There was a time, long ago, when a beautiful website was a crowning achievement for a company. These days, it’s become a necessity. For the uninitiated, however, sifting the wheat from the chaff can be a challenging task. Fortunately, the Internet has developed a robust community of websites dedicated to observing and celebrating the best of the best to the benefit of site designers, and you.
Beautiful web design is easy to recognize if you have the right eye for it. Fortunately for those who lack the instinct to assess the sites they visit, Awwwards has built a reputation on scoring and applauding the best that the web has to offer. Curated by design experts, the daily updated site offers scores on web designs, resources for aspiring designers, and the opportunity to submit your own site for appraisal and, if deemed worthy, recognition.
Brainchild of Brazillian designer Fabio Sasso, Abduzeedo’s legacy online is as long as it is prolific. The comprehensive design blog looks at design in its many forms and inspires a community of creatives through its constant posts and updates. Of particular note, the Sites of the Week column highlights the best in visual web design, interactive design, UX, and UI, giving hungry minds plenty of resources for their own projects.
Another voluminous contributor to the creative community, Form Up North is virtually the resource for design inspiration. The site features daily updated content over a variety of design concepts, but its most useful resource to web designers is a veritable catalog of web design inspiration. Savvy users even demonstrate their mettle by re-designing already popular sites, giving a A/B comparison and demonstrating the importance of visual and UI design in the process.
Social media is, arguably, the richest source of inspiration on the web. However, what Google Plus offers that other sites do not is the ability to subscribe to a community of contributors, alleviating the need to discern worthwhile users for oneself. By subscribing to the Art & Design circle on Google’s social network, users are daily treated with a portfolio of inspired design of all kinds, web design included. This, coupled with the relatively low user base of Plus means less irrelevant discussion or inane status updates, and more time spent discussing what actually matters.
When all you need is inspiration, it’s hard to beat Web Creme. The simple interface and no-frills display of inspiring web design is akin to swatches at a paint store, allowing the mind to simply gaze and ponder without direction or influence. Each picture links directly to the website displayed, allowing curious browsers to investigate the design further and enjoy “hands-on” experience with exemplary works of high-quality design.
The socially connected portfolio for serious creatives is a gold mine for aspiring web designers. While it can take time to browse Behance’s impressive collection, those scouring the racks can be sure that what they’re seeing is of particularly high quality. The reason for this lies in the fact that creative professionals often view Behance as a serious portfolio and tool for discovery, compelling them to put their best foot forward and giving you a front row seat to some of the best in the business.
The Webby Awards
A Webby could, at one time, be considered something of a dubious honor. The awards had merit, but not based in any popular acceptance. Since the early days of the organization, however, The Webby Awards have blossomed into an arbiter of taste and design on the Internet. In addition to recognizing personalities and contributions to technology, the awards page offers a gallery view of some of the best practices in navigation, animation, photography, and interactivity.
As heavy-handed as the title may be, Webdesign Inspiration is a no less valuable resource for, as the name implies, web design inspiration. The comprehensive catalog organizes sites by industry, layout, style, and type, allowing discerning designers to look for examples of high-quality work without wasting time. The site also highlights themes, books, and tips and offers free resources to visitors.
Standing on the shoulders of giants is a potent strategy when doing design work, but finding these “giants” can be challenging in a young, saturated market. Take the guesswork out of your web design inspiration with the resources listed here, and develop your eye for web design to better your own work in the future.