You might find it surprising but very few web designers can literally just open Photoshop or Sketch and produce a high quality, visually stunning design right off the bat. Sure they can draw on past inspiration and produce something which perhaps resembles something they’ve built previously. But for something truly fresh, they tend to seek out or draw on inspiration.
So today, for all of the budding web designers out there, we’re going to run through seven sites which I feel are great if you’re looking for web design inspiration for your own project or perhaps you’ve been asked by your web designer what sort of style you’re looking for in terms of visual look and feel. So let’s take a look.
I am including Dribbble (yes that’s intentionally 3 b’s) at the start of this as it is my favourite resource of the bunch. In short, it provides two core functions. It allows designers to showcase what they’ve been working on from full designs to simple shapshots right through to icon and user interface work. The other function, well feature is it allows you to seek out designers based on skill set, location and hourly rates. So if you are looking to hire someone with Dribbble you get the best of both worlds. You can find a designer and find designs you like the look of, all in one place.
Part of what makes Behance such an attractive option when it comes to looking for web design inspiration is it’s filters. Sure it’s content and the sheer volume of people posting their works there counts for a lot but that information is only good if you can find it. Which is why the features and filters are so important.
Using the core navigation, you can quickly drill down to find highly specific design and creative fields. It’s not just a design free for all like some of the sites below. You can also narrow down by location in case you’d like to find a designer from your own country and also choose to browse individuals or teams should you be wishing to hire a group of people.
While CSS Nectar is a regular CSS showcase with a paid submission option, it does maintain a high level of quality which sets it apart from its masses of competition. It also has an attractive array of features in order for you to narrow down what you’re looking for.
Using the side menu, you can quickly find designers from certain countries or even specific site types such as the ever popular Blog/Magazine style of site rather than viewing hundreds of random landing pages which whilst looking good are completely wrong or your project at hand. You can also browse specific colours and each designer who has submitted their offerings can also link their full portfolio. So if you find something you like it’s easy to get in touch with the designer.
SiteInspire offers a more professional approach and is quite a player in the web design inspiration arena. Like with most galleries, the two most important factors are the quality/volume of submissions and the filters available to sort through them. Fortunately, SiteInspire ticks both of these boxes.
You can quickly and easy sort by website type using the filters at the top of the site and given the high quality control with regards to submissions you can quickly find top notch designs that fit both your site type style and also your niche in general.
Awwwards is one of the most useful web design inspiration sites out there. The site works by allowing daily “nominees” to submit their works and each day, week and month winners are determined and awarded based on public opinion. It also has a highly detailed search system where you can browse nominees and winners based on search criteria such as colour, site type, category and tag. So you can use the above to easily find inspiration for your blog design or landing page etc without having to trawl through lots of different designs which aren’t really fit for purpose.
It also has a great jobs section/board that allows designers to advertise their services rather than have you seek out the designer/developer personally.
Another great site is TheBestDesigns.com as not only can you browse countless design submissions you can also find designers right there on the site. You can quickly and easily use the budget search criteria in the sidebar and browse designers portfolios all of which are within your budget.
If you’ve ever seeked out web designers based on gallery submissions before, you’ll know that the viable options on your list of potential candidates will quickly dwindle once you’ve requested quotes. Finding both a design you like by an affordable web designer is tough but thankfully TheBestDesigns.com goes some way to assisting on that front.
A fairly simple site in comparison to some of the ones mentioned above but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great resource. In terms of sheer submissions it rivals the majority of the above and it is extremely well categorised. There are over 50 of them in the navigation which means you can quickly find a site design which matches your style completely. It also features a well read newsletter called Radar and features a fantastic set of web design related articles.
In my option it’s probably best to browse a number of the sites above in order to give you the best chance of finding a design you like. Lots of designers tend to stick to one or two showcases.
If the above doesn’t quite take your fancy you can also seek out your own CSS galleries for example. There are lots of them out there if you do a quick Google search. However, lots of the more established galleries have gone down the paid route and are literally just accepting any design submission that come their way without any real quality control of any kind. So if you genuinely want to find nice looking designs you should probably avoid these types. Although with that said they should be relatively easy to spot.
So that’s that, hopefully the sites above go some way to providing you and your designer with the inspiration you’re looking for.