

I often look at the top competitors in my client’s industry to scan for common trends, styles, and colours. For example, the colour green is really predominant in the health industry. (Click here for a fascinating article on colour theory) I’ll use what I find as inspiration going forward - either for clues on what to echo or, if the client really wants to stand out, on what to avoid!



Competitors

Now, I would never condone copying a competitor’s website directly. Not only is it not OK, you (and your client) would quickly catch that competitor’s attention - and not in a good way! However, something can be said about finding inspiration from your client's competitors. After all, any competitor who is having some success must be doing something right.


Users

Above all else, a good, strategic website needs to consider its users. While the client’s needs and wants are important, the website design simply won’t be efficient and engaging if it doesn’t understand the users’ needs.


5. Travel

I absolutely love to travel and experiencing different cultures, art styles and environments can be a huge form of design inspiration for me.



Once, on a visit to Rome, I wandered my way into a beautiful church called Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. While it wasn’t adorned in the traditional Baroque style of many of Rome’s churches, it did have the most stunning blue and gold ceiling. I was totally struck by inspiration, wondering how I could incorporate those colours in my next design project.



Of course, not all of us can afford to buy a plane ticket every time our inspiration dries up. But, you might surprise yourself with what you’ll find if you hop in your car and drive aimlessly for 20 minutes - or even in your local park.


It goes without saying that every creative is different. It’s important to find a process that works for you! Inspire me - let me know in the comments where you find your web design inspiration.


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