10 Websites for Design Inspiration
Creating a blog design that fits your style can be such a fun and exploratory process. But it can also be a tad overwhelming at times because the places you can find design inspiration truly are limitless.
The ten awesome places on the Web featured here give you a creative pick-me-up. With these sites, you certainly won’t be short of design ideas for your blog.
Take time to visit each of these websites and bookmark the ones that inspire you the most. All these sites update frequently so you’ll be inspired over and over (and over).
Pinterest is a social bookmarking site that enables you to pin images to virtual boards and share them with others. Recipes, crafts, home interiors, photography, and more fill the average Pinterest user’s feed, as shown in the following figure. Even if you don’t write about any of these topics, don’t dismiss them just yet. They may provide color, mood, or some other type of inspiration for your blog design.
You can wander through Pinterest in lots of ways: browse your feed for pins from those you follow, comb through pins under Popular, or view pins in one of Pinterest’s categories.
Color lovers, rejoice! Design Seeds makes color inspiration both simple and beautiful. Former industrial designer Jessica Colaluca began the Design Seeds site as a way to share her love of color. She composes each of her posts just the same: a striking photo accompanied by a five-color palette.
Jessica’s Design Seed creations are pinned all over Pinterest, and for good reason. She doesn’t just find a picture online and use an eye-dropper tool to pull out five shades. Jessica actually purchases copyrights for each photograph she uses and then mixes each accompanying color palette individually within Illustrator.
Design Seeds also lets you search the site from the Palettes Search page. There you can search by RGB color value or by themes such as Edible, Nature, Mineral and more.
Yes, that’s three Bs not two. Dribbble is a place for designers to share a small screenshot of the designs they’re working on, as shown in the following figure.
Dribbble offers many ways to explore inspiring design. Aside from your basic search feature, you can explore the following sections:
Highlights: Here you can view thumbnails of the current popular shots and debut shots (a designer’s first shot posted to Dribbble).
Buckets: These are collections of shots, much like categories. They are shown in order of the most recently updated bucket. Some buckets include Icons, Typography, Web, and Food and Beverage.
Colors: Browse designs of a certain color by selecting a color from the color bar at the top of the page. You can also search for a color not shown on the bar by playing with the Customize Color feature in the sidebar.
Projects: See a related shots grouped by project. Some examples are an icon set or screenshots of a mobile phone app.
Tags: This section features a giant list of all tags used on Dribbble and how many shots have been categorized within a particular tag. Some of the most popular tags run along the sidebar for easy access.
Fonts In Use describes itself as “a public archive of typography indexed by typeface, format, and industry.” This website explores how fonts are used in the real world. Maybe it’s a police car with Futura Black, a book cover using the font FF Pitu, or a website using Benton Sans, they're all represented on Fonts In Use.
This website lets you explore fonts in many ways. First, you can browse through the home page, shown in the following figure. The home page features thumbnail images of typography with the font name below each image. Click an image for a full post with more detail. You can also browse by industry, format, and typeface. In addition to the Fonts In Use staff showing their findings, readers can also contribute their own findings to the site.
Design Fridge pulls together some of the best design from around the web.
The site mainly features inspirational designs (as shown in the next figure), but you also can find hundreds of design resources and even some articles on design. Design Fridge showcases each design inspiration using a simple thumbnail with relevant tags listed under it. Click on the + for a few more details like the Style, or click the image to go directly to the full design.
You also can filter the thumbnails by styles such as Grunge, Retro, Minimal, and others.
Writer Grace Bonney started the blog Design Sponge back in 2004. The blog features good design from anywhere and everywhere. That means you can bask in design inspiration from places, homes, products, packaging, DIY projects and so much more.
Design Sponge posts multiple times a day so you’ll never go for long without some design inspiration.
We all want to make better websites. That’s why we need a site like Make Better Websites, shown in the following figure.
Whereas many of the other websites mentioned in this list showcase designs with a thumbnail, Make Better Websites features large shots that almost take up the entire width of the page. You can then click the image to visit the featured design.
On Make Better Websites, you can filter by color groupings (such as green, purple, colorful) or by tags (such as dark, clean, redesign). If you’re short on time, head to the Top 30 tab to see the top designs by number of votes.
Sure you can buy photos, illustrations, videos and audio clips from iStockphoto (shown in the following figure). But you can often light up some creative inspiration by browsing through what this website offers. For example, you might find illustrations that could become a springboard for your entire design.
In addition to browsing through things to purchase for inspiration, look through from some of the website’s other sections, such as the following:
Feast: Feast is “a place for creative minds to come together to share, create, and learn.” Each year, iStockphoto selects a theme that will unify the year’s topics. Each month, the site focuses on a different topic that covers anything from graphic design to interior design to data visualization.
Design Spotlight: Browse through both print and web designs uploaded by iStockphoto users. Each submission includes thumbnails that link to the photo that was used in the design.
iStock Tools/Apps: Take iStockphoto inspiration elsewhere with an iPhone app or its cool WordPress plug-in that lets you purchase and add images directly to your blog posts.
Many sites showcase colors, fonts, or overall website design, but you don’t find too many that highlight good examples of user interface design. Luckily, UI Parade does.
UI Parade, shown in the following figure, features all types of user interface design elements that you or a designer can implement for your blog. You can browse through rows of thumbnails or get more specific inspiration from a list of tags like Buttons, Charts, Forms, Search Box, and more.
Perhaps one of the coolest features of UI Parade is the Live Tools section. You can create buttons, forms, icons, and ribbons right from one of the tools. For the buttons, forms, and ribbons, UI Parade provides a predesigned template and from there you can customize things like the colors, gradients, roundness of corners, and so on.
The Best Designs recognizes great design from across the web and across the world. In order for a design to be featured, website owners or designers have to submit their design to be reviewed by The Best Designs team. They receive thousands of submissions each year but feature only the best ones.
On the home page, the thumbnail of each design is relatively large, as shown in the final figure, below. When you hover over the thumbnail, you can see how the submission is categorized and click a button to visit the actual site.
In addition to the website designs, The Best Designs also has a WordPress Themes Gallery, which features some of the best WordPress themes on the web.