Designing websites can be rewarding, but there are some challenges to staying creative. For example, a long-term client may pivot into a niche you’re unfamiliar with or request something outside your typical wheelhouse.
Although it can be tricky to keep up with website design trends and technologies, there are many advantages to doing so. It can inspire new ideas and help you build more appealing websites — which could also mean being able to charge more.
In this article, we’ll discuss how exploring web design ideas can help with your client projects. We’ll also provide you with a list of 10 great places to look for website design inspiration, and provide some tips for boosting your creativity. Let’s get to it!
How Exploring Inspirational Ideas Can Improve Your Web Design Projects
When you work in a creative field such as web design, it’s only natural to occasionally find yourself in a rut. However, when you’re stuck or feel as if your creative juices have dried up, looking to sources of web design inspiration can be a powerful remedy.
Exploring web design examples and ideas can also help you stay in touch with current trends and technologies. This can be particularly useful if you’re taking on a new client and want to familiarize yourself with the type of designs popular among their target audience.
Working in a different niche than you’re used to might require you to learn new styles and design elements. Not only can exploring the work of other web design professionals give you ideas for your own projects, but it can also improve your skills and offer a fresh perspective on certain aspects of design, from aesthetics to usability.
Having a go-to list of inspirational resources could even boost your workflow and productivity. It can make diving into projects easier, and allow you to better meet the demands of your clients’ creative briefs.
Web Design Ideas: 10 Great Places To Look for Inspiration
As we’ve established, having sources of inspiration to tap into can be a boon for your creativity. Fortunately, there are many platforms that aggregate website designs from all over the world and across different industries and niches. Let’s take a look at 10 of these places.
1. Elementor Monthly Showcase
Each month, we explore some of the best sites around the world built with Elementor. The selected designs serve to highlight Elementor’s powerful capabilities, as well as the results that both novices and experts can achieve with it.
Our monthly showcase focuses on design and is meant to inspire your own work. If you’re looking to experiment, this is a rewarding resource because you can borrow ideas from different industries, such as travel, film, food, and more.
Behance bears a lot of similarities to Dribbble. Here, designers can showcase their work and connect with other creatives:
It is also one of the largest design communities in the world, and its content is primarily community-curated. It’s particularly useful if you’re looking for photography, illustration, and graphic design examples.
When searching on the site, you can filter the available options based on:
- Time frames
- Tools used (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)
- Creative field (Web design, UX/UI, Branding, etc.)
- And more
Similar to Pinterest, Behance also uses ‘moodboards’ which you can explore and, as a member, follow or create your own. It also includes a job board where you can apply for freelance design work.
Awwwards offers a large and searchable archive of high-quality designs, which are arguably some of the best on the web. One of the advantages of this resource is its exclusivity. It costs at least $65 to add a site here, so it’s not littered with subpar examples:
Another notable feature of Awwwards is that it doesn’t only showcase designs. It also introduces each selected entry on the Awwwards blog in detail, helping you understand what about it made it worthy of inclusion.
Awwwards uses a scoring system and enables its users to vote for entries. The designs are also reviewed by top web experts who consider usability, design, creativity, and more.
Sometimes it’s not the overall design concept you’re struggling with, but a specific aspect or element of the site. If that’s the case, Dribbble is worth checking out:
Many creatives use this site to find inspiration for their projects. Anyone can put up designs for a variety of elements, including icons, apps, illustrations, and more.
Dribbble is also an effective resource for developing your skills. For example, in addition to web designs, there are other fields such as graphic design that can be helpful for exploring new styles and techniques. As with most of the other sites on this list, you can streamline your search using tags.
Pinterest offers a rabbit hole you can dive into to find almost any kind of content. From recipes and concept art to marketing and design examples, it’s one of the most expansive and flexible places to find ideas and inspiration:
In case you’re unfamiliar with the platform, Pinterest uses ‘boards’ where you can pin (or save) your favorite content. You can create multiple boards, invite others to access and contribute to them, share them on social media, and even ‘hide’ them from the public.
These boards provide an organized hub for you to collect and manage design inspiration and materials. For example, you might choose to have one for e-commerce designs, and another for a different niche or industry. You may even get more specific and create boards for color palettes or typography.
6. CSS Nectar
CSS Nectar requires a $5 fee to submit websites, and each design is vetted thoroughly. This makes searching the site for specific types of designs quick and easy.
You can apply filters based on:
Another benefit of this site is that there are always new designs to explore. You can view how many ‘likes’ each one gets as well as any awards or achievements it earned, such as ‘Site of the Day’.
Another solid resource for finding ideas is SiteInspire. This site spotlights some of the best web and interactive designs, and offers a huge collection of them:
SireInspire features an extensive tagging system, which enables you to use multiple tags to search for a particular element or feature. You can filter entries based on style (design patterns and layouts), type, subject, and platform.
If you’re looking to create a go-to list of website design inspiration, SiteInspire also lets you create collections of your favorite designs. You simply need to create an account to become a member.
8. Commerce Cream
When compared to other resources on this list, Commerce Cream is particularly simple and straightforward. It features a one-page layout where you can scroll to explore the collection of impressive Shopify stores.
