A client proposal has just arrived in your inbox, and now you’re pacing around searching for that spark of an idea that will launch this new project. You need some inspiration, and you need it fast.
Or perhaps the pressure is less acute. Maybe you are looking to build your professional expertise by doing a sweep of relevant websites each day. As you know, keeping a pulse on all the latest web design trends helps position you as an authority when you meet with potential clients.
All in all, not a bad idea.
No matter which one of these scenarios describes your current work life, every good web professional should have a list of the websites they visit when in search of new creative directions or design solutions. To get you started on building your own, here are 20 of the best sites around for getting a dose of sophisticated web design inspiration.
Submitted web design examples are reviewed by CSS Nectar’s in-house design team before being posted, leaving you with thousands of exemplary web design examples to browse through.
Working on a project for a client with a blog or magazine? Or want to do some industry research on one-page websites? Search by category, color, feature, and country, to hone in on the exact area where you’re in need of inspiration.
When top designers make templates with their fellow designers in mind, the results are truly worthy of their own gallery exhibition. Whether you choose to take advantage of the templates or not, even just appreciating the aesthetic triumph will leave you with a rush of creativity.
The film and music industries already have their own way of recognizing outstanding performance. Awwwards aims to bring the same concept to the world of web design and development. Submitted websites are brought before the eyes of a carefully-selected jury and Awwwards community members to be reviewed based on design, usability, creativity, and content.
To narrow your focus, search by award type. Sites of the Day lets you wake up each morning to new inspiration. Then there’s the Mobile Excellence Award, a joint effort between Awwwards and Google, showcases mobile sites that combine sharp visual aesthetics with top mobile performance.
Constructed to be a visual RSS, this site continually aggregates their favorite content picks from a mass of well-respected creative blogs - over four hundred of them, in fact. Their philosophy is to keep things simple. That means when you arrive to the page, you’re greeted with a wall of image thumbnails. If you want more details, like an image description, social share options, or the link to the source where it originally appeared, they’re just one click away in an expanded view.
Pinterest can be a designer’s haven - if you know what to search. The social media platform is not limited to web design or development, which is great for providing more general artistic inspiration. If you want to get specific, though, the search bar is right there and ready to help you out. It’s worth finding and following industry-specific accounts you like, such as Wix’s Pinterest page, so you can reliably see relevant content in your feed when you log in.
A great feature about this site is your ability to save ‘Pins,’ creating an online vision board that you can return to, expand, and update as your own style evolves.
The masonry layout and ability to save favorite posts give this site a similar feel to Pinterest. Where it differs, however, is its exclusive focus on design (so no drool-worthy recipes here to get distracted by, sorry!).
The coolest tool they offer is an advanced color search. Here, you can select up to five colors across a color gradient, and the site will generate posts with a similar visual narrative.
Clocking in at over 45 million marketing design examples, the sheer volume leaves you with plenty of material to work with. What distinguishes it from other web design galleries out there are its filter options. In addition to the usual color sorting, you can also cross-search by page type, industry, and traffic level. So if you’re working on a project for a popular automotive dealer asking to build a pricing page, then look no further than Inspire by Crayon.
Another feature to play around with is the ability to view versions over time. If a website has gone through several design evolutions, you can watch the process unfold via a visual timeline tracking the design team’s work.
Behance is the place where designers of all stripes go to show off their work and learn from their peers. As another site whose repertoire expands beyond the borders of web design and development, it offers insight into broader trends and best practices being used across various art and design disciplines.
To align more closely with your field, just head over to their Curated Galleries or use the search filters to display only web design-related projects. If you notice patterns in designers (we happen to be big fans of the Wix Studio) or agencies putting out work you like, give them a follow to keep your inspiration sources easily on-hand.
While BetaList is a hub for entrepreneurs to share their startup ideas, the accompanying web design is often superb. Use it to find fresh and industry-targeted ideas if your client falls into this category. The product and marketing focus also means that a lot of the submitted sites are taking many of the same business goals into consideration as you are when designing for your clients.
The spotlight here is entirely on mobile devices. Navigate through samples of display screens for all sorts of events, from privacy notices to signups, and from ‘share’ to ‘loading’ pages. While you can sort by popularity, there aren’t any clear associated rankings here. That open expanse means it’s your eye that gets to be the discerning one.
