Often the hardest part of any project is simply starting it. Ideas may be swimming around in your head, yet you may find it difficult to net one that works. Once you realize that banging your head against the desk won’t get you any further, the next step is usually to begin by looking at what others have done in the past.
Incorporating inspiration into your workflow is crucial. Browsing through work relevant to the task at hand regularly leads to an “Aha!” moment from which you can launch your entire project process. This step is key when your initiating website redesign. By drawing inspiration from around the web, you can ensure that your website integrates current trends and web standards.
There are an extensive number of resources for web design inspiration, including industry leaders like Smashing Magazine and Web Designer Depot. However, to encompass a variety of viewpoints, it's important to dig beyond these sources. If you’re looking to expand beyond the obvious go-to's, check out some of the best sources for creative web design inspiration below.
Site Inspire is one of the best website inspiration sources on the web with superb navigation and filtering options. What makes this site the leading example is the ability to find exactly what you are looking for. If you are designing for a real estate agency who wants a minimal website, you can find sites to browse for inspirational. You can also view designer, so you can easily follow the designs of your favorite designers. This highly useful tool is also extremely beautiful, making effective use of its own visual design to inspire you.
Founded by former HubSpot VP Jonah Lopin and former Admob Product Manager John Osborne, Crayon is extremely valuable for designers focused on inbound marketing. Self-described as "the most comprehensive marketing design search engine on the web," we'd have to agree it's on its way to being just that. With over 13 million pages from a large number of industries, this search engine is truly all encompassing. Crayon lets you filter by page type, industry, CMS used, traffic level, and device so you can find exactly what you're looking for. Focusing on sites with great marketing, you'll find that their designs align with many of your client and your own needs.
BetaList is dedicated to highlighting new and unique internet startups from user submissions. While not your typical web design resource, we've found that this one is great due to the nature of start-ups. Often, the sites featured on BetaList are capitalizing on trendy website design to get themselves noticed from the hundreds of sites that get listed each month. If nothing else, you'll be able to pick up on which design style is considered "in." And who knows, you may discover a new business that you're interested in.
The Best Designs
The Best Designs offers a curation of the best web design, showing websites from a variety of industries and designers. While limited in search functionality, there is a tagging system you can leverage to see relevant designs. The simplicity of this site is great if you are just looking to browse.
Looking through web design awards websites is one of the quickest ways to find unique and successful web design. The benefit here is that design experts have done much of the legwork for you. There's no need to scour through low-quality designs as the winners and nominees are the best of the best. Each award site offers different award frequencies (like site of the day, month, and year) and search functionalities. It's safe to say that these sites contain the most premium designs across web and mobile design.
CSS Design Awards
Favourite Website Awards
As a designer, you want to make sure that you feature the best of your work for the world to see. That's why we often go straight to the source for our inspiration. Perusing a designer's online portfolio will provide a great source of inspiration. Sometimes, it may be hard to find full website designs yet you'll still be able to find examples for your website elements.
365 Awesome Designers
Pinterest is often considered a go-to place to gather inspiration, and this is no different for designers. The ability to pin images, links, and more makes it an understandably easy tool for gathering inspirational content. While the content in itself is great, we also enjoy the suggested "more to explore" searches associated with your query. Often, you begin searching Pinterest for one thing and end up on a completely different path. This can be helpful in the ideation phases of your project for exposure to options you may not have considered.
Little Big Details
Digging into the details of your design? Floris Dekker has created a resource just for you. Little Big Details is a collection of "the finer details of design." This site highlights the little things that improve a user's experience. You can take your site to the next level by leveraging some of the unique ideas presented here.
Like Little Big Details, this site is better suited for design details. UI Parade is a catalog of inspiration for UI design. With original posts and posts curated from across the web, this is a great resource for igniting some ideas of your own. From sliders to switches, UI Parade has you covered.
Check out more web design inspiration from designers using HubSpot's COS.