What’s more, you can find the agencies behind each design. This is helpful when you want to discover other work by the same creators.
Although Commerce Cream may not be the most robust or dynamic site, it’s unique in that it focuses on a specific niche. If you’re looking for inspiration for an e-commerce project, browsing its showcase can save you time because it isn’t cluttered with a wide variety of websites and design types.
Calltoidea is the place to go if you need inspiration for building some of the more mundane – yet important – elements on a website:
Calltoidea was created for designers to find inspiration for daily tasks and projects. It showcases a massive collection of creative assets you can use to get ideas for enhancing otherwise boring pages, such as Error 404 or login pages.
The examples included on the site are selected by a team of designers, and chosen based on both design simplicity and usability. Although the site doesn’t include a search functionality or tagging system like others on this list, it’s an ideal option if you’re looking for ideas for a specific design element, such as a slider, animation, or pop-up.
10. Admire The Web
From a design and UI standpoint, Admire The Web isn’t anything to write home about. However, it does offer highly-curated web designs that can serve as sources of inspiration:
The designs are extensively tagged, so you can quickly narrow your search to focus on a specific aspect or topic. There are also ‘related content’ recommendations for when you’re looking for similar examples.
To submit a site, Admire The Web only requires users to make a small donation, which is refunded if the design isn’t selected. However, the sheer abundance of sites included in the gallery is beneficial when you’re still in the brainstorming phase of your design process and looking for a diverse pool of examples to draw from.
Website Design Tips for Boosting Your Creativity
Aside from looking at website design examples from the above sources, there are additional tips you can use to help boost your creativity. Let’s take a look at a few.
Start With a Plan
If you’re feeling stuck and unsure about how to begin a new project, it may help to draft up a plan and start with the necessary elements to include. Once you’ve laid the groundwork for the basic website design fundamentals, you’ll have more freedom and flexibility to play around and break some of the established rules.
You can start by defining your client’s goals for the site, perhaps by using a website design questionnaire. Understanding your client’s objectives can provide some focus regarding which elements to incorporate in your design.
Once you have a clear idea of the type of design you need to create and the client’s requirements, it’s smart to document everything in a web design style guide. This not only helps you keep your work consistent, but it can also come in handy for anyone else who might need to build on your design.
Define Your Site’s Structure
When you’re in need of creative inspiration, it might help to detach yourself from the design and try seeing it from the user’s perspective. One way to do this is by focusing on the high-level details and most visible elements that stand out first to a visitor.
Consider making sketches of the site on paper or a whiteboard. This lets you construct the basic visual hierarchy and structure without worrying about the nitty-gritty details, such as the website fonts or colors.
You may also want to ensure that your site will be well-structured for both visitors and search engines. Planning ahead for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can generate some ideas for the most important design aspects to start with.
Another tip for sparking creativity is to switch up your design process, or more specifically, the order of your workflow. For example, you might consider adopting a mobile-first approach to your next web design project.
With Google’s announcement of its mobile-first index, it is obvious that mobile presence is now a huge ranking factor. It also highlights the importance of responsive design. However, the mobile version of a site is often a secondary consideration.
A mobile-first strategy can help you generate design ideas that will translate well on both small and larger screens. It also presents you with an opportunity to look at your design through a different lens (or, in this case, screen).
Focus on Minimalism
When you’re trying to design a unique website, it’s easy to get carried away with features. However, sometimes less is more.
If you’re looking to boost your creativity, you might consider a minimalist design. Minimalism can be advantageous for web design, because for every element you take out, what’s left gains more prominence:
Minimalism can also improve site navigation, since users are not overwhelmed with choices, and result in faster loading times. Plus, simpler sites tend to be SEO-friendly because they’re easier for bots to crawl.
Minimalist designs only focus on what’s necessary and use negative space strategically. It’s also a good idea to use large, vivid images, stark color contrasts, and bold typography.
Employ A/B Testing
When you come to a fork in the road regarding the creative direction of a project or feel the need to continuously tweak your designs, sometimes it helps to take a more technical approach. Employing A/B testing and serving different versions of your site to visitors lets you make decisions based on real-time data and customer preferences. Ultimately, this can improve the User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) of your site.
You can conduct A/B testing in WordPress with Google Optimize, to find out what performs best with your users. Although you’ll want to test different pages (especially home pages and landing pages), it may also help to consider color schemes, typography, Calls to Action (CTA), and more in your tests.
Find Ideas and Inspiration for Your Next Web Design Project
As a web designer, it’s easy to get caught in a creative rut or grow tired of redundant or stale designs. However, if you’re looking for fresh ideas or a way to breathe new life into your work, it helps to explore examples of website designs created by other professionals.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can find impressive and innovative designs to draw inspiration from. Some examples include SiteInspire, Awwwards, and even our Elementor Monthly Showcase. In addition to staying on top of the latest design trends, you can also boost your creativity by taking a mobile-first approach, experimenting with minimalism, and utilizing A/B testing.
Have you found any website design ideas or sources of inspiration on our list particularly helpful for your creativity? Let us know in the comments section below!