Besides the typical category divisions, one of the best possibilities here is searching by iOS or Android platforms. And yes, within iOS, you can select for just watch or iPad displays if you want.
Finding your own list of go-to favorite names can be time extensive. Luckily, when we stumble across Wix users who are pioneering new levels of visual excellence with their pages, we are so excited that we just want to share it with everyone! Here’s a showcase of twenty of our favorite gorgeous web design examples to get you started.
This featured gallery is for those of you who are on a specific quest for inspiration. Namely, if it’s landing pages that you’re after. This collection displays 1,890 examples of them, distributed across an expansive range of categories. Whether you’re trying to generate ideas for a ‘Coming Soon’ landing page, or one with a focus on cryptocurrency, this is a necessary stop on your creative journey.
This gallery is great at pulling additional designs off its ‘racks’ to further your exploration. At the bottom of each example you select, you will find additional recommendations waiting for you based on both category type and similar colors.
Co-founder of graphic design firm UnderConsideration, Armin Vit, publishes his informed takes on commissioned logo redesigns. What emerges are detailed project reviews that weaving together the hired agency’s project vision, visual documentation, plus Vit’s own analysis. These longer pieces are also supplemented by shorter news bits about other new logo designs making the news, yet without Vit’s commentary.
The highlighted case studies are important both for their focus on the details of design, and for how their in-depth coverage of the creative process demonstrates the role design plays in the metamorphosis of a brand. Use this site as you brainstorm how to craft your web design to convey a particular story for a client’s business.
Calltoidea is the pragmatist’s best friend. Its gallery is divided into design elements and types of pages. So, if you’re looking for a creativity spark in the midst of designing a 404 page, or popups, or even a footer, this is where you can come to get it.
This site is purely dedicated to displaying the favorite web designs the in-house team finds each day. Like other galleries, Web Design Inspiration also offers extensive filtering options, including their own ‘Editor’s Picks.’ While limited in its descriptions (the site posts linked thumbnails of their chosen sites), its no-frills approach to presenting the sites can be refreshing and useful to those who are simply looking for a large consolidated collection of sites.
This online magazine issues roundups of what they determine as “the latest & greatest from the creative industry.” Sometimes the posts feature more general attractions from across multiple design disciplines. Other times, they come with an angle: packaging and label designs, UI/UX animations, and even movie poster art.
What they all share, though, is their straightforward presentation. The featured designs appear in list forms, without any textual explanations, letting the visuals stay center stage.
Another awards-based platform, CSS Winner is all about what it sounds like: Showcasing the most amazing work produced by web designers, developers, and agencies. There are both featured sites of the day and of the month. Accompanying documentation shows you how the site was scored, as well as similarly-styled sites.
Falling more into the general design bucket, this website’s authoritative take on the latest industry trends is well-recognized. Unlike many of the other sites on this list, Abuzeedo is not a large gallery to browse through.
Instead, they’re a source of interviews, reviews, and news coming out of the design world. Visit their page for more in-depth coverage of some of the redesigns making waves or to learn from the critical analyses they publish on featured designs.
Particularly useful for web designers with a marketing focus, this straightforward collection is broken down into four page types: pricing, product, landing, and app (plus the more general hall of fame section). The vertical orientation of the page means you get to view a significant amount, if not all of, the featured page before even clicking for more. This layout choice values your time, as you can assess pretty quickly if a page is relevant without any extra navigational steps.
When you arrive at the site, get greeted by the FWA of the day. But you don’t have to stop there. Other awards include FWA of the Month, FWA of the Year, People’s Choice Award, and Top 100. Take advantage of the ability to cross-filter awards by project type: website, app, installation, VR, AR, and others. The broad spectrum of technology-oriented design is perfect for those web designers amongst us with a mind for development.
Starting in June 2016, FWA implemented a live judging system, so you can routinely check in and track the position of top contenders.
And, of course, this list would be remiss with Wix’s very own High on Design blog, which publishes thoughtful articles on design culture and trends, spotlight pieces on popular digital design trends, and interviews with industry leaders.
Start bookmarking your favorites, so you can keep your sources of web design inspiration close by for the next time you're in need of fresh ideas for a client project.