5 Sites for Web Design Inspiration
Behance[caption id="attachment_25492" align="alignnone" width="800"] behance.net[/caption] Behance is a networking platform that features more creative work than just web designs. It also features typography, graphic designs, drawings, photography and much more. Their mission is "To empower the creative world to make ideas happen." You could find a job by posting your work there since prospective employers can browse Behance to find designers on a global scale. It's a great free place to showcase your work or discover work done by others through sharing content and connecting with different people. Behance has the ability for a designer to upload an entire case study, which is beneficial to both the designer and to you, so you can see the entire process of a project. Something that's pretty cool about Behance is their portfolio section. You can create a portfolio site through Behance, and you won't have to pay for it until it's live. Adobe acquired Behance in 2012, seemingly to integrate with their Creative Cloud, so that users can collaborate and intact with each other.
Dribbble[caption id="attachment_25493" align="alignnone" width="800"] dribbble.com[/caption] Dribbble is also a networking platform. Similar to Behance, Dribbble is "show and tell for designers." Dribbble, however, only caters to graphic design. Stuff like photography, drawing and rendering are not featured. Dribbble is an invite only community, which makes it especially great for teams, hence the basketball references. Since it's member only, the quality of the content is under a little more control. Also, to upload shots or leave comments, an invitation from a member is required. If you register with Dribbble, you can follow favorite designers and design teams, as well as like and organize your favorite shots for free. They also offer two other memberships, pro and team. Pro is $20 a year and lets you organize your favorite designers, find designers for hire and send unlimited messages. A team membership starts at $100 a year. Any member of a team can get work uploaded. Teams can add attachments to your screenshots to explain their team's efforts with greater context and detail. They can also promote their work.
Awwwards[caption id="attachment_25491" align="alignnone" width="800"] awwwards.com[/caption] Awwwards, according to their site, are "awards that recognize the talent and effort of the best web designers, developers and agencies in the world." While Behance and Dribbble focus on different aspects of design, Awwwards focuses solely on websites, and not necessarily just their design. A "jury" of people from all around the world assesses the talent of the different sites that are submitted. Anyone can submit and view the sites. Awwwards gives each site a score from 1 to 10 based on its design, creativity, usability and content. The highest score is Site of the Day and then entered to be Site of the Month and Site of the Year.
CSS Zen Garden[caption id="attachment_25496" align="alignnone" width="800"] csszengarden.com[/caption] The CSS Zen Garden is a cool concept that shows you the power that CSS has to alter a page. All the featured examples on the site are vastly different. While all of the pages use the exact same HTML, they have different external CSS files. It's really interesting to see all the different ways that different designers have changed the site by simply changing the CSS. Since they're all so different, it's a great source of inspiration. You can download the source files and experiment with the CSS yourself. Maybe working on a different design will help shine a light on whatever project you're working on.
unmatchedstyle[caption id="attachment_25495" align="alignnone" width="800"] unmatchedstyle.com[/caption] Unmatchedstyle, like Awwwards, only features websites. You can submit your site to be featured for free, and the people at unmatchedstyle will decide if they'll display it or not. When a page is featured an unmatchedstyle author will write a little bit about it, explaining why it was chosen. Usability, validation, standards and following best practices are also important to unmatchedstyle. Committing some common no-nos like background music (unless your site is for a musical artist) and creating splash pages won't get you featured on their site. According to their website, they recognize these designs so that other designers can get inspired and find a direction they may wish to take with their own websites. Unmatchedstyle also provide articles, interviews, screencasts and discussions.
ConclusionThere are dozens of different sites on the web that you can draw inspiration from for your next or current project. These five barely scrape the surface. Be sure to do some research of your own to discover great avenues for web design inspiration and share your thoughts in the comments below!
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